Pass or Fail? Flunked by Jen Calonita + Author Interview!


I’ve been a fan of Jen Calonita for several years, so I’m thrilled to introduce her new book and share my interview with her.  I read Flunked a couple of weeks ago, but did I like it?  Keep reading to find out! 

Interview with Jen Calonita:

1. What inspired you to write about a reform school for fairy tale villains?
What’s not to love about a villain turned teacher? Are they always able to keep their villainous or jealous side down? Or do they let it slip out? Can they be trusted? Or are they still keeping secrets? I loved figuring out all the layers to the story and how they worked with our new young heroine, a pick pocket named Gilly.

2. What was your favorite part of writing this book?
Getting to revisit so many wonderful fairy tales. I loved reading the different versions of the classics and diving into Grimm’s and Hans Christian Anderson’s. I also discovered quite a few new fairy tales I loved.

3. If you could visit any time or place, where and when would it be?
I’d love to meet my grandparents as teenagers. My grandmothers, who have passed away, were so much fun that it always made me wonder how much MORE fun they were having in the forties when they were teens. I think it would be great to go back and hang with them, wear the beautiful fashions, and really get to know my grandmothers as girls.

4. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Friendly’s Butter Crunch. I try to stick with frozen yogurt when I can, but when we go to Friendly’s with my boys all I want is Butter Crunch with Heath Bar on top and melted marshmallow!

5. Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m really good at fixing broken objects. Seriously. Give me some crazy glue and a pair of pliers and I can have a toy or a table back up and running in no time.

6. Other than your own, what is your favorite book of 2015 so far?
I’m reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and it’s sooooo good! I’m mad my book club isn’t reading it because it is so great to discuss. I’m also reading a fellow SourceBooks author’s upcoming YA called SPELLED, which is a mashup of The Wizard of Oz and fractured fairy tales and it’s awesome! I feel like SPELLED is FLUNKED’s big sister!

About Jen:

Jen Calonita has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Justin Timberlake, but the only person she’s ever wanted to trade places with is Disney’s Cinderella. When Jen isn’t plotting, she’s working on the sequel to FTRS in Merrick, New York, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and their Chihuahua named Captain Jack Sparrow. Visit Jen at

About Flunked:

Age Range: 10 – 13 years

Grade Level: 5 – 8

Series: Fairy Tale Reform School (Book 1)

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (March 3, 2015)

Genre: Fairy tale/fantasy

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Would you send a villain to do a hero’s job?

Flunked is an exciting new twisted fairy tale from the award-winning author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series. “Charming fairy-tale fun.” -Sarah Mlynowski, author of the New York Times bestselling Whatever After series.

Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked, exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

“Fairy Tale Reform School is spellbinding and wickedly clever. Gilly is smart, spunky, and a hilarious narrator, and I cannot wait to read about her next adventure!” -Leslie Margolis, author of the Annabelle Unleashed novels and the Maggie Brooklyn mysteries

“Fairy Tale Reform School is a fresh and funny take on the enchanted world. (And who hasn’t always wanted to know what happened to Cinderella’s stepmother?)” -Julia DeVillers, author of the Trading Faces identical twin series and Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker

My Thoughts:

This is a fun, quick read that tweens will like. When Gillian gets caught stealing, she is sentenced to time in the Fairy Tale Reform School.  The school is run by ex-villains who are trying to change the troubled youth placed in their care. It isn’t long before Gillian figures out that something fishy is going on at the school and it might not be as safe as it first appeared.

While I liked some of this author’s other novels better, this book was a fun, lighthearted adventure that was enjoyable to read. The action scenes were quick and didn’t get too tense.  The general feel of the book was upbeat and fun. The only romance is Gillian noticing the vibrant color of a boy’s eyes. It’s a squeaky clean magical tale appropriate for kids ages 10 and up.

Content: clean

Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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