Horrid High - Back to School
Payal Kapadia
age group: 
12+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Penguin books
boarding school
fiction, fantasy


After reading this book all I can say is that I am glad I lead a somewhat normal life. Really it’s amazing how Payal Kapadia has concocted this beautiful story with all the characters. She literally breathes life into these characters just with their names, their names suggest everything about their personality like Ferg Gottin for example if you say his name fast enough you’ll realize it actually stands for forgotten and it’s true his own parents forgot him or Covetus Clutch; he yearns to possess every biological rarity in this world in any way possible be it legal or illegal. Even Nita Nottynuff, her name says not enough which is how she spent her whole life, being told that she would never be enough.

The inseparable friends; Ferg, Fermina, Phil, Immy were over the moon when Granny Grit, the lovable environment conservationist, replaced Principal Perverse, but sadly that feeling was short lived as trouble arose in the Amazon which caused Granny to rush there and leave the school in the hands of Colonel Craven, he was a brave army general (but his name suggested otherwise), the school underwent quite a few changes without Granny Grit around. Colonel Craven was sure that someone was going to attack Horrid High so he started creating plans to evacuate the school with the help of Cook Fracas, the replacement for Chef Gretta Gross, these plans involved everything from digging long trenches for every dorm to sleep in to trying to shoot Immy out of cannon, or starting a food fight.

I really liked how Ferg and his friends plucked up the courage to dive into the Get Lost Forever Woods to find Volumina even though she had bullied all of them on several occasions, this proved how selfless all of them were. I would have really liked to have a backstory to Dr Bloom's previous years at Horrid High, it would have made this intriguing book all the more intriguing. If I were to tell you one line which summarizes entire book it would probably be; Characters make a book what it is, and Payal Kapadia's book is full of the most diverse characters I have ever encountered.

The author here has really outdone herself by how she penned down the all the events that occurred in this book. It was a quick and fun read. I’m sure many children will enjoy this. Hopefully there will be a third book in this series.

 Note: The reviewer, Riddhi Puranik, a student of Vibgyor High, Goregaon, is the winner of the Outstanding Review in the recently concluded competition, the Leading Reading Schools of India Awards 2016

Reviewed by Riddhi Puranik