I don't know what to make of this book.
Sophie and Agatha live in Gabaldon, an isolated village that has deduced that every four years or so, two of its children are abducted and thrown into fairy tales--the latter part they know from book deliveries of said fairy tales. Every time the fellow dubbed the "School Master" takes two kids, basically the best and the worst one. Sophie, who is blonde and cute and vain, is DYING to be picked so she can become the princess she knows she is and has always wanted to be. She's oddly best friends with Agatha, the town weirdo who seems like a slam dunk for being the worst kid. Of course they're chosen and taken to the title location.
Except Sophie is dumped into the School of Evil and Agatha is dumped into the School of Good. Both of them do their damndest to switch schools (or if you're Agatha, figure out a way to get sent home altogether) but it's a battle they can't win. You reasonably figure out that Sophie's being hell-bent on getting what she wants at all costs is probably why she got put into Evil even if she's not ugly, and Agatha, well, she's the only nice/likable character in the book, so even if she's "ugly" by the standards of Good, so. They're also "Readers," i.e. the only kids brought in from what's presumably the real world--the rest of the kids are all descendants of fairy tales and they know exactly what roles they are to play, and they scorn S&A relentlessly.
This school is extremely stereotypical. Only Ever's (Good side) can have princes and marriages and true love and beauty. Never's (Bad side) are always ugly and never ever allowed to have love* or balls or anything--their goal is to be left alone, having thwarted their Nemesis or something. They literally have Beautification and Uglification classes, so guess how well those go for these two. Everyone is told they are 100% Good or 100% Evil and they can't change and there's nothing they can do about that. Though even despite the designations, pretty much every other character but Agatha is a jerky mcjerkpants personality. (Maybe not Kilo, but we hardly get to know her. Dot doesn't seem too bad on the Evil side either.) One of the worst is Prince Tedros, King Arthur's son. Every single girl in the land except Agatha is drooling obsessively over chasing this dude, but we pretty much see him being a jerk about 90% of the time. We're told he wants a girl who wants him for himself, but do we see this in the story execution? I dunno.
* Since most of the kids are actually descended from other fairy tale characters, I'd like to know how all of the Never's conceptions came about. Magical cloning? Baby Jesus?
What happens is a dizzying volley/mental debate about Good and Evil. Sophie is hell bent on getting into Good and landing Tedros, who goes back and forth between being horrified and disgusted with her (for good reasons, she's frequently horrifying) and being coupled with her, and that is all a giant WTF. Agatha's the only one not interested in Tedros, so you know what that means, but that relationship (such as it is) isn't that well built up either. Agatha wants to go home and she deduces that if Sophie lands Tedros that should somehow break the "no love for Nevers" rule and get them a way home, which goes iffily. Agatha spends a lot of time helping Sophie with her studies. Sophie eventually takes things into her own hands and does a little murder, revamps her wardrobe quite a lot, offers beauty lectures to the Nevers, and vacillates between good and evil but leaning towards evil a lot.
And meanwhile there is some magical pen called the Storian that is writing S&A's fairy tale, the very weird School Master who seems to have some kind of secret ultimate goal, a seer who won't answer any questions or else he loses 10 years of life (geez) and other weirdness.
Frankly, I got confused at times. Like when it comes to the Trials by Tales, the top fifteen students are supposed to be participating in it. Last we're told outright, Agatha is about ranked fourth or something, so why is she suddenly NOT in the Trials? Sure, I know the reason is "to help Sophie" (Agatha definitely has more consistent loyalty to Sophie, Sophie can have some loyalty when she isn't blinded by chasing hellbent after whatever she wants), but plotwise? And by the time the ending comes about, it almost works and then you're all "WTF just happened?!"
On the plus side, I did enjoy Sophie's taking charge of her wardrobe and giving lectures and essentially, doing evil(?) her way instead of their way. That is quite sassy. I also enjoyed Agatha's incredibly snarky answers she was writing on a test while thinking that she won't have a date to the ball and then will fail (GOD FORBID you be an Ever and single). "My partner is imaginary, I'm sure he won't mind." The analysis here and there about what makes heroes and villains different is certainly intriguing when it comes up, especially the point about how the Evers trusted their enemies. I appreciate that the author wanted to play with the stereotypes of Good and Evil and really monkeyed around with that the more you get into the book. But also: it's rather confusing at times, and most of the characters are unpleasant to deeply unpleasant (even the "good" ones are almost all jerks)., so other than Agatha, do you care what happens to anyone? How do you feel about Sophie? Hell, I don't know. She's a jerk too but there is that weird bond with her and Agatha, so...
I'm going to give it three stars. Kind of a mixed bag case here.