TRICKED, by Jen Calonita, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, March 7, 2017, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 10 and up)
Tricked, by Jen Calonita, is the third book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series, and this time around, the third book is better than the second (Charmed). The first novel in the series, Flunked, is still the strongest, but the series as a whole is a lot of fun.
The series begins with Gilly Cobbler being sentenced to Fairy Tale Reform School. After Gilly helps thwart plans to bring evil back into power she’s granted her freedom. Instead, she volunteers to stay at school so she can help catch the spy who’s helping Alva (the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty).
As we begin Tricked, Alva has been turned to stone and Sleeping Beauty is “recovering” from being brainwashed. Gilly is officially reformed and has been sent home to learn to attend Jack of All Trades School. After her experience at FTRS, the life of a cobbler seems awfully boring. Especially since rumor has it things at FTRS are just starting to get interesting. Word is, Rumpelstiltskin has taken over management from Headmistress Flora, and he’s got the school on lockdown — no more family visits, no mail, no extracurriculars.
When Gilly’s little sister Anna falls in with bad company (Hansel and Gretel), and gets shipped off to FTRS, Gilly quickly learns things at the school are a lot worse than she imagined. With all lines of communication shut down, there’s really only one thing Gilly can do — get thrown back into FTRS.
In Tricked, Gilly has overcome a lot of the annoying characteristics she took on in Charmed. She is once again joined by her merry bunch of misfit friends who range from a prince and a fairy to an ogre and a witch.
Gilly’s quick, snappy voice also returns in Tricked, impressively picking up the pace. A plot development that takes some of the main characters out of the school is also a nice addition. The addition of Rumpelstiltskin as an the main “bad guy” was a good choice on Jen Calonita’s part. As a trickster, his motivation and actions are interesting and go beyond basic fairy tales.
By the time you reach the end of Tricked, it’s clear at least one more book is in the works. And if Calonita continues along this path, it should be great fun to read.
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