Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: Sweetly, by Jackson Pearce

I really loved Sweetly. It was easy to read, the story kept my interest, and whoa -- the ending.

Poor Gretchen and Ansel. They loose their sister (Gretchen's twin) in the woods. She is taken by a "witch." After that, their parents are so heartbroken that their mother dies, their father remarries and then dies, and their step mom throws them out.

So they decide to go across country to the ocean to escape their haunted past and to start a new life. Their car breaks down, and they end up in Live Oak, South Carolina. The chocolatier, Sophia, takes them in so that Ansel can work to pay for car repairs. They are so happy helping Sophia that they decide to stay for a while. Both Gretchen and Ansel seem to begin to heal and their fears of witches, and in particular the woods, seem to be dissipating.

But, what's up? We get very subtle hints that everything isn't quite right with Sophia. The clues really kept me guessing (and frantically turning pages.) That's the best part of this book. Pearce writes in layers, so that on the surface, everything seems idyllic, but there's a sinister underlayer that is revealed bit by bit. Maybe Live Oak isn't such a safe place after all.

Samuel, the strange boy from town, ends up befriending and helping Gretchen figure out the mystery. The very slow development of their relationship is also a pleasure to read.

The ending is gruesome. It really surprised me (in a good way) because the rest of the book was relatively tame. Things end up really torn apart, but the loose ends are tied up, and the mystery is solved.

This is a great fairy tale adventure for teens, and I will happily recommend this to many of them.

Published by Little, Brown, August 23, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
310 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. This sounds like a fantastic book! I'm going to add it to my TBR list right now. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

  2. I have this one on my bookcase, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I really like fairy tale retellings and have heard great things about the author. Thanks for reminding me to pick up the book!

  3. I liked how this story subtly built the tension and the "wrongness" of the "witch". Great review.

  4. I adore Jackson's writing, and Sweetly was a brilliant read. Fabulous, thoughtful review, Annette :)

  5. Have you read Sisters Red? This is a companion novel to SR (although you don't actually have to have read SR first to completely understand this one) and I LOVED SR. Sweetly was good, but I did like SR more. Great review though! Yay for fairy tale retellings!


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