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The Sweetest Spell

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,505 ratings  ·  649 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
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Anaya Yes this book is appropriate for 13 year olds. I loved it.
Yes this book is appropriate for 13 year olds. I loved it.

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,505 ratings  ·  649 reviews

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Nov 18, 2011 marked it as to-read
I'd read this just because the heroine has a mystic bond with cows. ...more
May 28, 2012 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?

Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
When I covered this for Fairy Tale Fortnight, I only did a silly little review-teaser that 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 ...more
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2012
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
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
Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ}
3.5. Cute little book. Something I might have love more as a kid. Lots of things I could have hated but I think I just like Suzanne Selfors, since this is my second book by her. Fairytale style! Cute little read. And the last of my current library to-be-read books (thank goodness now I can take a break!).

- I like that while at first glance it might seem everyone is in love with Emmeline for her skill, it's actually not the case, each man has their own reason for wanting Emmeline, except o
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: eh, instalove, magic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amara Luciano
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
❅ Karen ❅
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I absolutely loved this book! I didn't really know what to expect because the synopsis just seemed so weird to me but I decided to give it a shot! 100% do not regret it! The fact that she had a special bond with cows is just perfect for her character. Also there are some funny moments with the male characters and I just couldn't believe the situations they out themselves in! ...more
Aisyah ♡
I love this book so much!

I've found my new favorite :D

Courtney Long
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
Jannat Bhat
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kayla Edwards
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was so pleasantly surprised with this novel - I was not expecting it to be as unique as it is! I picked it up because, umm, chocolate. What girl hasn't wished for the power to just create chocolate at least once in her life? I loved the legend and political elements in the story, it pulled me in and made this adventure a quick and enjoyable read. I love Emmeline's character so much; watching her open up and come into herself is a privilege. She's one of my favorite heroines from my recent read ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
YA Fairytale. I really enjoyed this story, and the writing flows beautifully. I would give this a solid 3.5 stars. What kept it from being a higher mark for me was the plot coming together too easily toward the end. That said, I would definitely read this author again. I up'd this to 4 stars because, for the YA audience, there is a sweet innocence to this story that is quite refreshing. ...more
Oda Renate
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just rerad this book.
Love it just as much as I did the first time I read it.(2 years ago or something)
Theres struggles,passion,unpredictability,some funny lines.
Characters that are flawed and relatable.
Love,love,love it. :D

Hollywood get off youre arse... and make this into a movie.
The whole time while reading it I kept thinking about how great a movie it would be.
A sweet book (pun intended) and a light read. Good writing, plot development, and character development. Not my favorite book ever, but I really enjoyed it! :)
A surprisingly good tale about magic & chocolate -- despite being wrapped in a cloak of prejudice.

Emmeline Thistle is born with a deformation; in the Flatlands this is not good, because one is expected to work the land until death, and a deformed limb or other issues can be a hinderance, so she is whisked away and left near the forest to be eaten... but she is saved by four of the most unlikeliest of heroes: cows.

This sounds harsh, but Flatlanders are not treated well by the rest of the kingdo
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was not expecting this book to be anything like what was really is. I was surprised with the many twists and turns. It was funny, but there were still times I cried. I would recommend this book to almost anyone.

warning: this book does have a gay character
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sweetest Spell is the story of how a girl can church milk into chocolate. It is a rare talent that all believed had died out as a result of a curse from one nation to another. The real truth of the matter, no one knows. But Emmeline Thistle, the outcast of the outcasts in her country, suddenly has this ability. Some will give anything to gain it.

This book was cute and funny. Yet it addressed some relevant issues: prejudice based on nationality as well as beauty, error in history, and the va
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Feb 16, 2015 10:02AM  
Books are my life...: The Sweetest Spell 3 18 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.


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