School of Fear 1 by Gitty Daneshvari
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The cover and the blurb led me to believe this would be one of those whimsical books mashing-up the Mysterious Benedict Society and Allbright Academy with perhaps a smattering of Unfortunate Events. And it did start out that way: the extreme ways in which the four children manifest their fears, and their parents reactions hit just the right notes.
It's when we arrive at the School that things fall apart. Miss Wellington and Schmidty are just too grotesque, the "learning" too odd, the food too awful to sustain a reader's interest. There are no lighter moments, no sly winks at the reader to tell them that "it's ok, this really isn't as awful as it appears".
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