Read The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin Brenna Eernisse Online

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Spooky twists and soaring prose make this foodie update on Hansel and Gretel an unforgettable must-readLorelei 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, tSpooky twists and soaring prose make this foodie update on Hansel and Gretel an unforgettable must-readLorelei 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....

Title : The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781595145086
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 285 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy Reviews

  • Sandra [the fucking book fairy]
    2019-03-15 23:05

    The blurb said something about this book was a Hansel and Gretel retelling. But I believe, that I got more than that. This book was so good plot wise and character wise. I just had a little problem with how perfectly it ended up, how easy it was. But other than that, this book is highly enjoyable and on some parts, hilarious.Full review to follow.

  • Leah
    2019-03-16 01:52

    http://theprettygoodgatsby.wordpress....2012 is the year of retellings and until now, I can't think of any other retelling of Hansel and Gretel. The moment I heard about this book, I desperately needed to read it. Luckily I was provided with an ARC (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) and were it not for work - and, trust me, I was seriously tempted to call off - I would have finished The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy in one sitting.Lorelei Robinson is an eleven year old girl harboring a terrible secret. Since the death of her mother a year earlier, she's felt alone and ignored by her older brother and father. And her new stepmother Molly is an absolute terror.When her school burns down, there's talk of where to send the now-schooless children. Over the weekend a new school suddenly is built and the only one who seems to notice just how quickly it appeared is Lorelei. Despite the costs of a private school, Lorelei's father agrees to check it out (much to the dismay of Molly; she'd much rather spend that money on herself).Splendid Academy is unlike any other school. Not only does it have a pretty fantastic playground, but there are hardly any rules and it's nearly impossible to get in trouble. Students are free to wander the halls or leave their classroom if a particular lesson doesn't interest them. There are bowls of candy on every desk. Multiple recesses a day. Feel like playing with your phone instead of learning math? Go right ahead!Even with these unbelievable perks, Splendid Academy's claim to fame is the food. Oh, that food. Students are encouraged to eat as much as they'd like and upon touring the school, they were asked about their favorite foods. In many cases, students eat better at school than they do at home.The only one who seems to suspect something strange is going on is Andrew, a boy in Lorelei's class. Andrew is overweight and over the summer his mother had sent him off to camp. It was there he learned about controlling his eating and how to avoid cravings. While all the other students are stuffing their faces with plate after plate of food, Andrew is able to fight the temptation - and winds up dealing with the repercussions of going against the plans the school has for him.Without giving too much away - although, given this book is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, what do you think will happen? - The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a dark, delightful tale. I tore through this book, not just because of the quick pace, but because it was seriously that good. This book is described as Hansel and Gretel meets Coraline and that alone should send readers running to preorder it.The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is the reason I love Middle Grade. :)

  • Samantha Clark
    2019-02-24 23:03

    Quick confession, I got an early copy of this book by begging the author, who thankfully lent me one of her ARCs. How much did I like it? I can't wait until it's in stores so I can buy a copy for myself.The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is the kind of middle grade book that's a fun adventure, bringing readers into a world we'd like to inhabit, even if there is some spooky stuff there.But like all good stories, this novel also tells a deeper emotional tale of a girl who's trying to deal with the death of her mother and the difficulty of accepting a new stepmother.With a nice twist of classic fairy tales, the book describes Splendid Academy as the ultimate gingerbread house, fit to entice kids even smarter than Hansel and Gretel. Nikki builds the world brilliantly, from the thrilling playground to the food that will make mouths water. And the more serious storyline about families is weaved in wonderfully, integral to the story but not taking away from the adventure.A fun read for kids of all ages, The Sinister Sweetness of Spendid Academy gets a full recommendation from me. If your child is scared easily, read the book yourself first to see if it'll pass the nightmare test. But there's nothing in this book that kids won't like.Here's a longer review: http://bit.ly/IaLrhA

  • Claire Legrand
    2019-03-14 23:52

    I started Nikki Loftin's THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY on Saturday and would have read it all in one sitting were it not for, you know, real life. As it was, I finished it in a veritable reading FRENZY both last night and this morning. I just could not put it down!This book is, like all the best fairy tales, wildly imaginative and bone-chillingly gruesome. There were moments when my heart started pounding with the suspense of what was going to happen next! And the heroine, Lorelei, is a wonderful main character -- hilarious and strong, but hiding a terrible secret. Shocking twists and turns will keep you racing through this disturbing (and I mean that in the best possible way, as a fan of creepy children's fiction!), thrilling, and DELICIOUS tale. Who is the villain? What is REALLY going on at Splendid Academy? You won't be able to stop reading until you find out! But be warned: the food descriptions will make your mouth water and your stomach growl!*wanders off, dreaming of marzipan and French toast*

  • Sarvenaz Tash
    2019-03-22 06:06

    The sinister sweetness of Roald Dahl lives on (and I do not say that lightly) in this extraordinary book that combines fairy tale folklore with streaks of effortless originality all its own. The story is delightfully dark and deep: perfect for kids (and adults) who suspect that sometimes adults really have no idea what's going on and that it's up to kids to see the magic (and evil) right in front of them.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-23 23:05

    A deliciously creepy take on Hansel and Gretel with elements of The Witches, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a solid debut novel from author Nikki Loftin. She provides middle-grade readers a story with well-developed characters, a plot that's full of surprises, and strong friendships.Lorelei has dealt with a lot the past year: the death of her mother, her father's remarriage to her evil stepmother Molly, and now her school has burnt down. But just before she's forced to hike all the way across town each morning, Splendid Academy opens right down the street. This school has everything a kid could want from the ultimate playground to candy bowls at your desk to virtually no rules! But is this academy as sweet as it seems? Lorelei adores Principal Trapp. She's beautiful, nice, and seems to understand Molly in a way that few others can. Her teacher, Ms. Morrigan, however, is a complete witch that gives Molly the creeps from the get go. So when Andrew, the class outcast, shows Lorelei some disturbing behavior the school brings out in their classmates, the pair team up to save their peers and form a heart-warming friendship.Loftin has created a story with well-defined characters that have quirky characteristics. Children who fit into the middle-grade age group are just beginning to come into their own and tend to butt heads with authority a bit, so they will likely empathize with Lorelei's problems with the adults in her life. In Splendid, most of the adults are evil or just can't help her. Her teacher, Ms. Morrigan, and the new music teacher definitely have mean streaks. Lorelei's new stepmother, Molly, is having a difficult time balancing the responsibilities of being a mom with what she wants. Loftin sets her up so that I was constantly wondering if she is eviler than she seems. And, even Lorelei' dad is unable to help her. Still recovering from the death of his wife and trying to help Molly and the children come to terms with one another, Dad is having trouble coping with less-immediate-but-still-important problems in their lives, like Lorelei's writing issues or her problems with her teachers. He has a tendency to be dismissive of his daughter's concerns, not out of a lack of concern but just out of an inability to deal.Even though Splendid is based on a fairy tale, it tackles real issues that children face: obesity, peer pressure, bullying, and dysplasia, to name a few. Many of the characteristics that are considered negative in our culture work out to be a plus for the kids at Splendid Academy. For example, if Andrew did not have weight issues, he would never have noticed the other students' weird reaction to the school. Or, if there wasn't bullying on the playground, its curious ingredient would never have been uncovered.Nikki Loftin has written a fantastic present-day spin on a treasured fairy tale. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy was a quick read that drew me in and kept me guessing throughout the story.

  • PaulHankins
    2019-02-27 02:05

    Ask any middle grade reader about school and you might get a response along the lines of "School is tough." But Splendid Academy is not like any other school. Here, students and faculty meet for breakfast each day, students are allowed to run from place to place, and candy dishes that never seem to empty are to be found in every desk in every room. Education reform aside, most would agree that this would be a fantastic school to attend.And the noun form of fantastic?Fantasy.So, what is happening at Splendid Academy. Why are students sitting dreamily through breakfast consuming more than a normal child could in one sitting? Sitting dreamily through lessons while consuming bottomless bowls of M&Ms? What of the mysterious Ms. Morrigan who is seemingly able to be everywhere at once? And what of the mysterious music teacher, Ms. Threnody who won't allow Lorelei to sing, forcing each of the students to learn to play a reed pipe instead?And what of the wait staff, who never say a word while serving food or moving about the corridors? Why do some of these servers look familiar from the pictures of students who have attended the various Splendid Academies found around the world?And why is one boy, a chubby boy named Andrew, encouraging Lorelei not to eat? And why does he choose to shove sand in her mouth on the playground risking punishment for himself?And can any of this confusion help Lorelei to sort out her feelings about her family at home and the guilt she carries for her mother's death?THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY reads like Willy Wonka Meet The Wall (with a tinge of Ordinary People ((how's this for a mash-up), but tucked inside a story that reads like a classic fairy tale is something a little more tender and is not to be missed this fall by middle grade readers and their reader advisors.Nikki Lofton gives us all of the checkpoints of a classic fairy tale:*A family broken apart by a death and a ham-handed attempt to try to put it back together again. (Lorelei's mother passes away and she is keeping a deep, dark secret that can only be kept within the heart of a deep-feeling twelve-year-old)*Bad things befalling characters and settings with a progressive "Wow. I didn't think that would happen" kind of feel (Father remarries, a school burns down and a new one is built immediately in its place). *Characters are placed within a new, somewhat out-of-the-ordinary experience wherein questions must be answered quickly in order to navigate (or survive). *Opposing forces vying for the affections of a character who doesn't quite know where their heart is at the moment let alone make decisions for its disposition.Like a good fairy tale, some answers come quickly and the reader moves along the breadcrumb trail to try to figure out how the protagonist will navigate the conflict, but Loftin provides plenty of twists and turns within the book to keep one in the story. Her treatment of the kitchen staff is particularly tender and in this section of the book there are all kinds of extensions to familiar stories and multi-cultural lore (inviting even more reader recommendations).And when Lorelei finally confronts the evil that she has been facing throughout the book, readers will not have predicted what needs to be faced down in order for the hero to come out on the other side.Nikki Loftin demonstrates in this book that comfort food is anything but, and what she cooks up in THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY is classic fun for reading audiences.From a reader-advisory/teacher viewpoint, middle grade fiction should have a little bit of magic within. Characters should look and sound familiar and have those tweeny-transitional concerns that are immediately recognizable by the middle grade reader. I'm of the opinion that when these middle grade titles have some natural tie-in with familiar stories (which open portals between NOW and NEXT) then so much the better for these readers.Pair up Nikki Loftin's book with those by Jackson Pierce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)Fans of 2011 titles like Anne Ursu's BREADCRUMBS, Laurel Snyder's BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX, and Patrick Ness's A MONSTER CALLS,and 2010 titles like Adam Gidwitz's A TALE DARK AND GRIMM won't want to miss Nikki Loftin's THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY. Loftin's book will also work well with Amber McRee Turner's 2012 spring release, SWAY.

  • Erica
    2019-02-25 03:01

    Since I heard about this book ages ago, I have been SO excited for The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. I love middle grade - it is a growing love of mine. I keep finding more and more fantastic middle grade, which is awesome. I am happy to say that The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy did not disappoint in the least and I have found a new favorite.With all the elements of a good fairy tale, Nikki Loftin has woven a tale that is filled with the trials of friendship and a chilling plotline. There is the perfect blend of the darker elements of a fairy tale with a unique sense of humor that is the icing on every corner of the book.I love Lorelei - she is a fantastic protagonist. Clever and witty, Lorelei works together with Andrew to solve the mystery of Splendid Academy. I loved watching their friendship grow. Both Lorelei and Andrew aren't the typical students - Lorelei has issue with her writing, which has always set her behind in school, and Andrew has issues with his weight. I loved that Nikki Loftin chose to feature kids that were flawed in their own way, but didn't let it deter them from the final outcome.The sweet filled plot of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy was a joy to read. I loved the atypical plot line - while there were the usual elements of a fairy tale, Nikki Loftin takes such a varied path which was a delight to read. It was completely new. Witches, unique mythology, and crafty characters make the perfect story to read.The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a marvelous debut from Nikki Loftin. I already am eagerly anticipating her next release.

  • Bonnie
    2019-03-13 01:04

    Tagged as 'Coraline' meets 'Hansel and Gretel' but this also reminded me a lot of 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl (in a good way!)As of late, Middle-Grade books seem to be popping up everywhere but there have been some amazingly good ones that I never would have thought I'd be able to enjoy. This is one those stories that is perfectly suited for the younger crowd but are still a fun adventure for adults as well. Highly recommended!This debut novel was extremely well-written and will keep any reader entranced till the end. Not just an entertaining read, this comes equipped with a deep message that I feel will be easily understood by younger readers.In addition to the near-perfect cover, there were several pictures throughout the story that I loved. [image error]Considering they appear similar I would guess that the inside art was done by the same artist but I couldn't find the information to confirm. The artist to the cover though is Alexander Jansson. I would highly recommend you check out his website and view some of his other works - they're amazing!

  • Elizabeth Meadows
    2019-03-17 01:51

    Wow! This was a fantastic book. Not only was it exciting, suspenseful, and "sinister," it covered several other topics that are relevant to middle grade readers and people of all ages. One of the underlying themes was mental health and being able to forgive yourself for something horrible. Another theme was obesity. I thought the author did a great job of showing the reality of how overweight students are treated by peers. The main character was able to display appropriate ways of dealing with it and sticking up for her friend. Another theme was family relationships. Sometimes family members don't listen to each other, but when it comes down to it, your family will be there for you.

  • Gabrielle Carolina
    2019-03-09 21:47

    I positively devoured this middle grade debut over a few hours and suggest you do the same when it is released.Those with a sweet tooth for sweet treats and a sweet tooth for sweet books, this is the tale for you!I would also like to mention how clean this ARC was! It really says something about both the author an editor- and I always appreciate the effort as a reviewer.

  • Irene Carracher Kistler
    2019-03-08 22:48

    My class adored this book! As a read aloud, it is so much fun. The witch voices are fun to create and I loved pointing the "wand" at kids as I read the final chapter. They giggled and shrieked, so you know they loved it!

  • Heidi
    2019-03-09 04:59

    When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night. ”Use your imagination, Lorelei,” she’d say, “and your whole life can be a fairy tale.” I wanted that to be true. But I should have paid more attention to the fairy tales.Because not all of the children in them come out alive. And sometimes there are witches hiding in the woods.These are the first lines of Nikki Loftin’s The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, and all that it took me to be sold on Lorelei’s story. Lorelei is an eleven year old girl, with more on her mind than all of the normal eleven year old anxieties. A year ago, her mother died–was killed–and Lorelei knows in her gut that she is responsible. Her brother blames her, and no longer treats her as a friend, the one friend she told hasn’t spoken to her since, and her father is too distant and busy with his replacement wife to care. Lorelei knows her new stepmother, Molly, is a witch–but really, Lorelei doesn’t know anything about witches. Yet.When after only three days of construction the most miraculous charter school, Splendid Academy, appears not far from their home, Lorelei and her brother Bryan are delighted. The playground is the most amazing thing they have ever seen–it has everything! They want to go there very much, even if it is too good to be true, even if it appeared in three days. Even if their former school just happened to burn to the ground forcing nearly all of the kids in the neighborhood to attend. But it doesn’t take Lorelei long to learn that no matter how splendid things seem, something sinisterly sweet is happening at the Splendid Academy.What I was certain was going to be a light, fluffy, fairy tale esque middle grade with shades of the dark fairy tales surrounding stories of Baba Yaga and Hansel and Gretel turned out to be much deeper and darker than I could have possibly anticipated. When the kids enter Splendid Academy, they’re welcomed with free reign, optional assignments, and next to no rules save one–eat. The kids are required to attend the school for not just lunch, but breakfast, have multiple snack times, snacks at recess, and endless candy at their desks. It doesn’t take much of a mental leap (or a background in fairy tales) to determine that these children are being fattened up for a witch’s brew, but the manor in which this tale plays out is delightfully menacing and sure to make chills run down the spines of the kids who will read it.Friends, even before we entered the doors of Splendid Academy, my heart was breaking for Lorelei. She’d lost her mother only a year before, and is so certain she is not only responsible, but a murderer. Add to that guilt the fact that she struggles immensely in school due to dysgraphia (at least she thinks it’s dysgraphia because her father hasn’t bothered to get her tested), a disability similar to dyslexia where instead of words getting jumbled up while reading, they get jumbled up while writing. Lorelei can’t even read her own handwriting, and as a result she is labeled as an idiot who receives no special help. Her father is already remarrying Molly, who to me sounds like the most odious woman alive. At the wedding, Lorelei overhears Molly saying to the rector that she believes that it was God’s will that Lorelei’s mom died to make a place for Molly in their family. If I ever overheard anyone say this sort of thing in real life, I’d probably walk up and deck them.Through these harsh realities, Nikki Loftin creates an atmosphere where we are constantly torn between wanting Lorelei to escape her family, and wanting her to escape the fate that awaits her at Splendid Academy. I love that I honestly didn’t know what choices I wanted Lorelei to make through to the very end. I couldn’t blame her for her willful naivety when she only wanted to regain the feeling of being loved that she’d lost along with her mother. I certainly couldn’t blame her for feeling pushed aside by her father and brother, and victimized by Molly who behaved so cruelly toward her.Lorelei’s family and the staff at Splendid Academy aren’t the only cruelties she encounters. We are, after all, talking about eleven year olds. Lorelei makes a new friend at Splendid, Andrew, a boy who has struggled with obesity for life, and as such is more or less considered a social pariah. Nikki Loftin addresses the reality that for kids, being overweight is similar to having a contagious diseases. People avoid you, make fun of you, and certainly don’t include you. Andrew is the perfect friend for a girl who is feeling outcast, as he understands completely. Andrew has learned to control his hunger and cravings, and lost 40 pounds in the process. Together he and Lorelei seem to be the only two children able to resist the delicacies served up constantly at school.I am curious about the illustrations, if Nikki Loftin illustrated herself? I didn’t see this stated anywhere, but nor was an illustrator listed. I loved the cover art for The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, as I am a big fan of incorporating the text into the scene, and it certainly evokes the feeling of the book. I didn’t feel as if the illustrations were particularly amazing, but they were cute and well incorporated into the story.The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is deliciously dark. The story holds a surprising depth of maturity and emotions, and is my favorite type of reminder that most fairy tales do not, in fact, end with ‘happily ever after’.Originally reviewed at Bunbury in the Stacks.

  • YA Reads Book Reviews
    2019-02-27 06:02

    Originally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by NicholeA deliciously spooky middle-grade debut that’s Coraline meets Hansel and GretelLorelei 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.Lorelei’s life has been turned upside down after her mother died in a tragic (and secret) accident. Now Lorelei’s father is remarrying a wicked witch (figuratively) of a woman, and Lorelei feels like nothing could get much worse. Boy, was she wrong.Before Lorelei knows it, her school burns down to a crisp and a new school, Splendid Academy, is built overnight. Splendid Academy is like every kids dream. At Splendid Academy you can eat whatever you want, do whatever you want. It’s acceptable to run in the hallways and miss class. Heck, you even get candy dishes to munch on during class! Deep inside, Lorelei knows that it’s strange that her school burnt down and this new school was built overnight, but why pass up something that seems so perfect?With the help of her new pal Andrew, Lorelei soon finds out that Splendid Academy isn’t so splendid after all. As it turns outs, the new faculty is full of witches! And they’re trying to fatten all the kids up for a big feast! Lorelei and Andrew must race to save the day. If not, they might just be a midnight snack for one very hungry witch.While I do not read middle grade books very often, I find a sweet sort of comfort in relaxing down with one. As soon I saw the cover for The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (my cover is different than the finished copy), I knew that I just had to read this book. Just by looking at the cover, I felt that it would have a similar feel to the Lemony Snicket books. The books ended up being completely different, but I found myself tearing through the pages, as they were addicting and relaxing all at the same time.Although I did enjoy The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, Lorelei. I found her to be very whiney. However, I did keep reminding myself that this is a middle grade novel. Children at Lorelei’s age are supposed to be whiney. On the other hand, I loved the character of Andrew. I had a serious soft spot in my heart for him. Heavy children are picked on relentlessly and that really came across nicely in this book. I thought that it was an excellent thing to show reality in a paranormal book.The ending of this book was pretty predictable, but I found that that didn’t bother me. As I said before, there’s something very relaxing about reading middle grade books. I may have known what was going to happen next, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to read it for myself.I had a huge problem with the characters of Lorelei’s father and stepmother. I’m often very judgmental about parenting and what was going on really disturbed me. I know it’s just a book. I do, but I just wanted to reach into the book and smack Lorelei’s father. I felt that it was very unclassy of him to expect his children to respect, appreciate and acknowledge the new woman in his life as their mother. I know it’s just a personal issue, but I had a really hard time reading the book when those characters made appearances.Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I think that it would appeal more to younger teenagers, but adults who occasionaly read middle grade book should be pleased with the outcome of this book. I know that I will be keeping my eye out for more books by Nikki Loftin.Pages: 304Publication Date: August 21, 2012Publisher: RazorbillRating: : 3Teaser Quote: “When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night. ”Use your imagination, Lorelei,” she’d say, “and your whole life can be a fairy tale.” I wanted that to be true. But I should have paid more attention to the fairy tales.Because not all of the children in them come out alive. And sometimes there are witches hiding in the woods.”

  • Merin
    2019-03-16 05:56

    I will say upfront that if you call something a fairy tale retelling, I am probably going to read it. My love of fairy tales really knows no bounds, and I am always especially intrigued when an author sets the retelling in modern times. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is indeed set in modern times, and is one of those books where hardly anyone realizes just what's happening and how odd (or magical) the occurrences are. The narrator is a fifth grade girl named Lorelai, who is still reeling from her mother's death, which she feels she played a role in. It's her secret guilt, and it's basically burying her. When you combine what Lorelai is going through (she also struggles with a learning disability that her father won't seek treatment for) with the fairy tale aspect, you get a book that is quite dark for its target age group, at least in my opinion. That's not to say it's over the top dark, because it's not, but there's really nothing fluffy about this book in the slightest.The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, and definitely goes the way of the Grimm Brothers in terms of its "happily-ever-after" qualities. While her father marries her "stepmonster" Molly, a school is literally built over the weekend. When the school Lorelai was supposed to attend mysteriously burns down, her father and Molly decide to send Lorelai and her brother, Brian, to the new Splendid Academy. The school seems too good to be true: the children get two meals for free, the class sizes are fairly small, there are hardly any rules at all, and the playground is straight out of every single child's combined imagination. But Lorelai and her classmate, Andrew, soon discover that something very strange is going on at the school, and become the only two to realize who's really in charge and what the ultimate plan is for the students.Considering that this is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, you can probably guess where this book goes in terms of its overall plot. But there were a lot of things that made me wince; Lorelai's stepmonster is absolutely awful and I wanted to shake her father for not seeing just how terrible a person she really is; one of the teachers in the school treats the children absolutely terribly, which hurt my educator-trained heart; and Lorelai is clearly suffering from her mother's death and no one has done a single thing for her. Add to that Andrew's problem with obesity, and this book has no shortage of deep and dark topics. But I found it all to be handled really well; nothing was dumbed down in any way, but it was still something that's readable and able to be comprehended by the age group that's most likely going to be drawn to the book. I give the author two thumbs up for not shying away from the darkness and even embracing it at some points. I felt like it added a richness to the story that wouldn't have otherwise been there if she'd gone made things "happily-ever-after" fluffy.All in all, I found The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy to be a very enjoyable read. It deals with some heavy topics, particularly for the age group it's marketed for, but it does it in a way that anyone would understand and be able to relate to the story. Throw in some fairy tale magic, a fabulous climax, and a headstrong main character, and you get a book that's engaging and thought-provoking, without the completely over-the-top ending that usually occurs in the fairy tales we all know and love. If you want a book where the main character isn't perfect, but takes control of her destiny and tries to right the wrongs in her life, then I'd definitely recommend this. It's now available in North America from a bookseller of your choice.An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2019-02-18 23:44

    Originally posted at A Reader of Fictions.Middle grade fiction is my new favorite thing. I still haven't read that much, but I have yet to be seriously disappointed by any of the ones I've picked up. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is incredibly delightful, one of my favorites thus far. Full of dark humor and classic fairy tale plot elements, it's a story that delighted me from beginning to end, giving me a perverse desire to eat everything.If you pay attention to my little reading widget, you might know that it took me weeks to read this despite its brevity. This was my iPod touch book, for reading while in lines. I read a lot of it while waiting at the DMV so I could get my license renewed. Thank goodness I had a delightful book to buoy me up during that harrowingly mind-numbing experience. While, you could easily devour this delicious book in one sitting, it also worked well as a book to nibble at and savor. I had no trouble picking it back up after a week of not reading, the story remaining fresh in my mind.I will say that TSSoSA is not a book you should read if you want to be surprised. Maybe if I were a middle grader, I would feel differently, but, as a lover of fairy tales, I always knew where the plot was headed. Sometimes, though, I think that's a good thing. There's something comforting about that, like a big ol' bowl of mashed potatoes. This retelling of Hansel and Gretel (with a whole bunch of other tales mixed in) does some unique clever things, but reads very much like a classic fairy tale.Nikki Loftin's writing is simply perfectly matched to the tale. She's witty and clever. The story is told in first person by Lorelei. Unlike a lot of children's books, she's not a prodigy, just a regular girl. Her voice rings pure and authentic, complete with childish snits, self-recrimination, and problem solving. She struggles with feelings of guilt over her mother's death and anger at her father's marriage to the obnoxious Molly.The one thing I don't get about TSSoSA is Molly. She certainly fills the role of evil stepmother incredibly well, money-grubbing and child-hating. However, I fail to see why Molly would ever have married Lorelei's dad. She obviously has expensive tastes and begrudges any money spent on the kids, but she married a poor man. Why? It really doesn't matter from a plot perspective, but I found myself musing on that a lot.When Splendid Academy pops up over night in their little town, Bryan and Lorelei desperately want to go, lured by the siren call of the coolest playground ever. Due to the convenient burning of the local school and the affordable nature of Splendid, they get to go. Not only that, but it turns out to be every child's dream, school days consisting solely of breakfast, lunch, snack times, and recesses. I think I'm getting old because instead of being even slightly envious, I kept worrying about how much their education would be set back if they survived Splendid and went back to public education.Also, I loved Andrew. He's Lorelei's only friend, the fattest boy in school. I feel like there are rarely fat people in fiction, and they are usually figures of mockery. Not so, Andrew. He does get mocked of course, children being terrible, vicious creatures (something Loftin does not flinch away from depicting), but he is obviously one of the best and smartest in the school. Even better, Andrew knows why he's overweight and is working on it, which has given him incredible self-control to the degree that he figures out what's going on at Splendid, having had to train himself not to pig out on food.TSSoSA is utterly charming. If you're looking for a wonderful fairy tale, look no further. Get yourself a big bag of M&Ms and start reading!

  • Bethany Ainsworth
    2019-03-18 03:08

    I think this book was amazing. I don't know if it's horror or not, but I marked it as such. (view spoiler)[I mean, killing kids, using their crushed up bones for sand, a knife with blood on it, pushing a principal into boiling water, the image of bones sticking out of skin, a little girl thinking she murdered her mother, and parents and a brother flat out abusing a girl? (hide spoiler)]That's pretty horrifying right there.The abusive stepmother trope is right there. (view spoiler)[You can't lock a girl up in her room and yell at her. You can't do that.Yes, Lorelei did 'poison' her classmates, but that was for a good cause. (hide spoiler)]The abusive part does come in. The dad and brother ignoring Lorelei, because she accidentally 'killed' her mother. (view spoiler)[It was so sad. She tugged on her mother's arms and she fell out of bed. The fall caused her bones to break and uh...caused her bones to poke through her skin. *shudders* (hide spoiler)]Despite that, it sounds like a accident. She didn't mean to do it, but her relatives shouldn't give her grief over it, by ignoring her. That's a asshole thing to do. She asked Bryan, her brother, to play hide and go seek with her, she went outside and he flat out ignored her for hours. What the hell Bryan? Yes, he did seem like he cared for her. (view spoiler)[After Andrew stuffed crumbled up child bones down Lorelei's throat, Bryan acted like he cared. He did give her crackers while she was locked in a goddamn room by Molly, the stepmother. (hide spoiler)]Anyway, the plot was good. No romance, thank goodness. A fat character? Yes please. It was portrayed realistically. Lorelei didn't turn her nose down at Andrew for being 'fat.' Yes, she did make fun of him, but that was because she was under a spell.It was a interesting retelling. (view spoiler)[Instead of an oven, she was shoved into a soup pot. Lorelei figured out she was going to get shoved in, so she pushed Principal Trapp in, instead. (hide spoiler)]Although Lorelei did act bratty, she had reasons because she's a sixth grader. She was under a spell and no one acted like they cared. Her dad does care.(view spoiler)[He grilled Molly for locking up Lorelei in a room. Blocked the window and the door. That is child abuse and a fire hazard. I was glad. (hide spoiler)]I pitied Lorelei and I don't regret it. I was worried for her and I wondered about the splinters. Blood can dissolve splinters.I have to agree with Andrew though. Forgiving yourself for something is the most strongest thing someone can do.I don't know if I like retellings of books. The book Splintered, a Alice in Wonderland retelling kind of ruined it for me. The book Cinder didn't really catch my interest. However this book kept me hooked, although it took me four days to read because I wanted a break from Sinister Scenes.I'll look into different retellings and see what happens. Maybe I'll even talk my dad into getting me some YA books and read those. Take a break from Child-Lit.Current Review: 8/28/17I still don't like the ending of Lorelei forgiving her family of the emotional abuse that they gave her, including Molly for essentially brainwashing Lorelei's dad.

  • Lexie
    2019-03-07 02:44

    This book helped remind me why I still adore middlegrade.It managed to be cute, sweet, genuinely emotional, and creepy, sometimes all within the span of a few pages. In a YA novel, that'd be almost bizarre; but in here? Not in the slightest. Children have such a fantastic array of emotions, and are so very capricious. They can switch from delighted to horrified to curious within the span of minutes. And they have this honest, black and white view of the world that has always fascinated me more than anything. At first, this tripped me up. While some of the characters were wonderful and real and intensely likable--Lorelei, Andrew, even Brian, despite his jerkiness--some of them seemed to be flatly evil, with no redeeming traits to speak of. But then I remembered something, something I suppose I'd forgotten in the many months between my last middlegrade read. I remembered that simply because Lorelei perceived these people as purely awful did not mean they were, in actuality, evil incarnate; it was simply how she saw them. Lorelei is not a little kid, but even at her age, children have this tendency to make things out in such a way that the world is easier to grasp. There are blacks and whites, rights and wrongs, but there are no shades of gray.I'd accepted this, so it came as a very, very pleasant surprise when Nikki Loftin showed me that Lorelei could see the shades of gray, at least a bit.Even those characters that should be completely despicable, the ones you know you're supposed to hate, root against, hope for their demise, etc., were not the evil, mustache-twirling (hair-twirling, since they're female?) villains that one might find in a middlegrade book for the younger ages. They were terrible, yes, and I was rooting for Lorelei to defeat them, yes, but there were these small moments, these small emotions, that made them so very real, despite the fantastic circumstances.I adored that. I adored every last character in here, but most of all, I adored Lorelei. She was sweet and troubled and determined and far, far better than most MCs you'll find in YA today. They could learn a thing or to from this girl, this eleven-year-old who loves her family and loves her friend and will do anything to save the people around her, no matter how they may act towards her. That's not the only thing I was fond of. I liked the writing, simple and smooth; I liked the plot, with its fast, even pacing that rushed me through this in less than a day; I liked the whole concept, completely creepy and completely original. Granted, I guessed the main plot within the first 30 pages, but I do not fall within this book's intended audience. I suspect that for the average 7-12 year old, the plot will be a wonderful mystery.More than all this, though, the characters made the story. Nikki Loftin has a real talent for creating characters that you can't help but love, and that, that guarantees I will read anything she writes, no matter the genre.4.5 stars, but I loved the characters enough that it's being rounded to 5.

  • Laura Jennings
    2019-03-22 05:53

    I think the thing that struck me the most about about this book was how fun it was. It was ridiculously fun, in a way that adults far too often disregard when writing for children. When you're a kid, adults are strange gods and weird tyrants, especially in landscapes twisted by emotional turmoil and social doubt. Far too many authors forget that kids still hanker for whimsy, and accept the ludicrous, because to kids, the ludicrousness of adults who ignore you, are emotionally distant, or don't bother to get you tested for dysgraphia is no less ludicrous than witches fattening kids up to eat them. Lorelei is a sympathetic character, but not pitiable. You root for her. The sort of school that makes no demands, gives you all the food you want, and lets you do whatever you want is an acknowledgement of the spoiled, bratty child in all of us adults in a consumerist-driven society.I also liked the subtle social commentary within the book. If you think the idea of school that gives out candy and asks their kids to balloon up is far-fetched a silly, you haven't been paying attention to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity overtaking the children of this country. Really, the institutions that encourage rampant "eat what makes you feel good" aren't schools: they're corporations. And when parents express bewilderment that they have no idea how their kid got so fat eating fast food and sugary snacks, it makes me laugh about as much as some of the more far-fetched scenarios in the book.I also have to say the author acknowledged the dark side of fairy tales. Long before fairy tales were sanitized, they definitely inhabited places of shadows, blood, and death. Fairy tales as metaphors for the abused and the lost act as golden threads in the labyrinth: the story teaches you how to survive the trek through dark woods with your spirit intact. Lorelei invokes the spirit of lonely latchkey kids, misunderstood populations and entire generations all too used to being left alone in single-parent households. Lorelei journeys towards redemption and confronts a truly dark, real-life truth. And considering the number of Moral Guardian writers who scold and shame the idea that children's literature have anything even remotely dark or controversial in it, I couldn't be more pleased that a fantasy novel manages it. (Fantasy, for some reason, is the genre LEAST allowed to be controversial.)The silliness of this book is its strength: it posits that the world ensnaring Lorelei and her fellow students is our world, insanity, magic and all. Children can and are aware that darkness exists, they just stand against it with a good deal more optimism than most adults. When the sanest voice around is just a kid, that's a pretty good message for the target audience.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-17 04:08

    Sinister Sweetness had some charm to it; I liked the overall concept and I enjoyed the fairytale references. I liked Andrew and I wished he had a bigger role to play, especially as the book went on and Lorelei began to be more annoying. Boy, was she annoying. She kept flipflopping between angst and arrogance (which I suppose is pretty accurate for that age group) and I stopped cheering for her as the protagonist and wished the book would end so that I could stop being in her head.Also, Lorelei had a few moments where I couldn’t believe what she had just said. There’s a comment about breast cancer in this book that is incredibly callous and my mouth fell open when I read it. Not only did it come across as if she was mocking Andrew or playing some sort of “my mother had worse cancer than your mother” card, but also acted as an immediate disconnection from the book. I don’t think anyone who has suffered from and/or knows someone who has suffered from breast cancer would appreciate Lorelei’s comment. And yeah, okay, she’s twelve or whatever, but Loftin was definitely not thinking that comment all the way through when she wrote it.I also didn’t like the way the ending line was basically Lorelei joking about how she would kill her stepmother if she didn’t behave. Yeah, that’s real funny.So, yes, the book had some charm, but it was mostly spoiled by Lorelei and her comments, as well as the melodramatic, over-the-top portrayal of the stepmother. I don’t like the “shallow, flighty, beauty-obsessed stepmother who doesn’t care about her stepchildren” and I get that Loftin was probably aiming for some fairytale-like bad stepmother persona, but I thought it was just over-the-top and tedious.Also, the part of me that worked in a chemistry lab for four years in college wanted to point out while reading that lots of things make flame turn blue, not just bone, and that it was quite the logical leap for Andrew to figure that out.Overall, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy had some nice, subtle fairy tale references and an overall good concept; I just didn’t like the execution. The portrayal of the stepmother was over the top, Lorelei was annoying and made some remarkably callous statements, and I had a number of other small problems with it, such as Andrew’s incredible logical leap and the murder joke at the end. Some charm, but in the end, tedious.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-07 05:55

    "Use your imagination, Lorelei, and your whole life can be a fairy tale."I've read Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy back in August. I know my review is splendidly late and my memory of the details in this book are blurry at most, but I could tell you that Sinister Sweetness is a unique, entertaining read.Actually, what stuck to me was the sand. Oh, of course the never ending Skittles supplies and any candy imaginable was quite sumptuous and heavenly to think about, but what I most remember was the part wherein Lorelei and Andrew ate the sand. Well, not exactly like that but they did eat the sand.OK, we're not getting anywhere. In all honesty, I would've incredibly enjoyed Sinister Sweetness if I've read it when I was a kid. Growing up as a strange kid, I loved everything chilly and spooky. I craved to read about witches, ghosts, and creepy entities. So really, this book would just be right up my alley. I know that's not fair since it's an MG book and I knew what I'm getting myself into but there are some MG books that can cater to both kids and adults-who-are-still-hang-up-on-reading-kids-book (like me!) . Basically, while this book would be enjoyable for adults, too, I think kids would devour this more. Sinister Sweetness doesn't shy away from being dark and creepy at times. Lorelei is an adorable kid although she's branded as quite the troublemaker and she carry this guilt inside of her that makes her a bit edgy. In the end though, her true character shined through. Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy doesn't just boast a gorgeous cover and one of the most longest and intriguing title I've ever seen, but it speaks volume about forgiveness and finding your true self in the most dreadful situations. This is Loftin's debut novel and I'm definitely looking forward to her future works, MG or not.I'm still hang up on this though: I can't believe that another type of almond in wrong mixtures and doses could produce cyanide, a deadly poison. But thanks for the heads-up, Nikki! This is review is also posted at Smitten over Books. Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Reading is my Escape
    2019-03-03 22:38

    Creepy reimagining of Hansel & Gretel   This book is creepy. I mean, I'm an adult and I was scared for Lorelei. She is a girl facing a great deal of sadness and guilt. We learn early on that her mother died last year and for some reason, Lorelei feels guilty about this. When a beautiful new school with an amazing playground suddenly appears, and their old school mysteriously burns down, Lorelei and her brother are enrolled at Splendid Academy. This school is unlike any school they have been to before. They are allowed to run in the halls, leave class whenever they want, don't have to raise their hands, and get to eat.... a lot. The school provides breakfast and lunch, and there is a bowl of candy at each student's desk that never goes empty. None of the students notice anything unusual, except for one overweight boy, Andrew. Andrew tries to convince Lorelei that something is wrong, but will she be able to see past her guilt to the truth, especially when the truth is so unbelievable? I remember every single child I've ever brought into my schools... They become a part of me.  - Chapter 3 A child's finger? Your imagination's running away with you, Lorelei. Focus. - Chapter 17 I'm not a cook; you know I'm just a kid. I never boiled water before in my life. - Chapter 26Lorelei is so sad and so alone. The new principal appeals to her loneliness and makes her feel warm and loved - she hasn't felt that way since her mother died. Lorelei wants to believe the principal is good, she needs to believe it. This book deals with so many serious issues and it is pretty dark. I enjoyed it and finished it quickly. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. This is a Grade 6-8 Sunshine State book. It seems a bit dreary to me and it may be frightening to some kids, so use your judgment. I would keep it more for the older range or kids who like dark fairy tales. It is well-written, fast-moving, and quite an original take on Hansel & Gretel. Recommended to:Grades 6 and up, readers who enjoy their fairy tales dark and creepy.  

  • Nafiza
    2019-03-02 23:39

    The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a middle grade novel which restructures fairy tale elements in a contemporary urban setting. When Lorelei, who has lost a mother and gained a stepmother, finds that a school has risen almost overnight in her neighborhood, she is intrigued. Then when her old school burns down under mysterious circumstances and she has a chance to go to the amazing school with its even more amazing playground, she is thrilled. Missing her mother and not understanding her father’s choice in a new wife, she cleaves almost immediately to the principal of her new school who seems to be everything Lorelei needs in a mother.The novel very interestingly takes bits from the Grimm fairy tales and bits from other folk tales to talk about excesses, materialism, peer pressure and inner strength. Seems heavy for such a slim volume, huh? But rather than being deliberately didactic, the novel imparts its message through narration of the story and the message can be gleaned (or not) by readers. Friendship is another theme in this novel and I really like that Loftin took an overweight kid, showed his misery and then made him cooler than the rest of his so-called classmates who were willingly led like sheep to slaughter. I also thought the witch characters were nicely individualized and deliciously sinister. Then there were the wait staff. The delicate fierceness and anger displayed by them won me over.Lorelei is a fantastic character. She is not flawless or preachy. She is spunky without being abrasive and she displays a lot of vulnerability which leads to some of her less than wise decisions. However, at the end of it all, she makes the right choice and that is all that is needed. The fairy tale bits are awesome and give the story a surreal sense that will alert younger readers to the fantastical nature of the novel and give them the distance they need to read this book without being scared of it. For older readers, this novel will be a treat; it will be a return to story-filled younger days where witches were evil and heroes saved many many lives. I recommend this book. Truly.

  • Meredith Burton
    2019-03-11 04:56

    I am a voracious devourer of fairy tale retellings, and since Hansel and Gretel is one of my favorite tales, I decided to give this book a chance. The lush food imagery had me salivating, (and the school is a children's paradise!) Well, seemingly so, anyhow.Lorelei is wracked by guilt. She blames herself for her mother's death, and her father and brother are so very distant. When Lorelei's father remarries and the school where she and Bryan attend mysteriously burns down, Lorelei is sent to a newly constructed charter school. Abundant food, a remarkably lenient form of discipline and strange behavior on the students' part arouse Lorelei's suspicions. But it is only when she meets Andrew, an outcast, does she begin to suspect that the too good to be true school harbors malevolence too horrifying to contemplate.I enjoyed Lorelei's voice, although there were times that her personality semed inconsistent. In fact, the students, (with the exception of Andrew), were very unlikable. I understand the author's reasons for this, but I was disturbed by the relationship between Lorelei and her brother. Despite this fact, the novel was riveting, and Loftin cleverly weaves elements from Hansel and Gretel into a contemporary setting very effectively. The main villain was manipulative and frightening, but she was oddly empathetic as well.The shining aspect of this novel is its examination of guilt and forgiveness. Lorelei's guilt is palpable, and I felt sorry for her. However, I was so angry at her father and brother's attitudes that I had trouble with their characters. So my reading was inhibited a bit by them. I do think that Lorelei's journey toward self-forgiveness was well done and believable.All in all, Ms. Loftin's retelling of Hansel and Gretel is a fun read that might give you some pleasant shivers. While I enjoyed it, I definitely recommend the first book I read by her even more. That book was entitled Nightingale's Nest. God bless you all.

  • P.J.
    2019-02-23 22:53

    I'll admit I've been in a bit of a slump when it comes to middle grade reading. Maybe I've gotten pickier? Maybe I just haven't found the right books? But when I managed to snag an ARC of fellow-Austinite Nikki Loftin's debut novel, I started it and fell absolutely in love! And as it turns out, today is Nikki's release day, so please help me offer up congratulations for her and her amazing novel!THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Nikki Loftin (Razorbill , August 21, 2012)Five quick things about THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY:1) It's middle grade. And even though I've mentioned I've had a hard time recently finding books I love in this category, this one completely proved me wrong. The funniest thing is that about a year ago Nikki and I were having just this conversation...about how finding middle grade that really hooks the reader is hard. And Nikki said, "wait for my book."I love that she was right!2) It's a Hansel & Gretel retelling set in today's world. And with this retelling and the many references to food in the novel, I will be thinking about eating sticks of butter and crab shells forever. But in a good way :)3) It's creepy and cool and clever and unique. Truly, this novel takes a story from ages ago, sets it in our world, not at a boarding school, with parents around and everything, and makes it such a treat to read.4) Don't let the title scare you. It took me many a try to remember even what it was.5) It's amazing! A fun read that will keep you turning pages until the very last minute! And late into the night. And while you are eeking out your last few days of summer at the pool. Grab this book. Read it. And then pass it on to kids you know!I gobbled this one up just like the kids gobbled food in the story. And I loved every minute of it. Highly recommended for boys and girls (seriously, both will love it), third grade and up.Source of book: From publisher by request

  • tarawrawr
    2019-03-05 05:48

    Review originally posted http://bookalicious.org/2012/08/revie...The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin was a fun and engaging, and incredibly magical, middle grade story from the get-go. It had so many elements of my favourite middle grade story – magical settings, mystery and intrigue, and an awesome protagonist.This might be slightly off topic, but first of all, I LOVE the title – The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. I think it does a great job of setting up the tone of the book and it’s just one of those titles that I love saying to myself. Plus, the cover is awesome. It’s the kind of cover that even my boyfriend thinks is amazing.I honestly loved Lorelei, the protagonist. She was a little hard to connect with at certain points – especially in the beginning, but I was rooting her on and cheering for her throughout all of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. I love a headstrong and determined protagonist and Lorelai definitely had those qualities.And the story of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy! I love retellings that still have their own unique twist on the fairy tale and I thought Nikki Loftin did a fantastic job. I could definitely feel the Hansel and Gretel inspiration while reading The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, but it also did an amazing job of standing by itself.In a nutshell – I loved The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin. It’s a beautifully written tale with magic, mystery, and intrigue, not to mention a protagonist to root for. If you’re a fan of middle grade stories, be sure to grab a copy of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. With a cover like that, and a story so magical, how can you resist?

  • WTF Are You Reading?
    2019-03-14 02:55

    This may be a middle grade read, but it is a tale with real bite. It seems as though life has not been going very well for Lorelie Robinson; with the death of her mother, her father's remarriage to "Molly", and her school mysteriously burning down. Just when she thinks that things are strictly downhill, along comes Principal Trapp and Splendid Academy.With a playground straight out of a fairytale and a curriculum that seems to be focused on friends, feeding, and fun rather than reading and writing; you would think that Lorelei would be over the moon.You would be wrong.DEAD WRONG!There is something very sinister going on at Splendid Academy, and it's up to Lorelei and her friend Andrew to find out what.This is a cautionary tale that reminds young and old readers alike that "if something seems too good to be true...it probably is".This novel is dripping enough suspense to keep the most grown of 'grown-ups' turning pages for hours. At the same time, the vibrant imagery, kid-friendly writing style and great illustrations will capture the hearts and minds of younger readers.One of the things that sets this book apart from the pack in terms of stories aimed at a mid-grade audience is the fact that there are no clearly BAD characters in this read. There are characters who do bad things, but the reasons for their actions are explained, leaving the reader to make the final judgement as to the overall goodness or badness of the person in question.The exploration of character motive at the mid-grade level is a wonderful change from the status quo of spoon fed black and white plots.Throughout this tale, Lorelei and the reader are encouraged to trust their feelings about situations rather than going with the flow.This is an excellent story of friendship, forgiveness, self-reliance, intelligence, and the transcendent power of love.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-02 04:55

    I'm not one who just throws out 5 star ratings. Most of the time I really do find something that I don't quite like about a book or wish they did more of. So by giving this book a top rating I'm hoping more classrooms or people in general will take a look at this one.A current problem that many kids are having to face today is bulling or hazing. And while there are many pieces of literature out there about this topic, I feel that many of those books go by the wast side. Not because they don't talk about the topic in away that could relate to the intended audiences, but how many of use really want to pick up a book that tells us something like it truly is. Personal I hate those books, they make me so uncomfortable that I try to stay away from them as much as possible. But what if we had a book like this that comes clean with the fact that a main character has to deal with fat shaming and or bulling. This would be a great way to bring up the topic. A way that a teacher or group leader could bring this up is by formulating a question like; how does the main characters deal with the issue of bulling, then make time to talk about it in the class. Simple enough, but even for this adult I fond it hard when confronted with this discussion. To be honest it's not an easy thing to talk about and thus why I have to give Ms. Loftin her moment for putting it in the book. This book, while it is a retelling of a classic fairy tale, still brings current social stigmas to the surface. I would really like to see this book in more mid school classrooms as an option for students to read. It gives teachers the opportunity to have an open discussion with their students about a topic that many of use find taboo.

  • Jasmine Rose
    2019-03-20 04:39

    The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is a super cute, fun take on Hansel and Gretel.First of all, Hansel and Gretel is my favorite fairytale so I had pretty high hopes for The Sinister Sweetness and Loftin didn’t disappoint. I love the idea of using school breakfast and lunch to fatten kids up. Not to mention the never-ending bowls of candy and two snacks a day. It’s so much more relevant than a house made out of cooky (I kid you not, that’s what it said in an old H&G version I once read) just randomly sitting there in the middle o the woods. I’d be all over a heaping plate of my mother-in-law’s vegetarian meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy if it was just plopped in front of me with the encouragement to “eat, eat, eat!” Yeah, I’d like to think I’d be as plucky and brave as Lorelei, but I don’t think I could possibly resist all my favorite foods.Though I loved the story over all, Lorelei’s refusal to think Principal Trapp could be bad drove me nuts. It got to the point where I actually started rolling my eyes at the story. I know there was the fact that her mom was gone so she was looking for another loving mom-like figure, but still.The Nutshell: If you want a quick, fun, fairy-tale like middle grade, then The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is for you. Loftin does a good modern take on Hansel and Gretel that’s definitely worth the read.Hit

  • babyhippoface
    2019-02-22 22:45

    What is there to dislike about a school with an amazing playground, teachers that allow you to leave class and ignore schoolwork without consequence, regular snacks in addition to massive breakfast and lunch feasts, and bottomless dishes of candy at each desk? Nothing at all, for most students of Splendid Academy.Lorelei is mesmerized by nearly every aspect of the school until a boy named Andrew shares a dire warning: the food is addictive. Not just, "Boy, that's really good, I wish I had some more," addictive, but literal, "cannot stop stuffing my face full of this delicious food" addictive. And that's only the beginning of the strangeness that lives at Splendid. The more Lorelei and Andrew discover about Splendid Academy and its teachers, the more frightened they become. Is that really sand on the playground, or something much creepier? Is there a chance that there is something sinister behind all the high-calorie, high-sugar, constantly-available menu items? Could their creepy teacher Ms. Morrigan really be a witch who is fattening up the students in preparation for a feast? Could it possibly be true? I can practically guarantee that the foreshadowing in this thriller will keep kids up reading well past their bedtimes. It did me.