Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sinister Sweetness

I guess this weekend is all about my 9-year-old son.
Hold on to your hearts, because the Cuteness Meter is about to hit Maximum.
maximum cuteness

My last post was about our delightful purchase of poetry, and Julien was pleased to perform for the blogosphere. Today, I want to give you a sneak peek at a Middle Grade book that Julien won from a blog give-away recently: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, by Nikki Loftin.

Here's the book description: Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy--Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei's favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It's up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. 

What they discover chills their bones--and might even pick them clean! Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you've got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy. 

I had the fortune to meet Nikki earlier this year at the SCBWI conference in Austin, the same weekend I met and signed with my YA agent. Nikki was hilarious, had me wiping tears of laughter with her antics. She was also kind and encouraging and genuine. With great reviews from PW and Kirkus, she is surely a rising star in MG literature.

Julien was ecstatic about winning an Advanced Reader Copy (because of the exclusivity, you see--there's nothing as thrilling to a 9-yr-old as getting his hands on something cool before ANYONE in the whole school can), and this book did not disappoint. What's funny (and a little sad) is that Julien had NO IDEA what was coming as he read.

"You mean, you've never heard of the Hansel and Gretel story?" I asked him in the car.
"No. What's that?" he asked.

I had a brief FAIL moment as a mother who tries to raise culturally literate children. But then I decided that he'd learn his own version of Hansel and Gretel soon enough, and that was all right, too.

You really should order this one for your kiddos, who'll not only love the story, but look irresistibly cool carrying this awesome book around school:
The bookstore cover: love it

I read the book right after Julien, and I could not put the book down. Frankly, I was creeped out, as I was when I watched Coraline, chewing on my nails. But splendidly creeped out. Splendid Academy is deliciously and delightfully written, with surprising depth of character and just enough Sinister details to keep Julien hooked. Now for the Sweetness:
More cuteness: Julien cracking up with his newest book. The book cover on the ARC was different from the final cover.

best read with a Lick-Em Stick


  1. I love the pictures. There was nothing more rewarding to me than to walk into a room and see my children reading when they were younger.

    1. Isn't it great? And isn't it funny that we feel the INVERSE when we walk into the room and see them zombied out playing video games? Thanks for reading!