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Sugar and Spite

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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 Claudin
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 20th 2021 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  114 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Spencer (Sphynx Reads)
I received a DRC of this book from Edelweiss+.

Yes, a 5-star read because not only was this book good, but it was a much-needed read for me.

This book was an utter delight to read! Full of heart and quirky magic, this story of friendship is bound to resonate with both middle-grade readers and really anyone who considers themselves young at heart.

I was pleased with the way Gail D. Villanueva did not shy away from representing Filipino culture in almost every possible aspect of the story in such a s
I love how messy kid main characters are allowed to be, this was really great! Perfect for fans of Love Sugar Magic!!
Jun 23, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-releases
June 23, 2020: I always come running to Asian books, especially when it's magical & middle-grade!!! Also, that cutesy coverrrr. ...more
Yna the Mood Reader
"Dad says that if we keep wanting things other people have, we won't get to enjoy the stuff we do have."

📚 Series? No.
📚 Genre? Middle Grade Contemporary & Fantasy.
📚 Read for? TBR and Beyond Tours Blog Tour.
📚 Cliffhanger? No.

⚠ Content Warnings:  Bullying. Internalized Colorism. References to a past loss of a loved one. Strong tropical storm + evacuation. (view spoiler)
⚠ Book Tags :  Magic. Family. Friendship. Pets.

☁ Filipino Family, Friendship, and F
"Magic can't heal everything, can it?"
"No, it cannot heal everything. Like I said, it's only a temporary fix. True healing must come from within the patient themselves."

Content warnings: (view spoiler)

This was such a wholesome, sweet read! If you read this, prepare to be immersed in a richly written setting and lose your heart to these characters (an

Well shit, I did not expect that. This book was unapologetically Filipino and I loved everything about it.

This is a story about friendship and forgiveness; finding common ground and shared experiences. A story about learning life lessons while on the journey of discovering who you are.

I loved how Villanueva touched on tough topics such as bullying, colourism, classism, homophobia, death of a loved one(view spoiler), etc., but never once does it feel overwhelming. It's very m
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Another exciting Filipino MG from Gail!!! CAN'T WAIT TO READ!! ...more
May 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, middle-grade
3.5 - This was a really engaging Middle Grade story dealing with magic, bullies, and friendship set in the Philippines. Jolina is the new girl in town who is fed up with being bullied by Claudine. Jolina’s plan to get revenge involves brewing a potion to change Claudine’s behavior, but she finds out that all magic comes with a price.

I thought this did a good job at showing the harm that comes from treating people based on preconceived notions or stereotypes. Through the magical elements the sto
Mark Alpheus
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So beautiful. Rtc soon!

review at:
Ms. Yingling
Feb 09, 2021 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Jolina and her family have moved from Manila to the small island of Isla Pag-Ibig. After the death of her Lola Toyang and a stroke suffered by Lolo Sebyo, her father has taken over the family Bagayan Food Haus, and her mother is a receptionist trainee at a fancy resort in the area. This resort is run by the mother of a girl in Jolina's Bible study class, Claudine. Claudine is very snooty and mean, and Jolina would rather avoid her. When she can't, she decides to t
Toya (the reading chemist)
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
TW: bullying, pet death

Sugar and Spite was my first foray into Gail D. Villanueva’s writing, and I can already tell you that it most certainly will not be my last. This was such a heartwarming and magical, coming of age story that I think so many people will be able to relate to regardless of age. Furthermore, this story is unapologetically Filipino. This story does not serve to teach the nuance of Filipino culture but instead allows Filipino children to be seen on page.

Jolina Bagayan and her fa
Feb 24, 2021 added it
this is the middle grade book of my heart. my thoughts are still over the place and i need to go back to this review once i've collected myself but one thing is for sure: I LOVE THIS BOOK VERY MUCH AND YOU NEED TO READ IT TOO. ...more
Lorryn Woodward
I was not expecting to be crying first thing this morning but here I am.
Jonna Feliz
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don't care if you think that you're too old to read middle grade books. Gail D. Villanueva is an author that EVERYONE should read.

Do you remember the feeling of when you were a kid and stumbled upon an amazing "hideout?" It's like, you don't want anyone to know about it because they might ruin it, but you also wish that more people knew about it because they deserve to experience magic, too. That's what Sugar and Spite feels like.

It's perfect. Privilege, culture, friendship, bullying, self-acc
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: pet death

Sugar and Spite is a charming and precious story about friendship, forgiveness, and ethics. Stressing the importance of magical ethics, Jolina's family tells her that magic has to be consensual. That it's a power, a force, that must be used responsibly. So what happens when Claudine's bullying hits a new high? Sugar and Spite is a story about mistakes. About misunderstan
Felicia Mathews
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Review to come!
Simant Verma
June 18: I don't know how I missed the cover reveal of this but I am so excited for Gail D. Villanueva next Middle Grade. I loved her previous book My Fate According to the Butterfly.
✨ a middle-grade fantasy with love potions and magic
✨ a Filipino setting
✨ exploration of consent and friendship in a middle-grade fantasy? That's unique
✨ And how cute is this cover!
Sai at theengineerisreading
Following the success of My Fate According to the Butterfly, Gail Villanueva's sophomore novel, Sugar and Spite, won me for being unapologetically Filipino.

When my ten-year-old self wished to read fiction books he can relate to, this is the one he was talking about.

As someone who grew up in the outskirts of the city and near the water, I can relate with Jolina Bagayan and the rest of Isla Pag-ibig residents when it comes to culture and tradition in rural areas. From living quietly and contented
 Rose Villaraza
Actual rating: 4.5 stars
"But you have been given another chance. That is a privilege. Not everyone gets the same chance as you. Do not waste it."

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy from the author and publisher via Edelweiss. This did not affect my opinions on the book in any way. Quoted lines may differ from the finished copy.

Gail D. Villanueva's debut novel My Fate According to the Butterfly has gotta be one of my all-time favorite books. It is a book I hold dear and close to my heart.
Paige Green
Apr 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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: Jo
Raine Villanueva
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg-reads, ph-books
Jolina Bagayan moves from a busy city through a provincial island. She and her friends, including mean and rich Claudine are in the same Bible Class, whose she always tease Jolina. Her mother works in a glitzy resort, her father helps in a eatery restaurant, and her Lolo is an Abularyo who also makes potions as well, along with Jolina the apprentice.

After all the jealousy Jolina got, she tries to sneak to the potion room and created gayuma, a love potion that changes a bad attitude into a good
M. K. French
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jolina is so fed up with being bullied by Claudine that she uses her grandfather's arbularyo magic to brew a love potion to soften Claudine's attitude. It works so well that Claudine now wants to be Jolina's best friend and do whatever she asks. However, magic like this comes with a cost...

We begin right off the bat with Jolina explaining accidental and intentional magic, and the fact that her grandfather is a faith healer. She's his apprentice, and while he teaches her how to make potions, he a
Kat Elle
I’m gonna talk about this book nonstop for the next few months. Consider this as a warning.

Sugar and Spite is the second middle grade book by one of my favorite Filipino authors, Gail D. Villanueva. It narrates the story of two young girls, Jolina and Claudine, as they try to navigate their lives and explore the different phases of relationships with family, friends and even, pets.

I can’t express how much I loved this book. So instead, I’m
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-english, earc
Thank you so much, Scholastic Press, for the chance to read and review this book!

TW: bullying, death

Jolina can't take Claudine's bullying any longer, so she decides to brew a batch of gayuma, a love potion, conquering Claudine's nature. Not only the girl stops bullying Jolina, but also wants to be her best friend, doing everything she asks. While slowly getting to know one other, Jolina starts to regret her action. Controlling someone's feeling will have consequences and maybe Jolina isn't ready
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Who would have thought a book about social bullying could be so entertaining? The mean girl's behavior can be really painful to read about. But that just makes it all the more hilarious when our heroine Jolina does the gayuma on her, getting her to give her presents and do mildly disgusting things. The Filipino concept of gayuma is thoroughly explained here--though it translates as love potion, it's not an aphrodisiac, but more about making a person sweet to you: if a cranky boss is su ...more
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Scholastic Press through Edelweiss+.
Jolina and her family have moved from Manila to a small island still in the Philippines to begin the story. She is struggling with the move and feeling alone. Unfortunately, one of the girls, Claudine, bullies her and embarrasses her whenever they see each other. Jolina's family has magic as part of their heritage. Her grandfather is a healer and is teaching Jolina the art too. In anger, she creates a potion that makes Claudin
Jill Jemmett
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Eleven-year-old Jolina has moved with her family from the city of Manila in the Philippines to an island town to live with her grandfather. Her grandfather practices arbularyo magic, and he is teaching it to Jolina. When Jolina is bullied by Claudine, the popular, and rich, girl in her bible study class, she decides to make a love potion to make Claudine like her. Jolina has to be careful because she hasn’t made a potion like that on her own before. However, every spell and potion has consequenc ...more
I was really looking forward to this one. Magic! Friendship! Cats and dogs! Set in the Philippines! But, for some reason, it just didn't ultimately work for me.

Things I Liked:

I really liked how the author interwove local practice of magic and Christianity. I thought it was unique and complex.

I liked all the parts with Kidlet the Jack Russell terrier. What a perfect dog!

Things That Didn't Work for Me:

This read as very elementary school to me. Claudine is in the habit of calling her mother "Mommy
So guess who was crying while she was reading the last few chapters of this book?! I'm not saying it's me but... it's me lol.

This was so, so good I swear! Here's what I liked about A Sugar and Spite:
✔ has wholesome Filipino rep
✔ highlighted Filipino culture all throughout the book! AAAHHHHH
✔ has good character development
✔ was funny but also poignant
✔ has good friendship and family themes
✔ it touched on several issues such as bullying, being an outcast, colorism, being poor in a society like our
Apr 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you TBR Beyond for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sugar And Spite
By: Gail D. Villanueva


My middle school days are, thankfully, long gone, but I still enjoy reading middle grade books like Sugar And Spite by Gail D. Villanueva.

This story smoothly manages to pose important ethical questions, address bullying and exemplify cultural diversity while maintaining a level of appropriateness for middle grade readers. Decision
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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 (Sch ...more

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