This time it was E. Rose Sabin's A School for Sorcery that had me smiting my forehead and wishing I could smite the author's forehead for her. It was another of those coming of age books where the adults deliberately make the kids miserable at school and don't intervene with massive huge interpersonal problems and/or evil actions, because "that's how you have to learn."
Well, I went to public high school in this country, thankyouverymuch, and I don't think that's how you have to learn, and what it teaches you is "don't trust people who claim they know what they're doing and have your best interests at heart, because they're stupid and vicious and full of it." Which is, don't get me wrong, a useful lesson in the world as it is. Possibly the most practical thing I learned in my pre-college schooling. But deliberately associating misery with knowledge or wisdom is not okay with me. Having this be the good system or the best system or the only system? No. Too many kids are getting that impression from their real lives; we certainly don't need to thump it further into them with fantasy novels.
Also, one of the big ethical breaches was using magic to decode a book of magic. Ummmm...authorlady? That's not the sort of thing that's intuitively obvious as an ethical breach, okay? You're going to need to show us why it's wrongety wrong wrong, because...it just looks natural to me. One of my characters jokes about getting a magic spy secret decoder ring, and another obliges him, and everybody's fine. So..."it's just evil, that's why"? Mm, nuh-uh.
Lame, lame, lame, and anti-recommended.
Now, of course, the author will google herself and find this, and I'll feel bad, but then on the other hand...just cut it out! Don't write books that do this stuff, and then we'll be fine!