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I Put a Spell on You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective
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I Put a Spell on You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  123 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
COME SPELLING BEE season, the tiny town of Preston erupts in excitement: the bee is televised, and the hottest ticket in town. This year, an assortment of sixth-grade miscreants is going for the top prize: Jennifer, an overscheduled free spirit whose parents are obsessed with her college applications; Mutual, a previously home-schooled outsider who's enrolled in public sch ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jul 02, 2017 Nat rated it it was amazing
I was borderline obsessed with this book throughout late elementary school and early middle school. I think I checked it out from the library at least once a month. Just seeing the cover makes me so happy
Oct 09, 2008 Joenna rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv-mystery, 5th-6th
The all school spelling bee is just around the corner and the town is going nuts! This is the one event everyone looks forward too and there is some fierce competition. Chrissy, the school detective, is finding some alarming evidence, which makes her believe the spelling bee is being sabotaged. Jennifer, whose plan to win is just to read Shakespeare, has crazy parents who try to break into the school to find the master list. Mutual, who was previously homeschooled, is super smart, but is a bit o ...more
Jul 20, 2008 Lynn rated it it was ok
Cute 6th grade mystery with some nice touches - a spelling word heads each chapter with a funny defintion that relates to the story. Short chapters make this a fast and fairly engaging read. I think the young set will enjoy this a lot.
chbyoungreaders Changing Hands Bookstore Kids Team
Corruption. Rumors. Spelling Bee? Chrissie Woodward, a hall monitor wronged by her school's administration, is looking for the truth behind the spelling bee melee. Told via Chrissie's case files, this book is a hilarious look at the sordid inner workings of spelling bee politics.
Part mystery, part spoof, I Put a Spell On You was really clever. The story is told several ways. First, Chrissie Woodward, who has been investigating the odd events surrounding the annual spelling bee, tells her story through her observations. Second, Chrissie has taken depositions of a number of the kids in her class. Third, series of interoffice memos between the principal, his assistant, the sixth grade class teacher, and all school. Each chapter is one of these narratives. Finally, through ...more
Despair Speaking
I am honestly confounded by this book.

It was amazing. Stupendous. Surreal. And absolutely awesome.

How can I even begin to explain how hilarious and insane this book is? How can I ever describe how Adam Selzer had made such a normal situation into something absolutely extraordinary. How can I express my heartfelt gratitude for making my life a teeny tiny better with this book?

This may seem like an ordinary children's mystery book to you, but don't be fooled! Within these pages lies a story about
Ms. Yingling
Feb 27, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
It is the rare author whose books I will purchase without reading, but Adam Selzer tops the list. There is something pitch-perfect about his characters and his humor that invariably has me laughing until tears stream down my face. His newest is no exception; if nothing else, buy this for the "motivational" songs in the appendix. (To the tune of America the Beautiful, the chorus: "Now I'm a homeless junkie and/I live on crumbs and gruel/'Cause no one ever told me that/it's cool to stay in school. ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Brandy rated it really liked it
Chrissie Woodward is up in arms: after the debacle the spelling bee became, someone deserves to be fired--but a week later, no one has been. She presents her case notes to the school board, along with interdepartmental memos from staff and depositions from her fellow students: Jennifer, whose parents want her to win so badly her dad breaks into the school to steal the master word list; Mutual, the homeschooled kid who just enrolled at their school, despite his parents' fears of germs, corruption ...more
Madeline Smoot
May 11, 2010 Madeline Smoot rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I must confess that I originally became intrigued by this book because of the cover. I mean look at it. It’s so darn cute. So I added it to my list and started reading it last week.

I Put a Spell on You

I must confess for about 3 pages I thought I had made a mistake. The note that sets up the premise of the book turned me off. I guess I just fel that it wasn’t the kind of thing a student would write if she wanted to be taken seriously. And then the first page of the first chapter had more of a ram
Nov 08, 2010 BookKids rated it really liked it
Shelves: midgrade, mystery
I must confess for about 3 pages I thought I had made a mistake. The note that sets up the premise of the book turned me off. I guess I just fel that it wasn’t the kind of thing a student would write if she wanted to be taken seriously. And then the first page of the first chapter had more of a rambling tone than I like in a book. By this point I was seriously getting worried. So far I had liked all the books on my Should Read List. Had I reached the first one I didn’t like?

In the end, the answe
May 03, 2010 Erica rated it liked it
Every year in a small town where nothing much else happens an inordinate amount of attention is giving to the local elementary school spelling bee. This year the hall monitor Chrissie uncovers the seedy underbelly of the whole affair and compiles her evidence through transcripts of interviews with the participants and intercepted memos to present to the school board. I enjoy the portrayal of some of the students, for example the over-stressed Jennifer, the home-schooled Mutual, and the surprisin ...more
Jul 29, 2013 QNPoohBear rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grades
I picked this up because the author's wife is an online acquaintance of mine and I'm not sorry I read it! 6th grade Hall Monitor Chrissie Woodward has always been on the right side of the law, that is, the side of the Principal, but as the community prepares for the big spelling bee, Chrissie begins to suspect the principal's office of being corrupt! She sets out to gather evidence from her peers in this amusing adventure. The story is told from the points of view of the kids involved in the sp ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Charlyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gr. 4 and up
Chrissie Woodward is a spy. Her reports in the past have gone to the school administration and, for that work, she has been granted privileges beyond those of the average students. However, amid the plans for the school's annual spelling bee, Chrissie realizes that her reports have sometimes unfairly caused her classmates to be punished. Her careful collection of data (she may have OCD) also makes her realize that she needs to quit helping the administration and begin helping her classmates. Chr ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
This is a great book. Personally, I think it is a little bit juvenile, but I may just be out of the target range. However, it is a really funny book. I wouldn't say that is is goofy, because it does have an interesting plot, but I think humor is one of its strongest points.

Each of the characters seems realistic, despite their ridiculousness. Mutual seems naive, not unbelievable. Jennifer reminds me of one of my friends. The only one that doesn't seem believable is Harlan. He fit fine in this bo
Mar 18, 2011 Books4m rated it it was amazing
I am costantly hearing people say there are no good middle grade books and constantly finding plenty of proof thats not true.

Spelling Bees are stressful, for the kids involved and the parents training them, even the school itself can go crazy, but in I Put A Spell On You they take it to a whole new level. The entire town of Preston concerns itself with the spelling bee and its winner and parents and educators alike will go to any means neccesary to give their student the edge. Delightfully funny
Oct 01, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, humor
I really loved the characters in this book, particularly Mutual (a former homeschooler) and his wacky caricatures of parents. I definitely looked forward to the Mutual chapters just to see what ridiculous thing his parents might say. I also really liked Jennifer with her None of the Above method of studying and her love of Shakespeare (especially because she knows some of it goes over her head, but enjoys it anyway).

It was fun to look for the Watergate references, although I'm not sure how much
Dec 27, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
I liked elements of this book very much. I was looking for a fun, lighthearted mystery to recommend to grade schoolers. Unfortch, it is seriously uneven. It took forever to get to the 'mystery' and in the meantime you kind of had to hang in with the different characters hoping that you'd start to care any minute now. I am baffled, utterly baffled, by the Nixon/Pentagon Papers stuff. There are several references to Watergate et al. throughout the book. I am certain that I missed many of them, but ...more
Addison Children
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
There has obviously been some hanky panky going on at the Gordon Liddy Community School regarding the Spelling Bee. In this small town, the Bee is the biggest event all year. Former Hall Monitor and snitch, Chrissie, realizes something is wrong as rumors of stolen spelling lists and principal sanctioned list giving abound. Told as depositions from various students and eventually the principal, the story of corruption within unfolds along with delightful child view perceptions of school life in g ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, original
I thought this book would have all the different plot lines clash together in a hilarious ending, but I was wrong. The plot lines didn't exactly clash, or even have anything to do with the other plot lines. And the results were anticlimactic and, well, dumb. Plus the one character, Mutual, was totally unrealistic. As an actual homeschooler I can personally assure you, that although we do read lots of books, we homeschoolers have heard music, do eat pizza, and don't all spend our lives hidden in ...more
May 31, 2009 Talia rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fiction, j-mystery
The annual school spelling bee usually makes the whole town of Preston go crazy, but even more so this year. Chrissie Woodward, school detective and former hall monitor, thinks the bee may be sabotaged, and she has to put together all of the clues and figure out the truth. With suspects like homeschooled hermit Mutual, Jennifer with overachieving parents, class clown Harlan, ultra-competitive Marianne, and weasely Principal Floren, can Chrissie solve the mystery before the big bee?

This book didn
Dec 19, 2008 Fluxbrarian rated it it was ok
Shelves: upper-elementary
The school spelling bee is the town’s big event, and former hall monitor Chrissie Woodward, is investigating. The principal is corrupt, parents are ready to steal the word list, and tensions run high. Alternating narratives share the perspectives and stories of the students competing in the legendary bee. It gets off to a slow start and drags in the middle, but the resolution is satisfying. There is the shape of a funny story buried in here, but it desperately needs a good editor to tighten it u ...more
Would be a 3.5 if I could...

I found that I enjoyed this book quite a bit *despite* all the Nixon/Watergate stuff constantly being shoved in my face. The characters were quirky in just the right ways, and some were quite memorable, such as Mutual or the weird old ladies. And the idea of exposing a conspiracy at the spelling bee with crazy parents was very funny and I liked watching it all come together. Selzer did a pretty good job giving all of his characters their own distinct voices.

So, basic
Nov 12, 2009 Terri rated it did not like it
All too soon children become teenagers who think their parents are foolish and totally out of touch! Authors don't need to rush that attitude by presenting young people with books that show adults as total idiots who behave irrationally and compulsively. There was absolutely no adult in this novel that served any purpose other than that of villain or buffoon. What a waste of my time and an insult to my intelligence!
Nov 29, 2011 Anthony.l rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
it's a epic tale of adventure and mystery the main caterer is Jenifer
and Mutal Jenifer's parents are crazy and want a good college Revere and will stop at nothing to get it mutal is a new student who motorize the dictionary at three years old and and is entering the spelling bee who will win Mutal's parents are nuts and think everyone is cruopt will jenifer and mutal finally meet who will win in the epic battle to the end
Nov 30, 2010 711sierra rated it really liked it
Shelves: 7th-grade-books
This was a really great book. It had views of children that really show the inner workings of their brain as well as crazy adults who should all be in a low level mental hospital. It's centered around a spelling be that holds everyone in the town's hopes and dreams and put together by a girl with a strong sense of justice who feels betrayed by the school system. It was funny, educational and highly entertaining.
Andrea Dillon
Apr 03, 2012 Andrea Dillon rated it liked it
At first I thought I had picked a bad book. The beginning just hadn't really hooked me but I stayed. I enjoyed the book even though I had the plot almost figured out. It was cute and funny. Good read overall.
Jennifer Burke
Jun 18, 2009 Jennifer Burke rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
If you thought the school sports teams were competitive, you haven't seen anything like a town obsessed with the spelling bee! Very funny!
Mar 06, 2009 B rated it liked it
Shelves: j-mystery
Grade 5 + mystery about corruption caused by a spelling bee.
Jun 22, 2009 Crystal marked it as to-read-young-adult
Sounds silly and fun. Like I'll get to it this decade. *rolls eyes*
Sarah W
Dec 03, 2009 Sarah W rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! It didn't look that good but once i started reading it, I couldn't put it down.
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Adam Selzer blocked Goodreads on his computer for years but now he's on here, so let him have it. His first book was HOW TO GET SUSPENDED AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (now available in a "Now With More Swearing") edition, his next one is PLAY ME BACKWARDS (for satanic young adults), and his best known is probably I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT, a Twilight satire that was not marketed as a satire.

He also
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“Whenever I start thinking about death, it always cheers me up to think about my funeral and my tombstone (which, by the way, will say "Here lies Harlan Sturr. Please don't pee on him.") ” 1 likes
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