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The Sweetest Spell

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,854 ratings  ·  481 reviews
Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher's daughter, has escaped death twice-first, on the night she was born, and second, on the day her entire village was swept away by flood. Left with nothing and no one, Emmeline discovers her rare and mysterious ability-she can churn milk into chocolate, a delicacy more precious than gold.

Suddenly, the most unwanted girl in Anglund finds he
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Walker Childrens (first published August 1st 2012)
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The Selection by Kiera CassClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareEntwined by Heather DixonEverneath by Brodi AshtonRapture by Lauren Kate
Best Girl in a Dress Cover of 2012
72nd out of 405 books — 1,590 voters
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YA Historical Fiction 2012
28th out of 120 books — 679 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 28, 2012 Blythe marked it as to-read-maybe
Well, if there's one thing you can say about this book, it sure is original.

That doesn't mean I'll be reading it, though. I mean, have you read the blurb? Even the first few words:

Emmeline Thistle has always had a mysterious bond with cows

This is a joke, right?

...It's not?

(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
I'd read this just because the heroine has a mystic bond with cows.
Oct 02, 2012 Elevetha rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of fairytales retold, reimagined, or twisted on it's side .
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When I covered this for Fairy Tale Fortnight, I only did a silly little review-teaserthat consisted of my weird, random notes on the book, since publication was still quite a ways off. But now publication is right around the corner, so it's time for me to actually give you an idea of whether you'll like this quirky little book.First off, I have to mention it's a retelling of The Ugly Ducking, so points for that. And it's certainly...non-traditional, and requires quite a bit of WSOD. But if you'r ...more
When I first heard that there was a YA fairy tale retelling of The Ugly Ducking, I immediately got excited. When I read the blurb for The Sweetest Spell, I knew I had to read it. A fairy tale retelling of an oft-neglected story centering around the power of chocolate? Why, I haven’t had that sort of fun since reading The Chocolate Touch back in 3rd grade (Patrick Skene Catling’s middle grade retelling of King Midas about a kid whose touch turns everything not to gold, but to chocolate! Totally f ...more
May 26, 2012 Krystal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
This book taught me a value of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” When reading the back of the book, I thought the book seemed silly and too young for teen readers. After reading The Sweetest Spell, I quickly realized that I was wrong. Selfors wrote a fun book, with a good plot, strong characters, and good lessons. The plot of the book is about a collapsing kingdom with two defined groups of citizens. The lesser citizens, the Flatlanders, are blamed for the loss of a delicacy, chocol ...more
I got this book months ago and read it almost right away because the summary just grabbed me. Once you read said summary for this book, y’all are going to think I’m crazy for recommending it. BUT I hope you give it a chance because it really is a cute, sweet story, though kind of silly, but isn’t that what most fairy tales are anyway?

In case you can’t tell from the summary, this is a retelling of the Ugly Duckling with Emmeline as the Duckling. This poor girl didn’t have the best life growing up
So I get that this sounds like a strange book, but it's actually a really sweet and original read. It's more of 4.5, but I can't give myself enough reasons not to just give it 5 stars.

Quick Overview: Emmeline Thistle is the outcast of the Flatlands. Everyone is convinced that she is unnatural since she survived the night of her birth after being cast out into the woods because of her “defect” (a curled foot). Not to mention that cows follow her everywhere and she even seems to talk to them. Th
If you are anything like me, you grew up listening to your parents read you fairytales. Fairytales, next to Dr. Seuss, was what created your desire to read, they were the first stories you ever heard, thus the most important type of stories that will forever be a part of you later in life. Their sheer creativity, imagination, and hidden morals prove to be unforgettable and take up permanent residence in the back of your mind. Thus, I believe that one of the toughest challenges an author can tak ...more
Miss Bookiverse
Nov 17, 2011 Miss Bookiverse marked it as to-read
Shelves: gen-ya
Did you read the summary? The girl can turn milk into CHOCOLATE! How awesome!
Chocolate! CHOCOLATE! Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Ahhh! I picked up this book because of that tease in the premise. Haha.

*ahem* Okay, now let’s get on the real review, shall we?

The set-up of this book was refreshing in that it’s not your stereotypical pretty fluff of farmers, magic, pretty gowns, and dreams of romance and princes. I liked how she created her people who are outcasts and have formed their own traditions and customs which are very different from the other people of their land.

I to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jannat Bhat ( Obsessive Compulsive Reader)
The Sweetest Spell is a fairy tale story to its core, vacillating between the utter hopelessness of depression and the bright eyed wonder of youth and happiness. It begins with Emmeline’s recounting of how she is an unwanted. Left to die of exposure after being born with a curled foot, Emmeline survived only because she was guarded by some local cows. Thereafter, cows show affection for the girl who none of her people want around. When events turn and it is discovered that Emmeline possesses the ...more
This is the second time Suzanne Selfors has surprised me. The first time was when I thought her book Coffeehouse Angel would be a cliched YA book because the blurb sounded a little too middle grade. Wrong. It turned out to be a sweet romance book with a unique plot and three dimensional characters. I loved it.

After my experience with Coffeehouse Angel, I shouldn't have doubted Miss Selfors, but I did. The blurb for The Sweetest Spell sounds a little too silly to be taken seriously. I mean, a bon
I loved the opening of "the Sweetest Spell" where outcast, Emmeline, is flooded out of her home and winds up near a dairy farm, with a cow standing guard over her. The redheaded 'dirt-scratchers' are the lowest of all the people in Aungland, but the Owens family takes Emmeline in and gets her back to health. In return, she agrees to become a dairymaid, there's only one problem -- every time she tries to churn butter, she makes chocolate.

Chocolate hasn't been seen in the country in centuries. I s
Jun 28, 2012 Erica marked it as to-read
LOL. Well, I didn't expect that when I clicked on this book.

"Emmeline Thistle has always had a mysterious bond with cows ...
But Emmeline was unaware that this bond has also given her a magical ability to transform milk into chocolate.

Dec 23, 2014 Jayne added it
Shelves: false-start
I really enjoyed the beginning: Emmeline's chapter, and it was shaping up to be a great read. Then the author went ahead and abruptly changed the POV to a complete stranger whom had no connection (at that point)to Emmeline's story. I didn't enjoy his narration, nor did I appreciate his character, so I had to let it go. Disappointing, but not a bad book, and I'm sure there'll be plenty who do enjoy it. After all, reading is a personal experience ;)

P.S. Each section comes from a different characte
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Emmeline Thistle has a shameful heritage - she is descended from the Kells, invaders of the land of Anglund, who killed a beloved Queen in a bid to take over the land (or so all the Flatlander descendants have been led to believe) and as such were banished to the most uninhabitable tracts of land found, that flooded easily and were a harsh place to grow crops. Due to the fight for survival, Emmeline's people are known as dirt-scratchers and have a harsh, physically demanding life. Which is why w ...more
Ellen Ekstrom
I wish all faery tales were like this. I thought it was one part Rumpelstiltskin, one part Cinderella, one part The Kitchen Knight and one part The Princess Bride. Emmeline Thistle and Owen Oak are two of the most likeable, interesting characters to come from the imagination in a long time. The third main character, Griffin Boar, reminded me of the obnoxious jocks in high school, the ones who thought they were God's greatest gift to everyone. Perhap that's what the author had in mind, but he was ...more
In less words: Frankly, more people should be interested and begin reading this book. It’s about acceptance, forgiveness, true love, and the importance of doing the right thing even when fear is escalating. The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors is both lighthearted and heavy, a quest for acceptance and truth, and full of situations gone awry—both comically so and otherwise. If you’re into fairy tales and can enjoy the charming ridiculousness they entail, and have a healthy interest in happily ev ...more
Initial thoughts: Interesting premise, the blurb reminded me of a Shannon Hale book and I really intrigued by the retelling of The Ugly Duckling. The author definitely created her own story and world. There were elements I liked: the story, the twisting plot, but there were also a few things that I felt could have been done better: character relationships, parts of the plot that didn't make sense.

This novel had such an interesting premise – a world that had forgotten how to make chocolate! It wa
A Book Vacation
This novel is a masterpiece. A beautiful fairytale that is a must read. It’s so well written, so absorbing, that I had a very hard time disengaging; it permeated my thoughts and dreams for many a day afterward—it’s that good.

I am really glad I read this novel, and equally as glad that the synopsis you see above is the true one that reflects the great writing of the story. Originally the synopsis on all major book sites (except Netgalley, which is where I first came across this novel) stated this
Hafsah Laziaf
Originally Posted Here

17-year-old Emmeline Thistle has escaped death twice – once when she was a baby and was left to die in the forest and second when her home town, Root, was flooded. Both times were because of her magical relationship with the cows. Rescued by Owen Oaks, an 18-year-old boy from the village of Wander, Emmeline finds love and safety. Then the extraordinary happens, Emmeline churns milk into chocolate! In the kingdom of Anglund, chocolate is a delicacy. But many years ago the r
How many times can history be re-written? Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher's daughter, knows history. Hers: born with a defect, loved by cows and her father, disliked or hated by pretty much everyone else; and that of her countrymen: marauding invaders who lost and now live on poor ground with great restrictions.

Then 2 catastrophic events change Emmeline's course: the village men and boys are called away to war, and a flood sweeps away her village. She is nursed back to health downstream, by a
Rating: 4 stars

I'm just going to be honest here, for having such a whimsical, maybe even comedic, story line, I really didn't expect this story to as good as it was! To have the ability to make chocolate is cool, and I'd definitely want it, but for that to be the central point around which the story revolved? I was skeptical. But kudos Suzanne Selfors, kudos for taking this strange idea and spinning it into an amazing story with fantastic world-building, great characters, and touched on rather s
An imaginative Rumpelstiltskin-like tale.

Emmeline Thistle is a lowly dirtscratcher, disfigured from the time she was born no one has ever thought much of her...that is until she becomes the region's most wanted. Emmeline has a gift, she can actually churn cream into chocolate, and in a world where chocolate is the most valued substance in existance. But her gift comes with many choices, will Emmeline be able to use her gift to finally gain her freedom?

With The Sweetest Spell I wasn't sure what t
Like every other book I’ve read by Suzanne Selfors, The Sweetest Spell and I could go either way. The summary sounds weird, sure, but in reality, the story doesn’t get much weirder than say Saving Juliet, another Selfors book with a … er … unique premise. Pretty much the same light, silly yet enjoyable fun, I liked the story - my problem here isn’t that none of these people in a chocolate making story has ever heard of cocoa beans, it’s actually of the more mundane writing related variety.

The su
I got this book months ago and read it almost right away because the summary just grabbed me. Once you read said summary for this book, y’all are going to think I’m crazy for recommending it. BUT I hope you give it a chance because it really is a cute, sweet story, though kind of silly, but isn’t that what most fairy tales are anyway?

In case you can’t tell from the summary, this is a retelling of the Ugly Duckling with Emmeline as the Duckling. This poor girl didn’t have the best life growing up
Feb 04, 2013 Tandie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of chocolate and cows
Fun & fairy tail-ish read. Apparently, Emmeline Thistle is some kind of cow whisperer. Yes, cows saved her life when she was abandoned near the forest as a baby. she has some kind of good juju from being kind to her bovine friends - she can churn cream into CHOCOLATE. That's the sweetest spell they're talking about in the title. Cute & sweet. At first I thought the cow/magic connection was weird, but it ended up working well. I was skeptical, but it turned out to be a fun read.

Courtney Brown
Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 stars.

Man, I don't know how to talk about this book. The Sweetest Spell is about Emmeline, an outcast of the most hated group in her country, shunned because she has a deformity. After a flood sweeps her and her entire village away, she meets a supportive family whose son, Owen, sends her heart a-flutter. The even biggest surprise: she has the magic for the lost delicacy of chocolate, though there are some that want to use her abilities for their own ambition.

This is
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Books are my life...: The Sweetest Spell 3 13 Feb 26, 2013 06:13AM  
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Suzanne Selfors lives on an island near Seattle where it rains all the time, which is why she tends to write about cloudy, moss-covered, green places.
She's married, has two kids, and writes full time.
Her favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, and most especially, Roald Dahl.

Please visit her at to learn more about her books.

More about Suzanne Selfors...
Coffeehouse Angel Saving Juliet Mad Love Smells Like Dog The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary, #1)

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“In her sleep?" I couldn't believe it. "How did she say it? I mean, did she sound angry?"
He frowned. "I don't know how she said it."
"Come on try to remember. Was it sad like this...Owen? Or was it kind of sweet like this...Ownen? Or was it-”
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