Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Sugar and Spite

Author: Gail D. Villanueva

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: one of the main characters has 2 moms, Filipino characters

Recommended For…: magical realism, mg, fantasy, contemporary, Filipino

Publication Date: April 20, 2021

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 12+ (bullying, internalized colorism, animal death, grief, some scary moments)

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pages: 208

Synopsis: Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in-training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina — now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.

But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love — or hate — will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it’s ever okay to take away someone’s free will.

Review: I really liked this book overall. The plot was well developed and the writing was amazing. I loved the back and forth between the characters and I loved their development. I also loved the story and the world building. I through the book also did well to show off the Filipino culture from what my limited knowledge is (and what other Filipino reviewers have said) and I overall really enjoyed this book.

The only thing that I was issue with was that the pacing was a little slow in some spots and it broke the pacing of my reading, but overall I really enjoyed this!

Verdict: Highly recommend!

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