Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva. This tour is being hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy
Publishing Date: April 20, 2021
Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?
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.
I think my tears have finally stopped enough to review this book. I cried for the last twenty minutes or so. Just be prepared.
Jolina is still fairly new to her small island with her dog, Kidlat her only friend. They have such a special bond. There is one girl, Claudine, that is mean to Jolina. She’s a bully and Jolina wants to fix that. Jolina’s family can do magic. Her grandfather is teaching her potions. He warns her that certain potions should never be used. If you do bad magic, it comes back to you. But Jolina ignores this and makes a love potion for Claudine. And it works. Claudine invites Jolina to her birthday party and declares them best friends. While they hang out, Jolina realizes that she really does love Claudine as a friend. She needs to find a way to break the magic. But as her grandfather warned, there are consequences to that magic. Things do not go well at all.
This book does a good job covering bullying and even consent. Jolina realizes that she can’t manipulate someone else’s feelings. It’s just not right. The other thing I loved about this book was the relationship between Jolina and Kidlat. I have a similar bond with my current dog that I never had with another. I realize how special it is and I’m glad Jolina did, too. Her dog was perfect and loved her unconditionally. There was also bullying and meanness due to the difference in money between certain families. Jolina did recognize how lucky she was with her family though. The money wasn’t as important.
I gave this book 4 1/2 stars rounded up to 5 on goodreads. Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.
Warnings for bullying, wealth inequality, death (hard to read), talk of consent, a storm, and talk of cancer (briefly).
Consent is what separates healing magic from self serving magic.
“Coming to a new place is always hard. But you will fit in eventually. Just have a little faith.”
Never use magic to hurt others. We heal people. We don’t harm them.
I may have magic, but Claudine’s family has money, the kind of power I need for my family’s life to be better. I feel so powerful and so powerless at the same time.
“Using something as pure as love to control another-there is simply nothing good in that.”
Gail D. Villanueva is a Filipino author born and based in the Philippines. She’s also a web designer and an entrepreneur. She loves pineapple pizza, seafood, and chocolate, but not in a single dish together (eww). Gail and her husband live in the outskirts of Manila with their dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and one friendly but lonesome chicken. Her debut novel My Fate According to the Butterfly (Scholastic, 2019) was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, an Amazon Best Book of the Month Editor’s Pick, and a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Gail’s next book, Sugar And Spite, will be published by Scholastic on April 20, 2021.
Giveaway (Open Internationally):
One person will win an annotated ARC from the author. The giveaway starts on April 19th and ends on April 26th.
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