by Jackson Pearce
Published August 23rd 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.
Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I freaking love fairytale retellings, and I must say, Jackson Pearce has done great job with this retelling! I loved it! I enjoyed Sisters Red, but it's got nothing on this book.
I love how Pearce takes these nice little fairy tales that we all know and love from our childhood and then adds her own little dark spin on it. It makes for quite an addicting read, that's for sure. If you're expecting some light, fluffy innocent read, then think again because this book is intense. It's got characters who have experienced some seriously messed up problems, action, and mystery--boy does it have mystery! I was up reading into the wee hours of the night trying to figure out just what the "truth" was.
I can definitely see how this is a companion book to Sisters Red. You don't have to read one right before the other, but they both happen in the same world and deal with fenris. Pearce's spin on the witch in the story was really creative and totally unexpected.
As for the characters in this book, I really enjoyed the motley gang, especially Gretchen. She starts out as a scared girl, but seeing her evolution through the book into someone so strong and fearless was awesome. I really enjoyed how despite all the fairytale elements in the book and in Gretchen's life, she was still very real and relateable!
This book combines so many elements that I want in a good read; a little bit of fantasy, some fairytale elements, great characters, suspense (trust me, it's got a lot of that!), and romance. Okay, maybe I wouldn't mind if there was a little more romance... but that's just me. Regardless it was still a great read.
And, OH! That cover! Is anyone else experiencing some serious cover love? I am in love with the whimsical/semi-creepy look! I think I might like it even more than I do the cover of Sisters Red!
Bottom Line: You should read this book. And believe me, this book will leave you wanting more retellings from Jackson Pearce. I really hope she decides to write another one!