I received an ARC of this book
4 out of 5 stars.
Gillian lives in a shoe in a fairy tale kingdom and has to steal to feed her family. She gets picked up too many times for petty theft and is sent to a reform school run by some of the classic fairy tale villains turned good. There she uncovers a plot to upset the balance of the kingdom.
This book is absolutely perfect for my book club, who love the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski and the League of Princes series by Christopher Healy and Todd Harris. It is funny, not too gender specific (interest protagonists of both genders), and clever. Fairy tales are all jumbled together and seeing some of the tales intersect is cool. Also, the boarding school reminds me of Hogwarts, with classes around wand work, Pegasus flying, and instructors of varying species. It is lighter than other rewrites, as would be expected of something aimed more at a junior (grades 4-6) audience rather than a teen one. Do not go into expecting huge depth or grittiness. This is a short, interesting read that is great for grade school students who have shown a propensity for reading fantasy. I enjoyed it, especially the mental image of a school having to equip all their rooms with large tanks for merfolk!