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Bending the Spine

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

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.

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Little, Brown
url: http://www.sweetlynovel.com/
series: Fairytale Retellings #2
It is way past my bed time.  I should be asleep.  I should have been asleep a couple hours ago.  But Sweetly hooked me and I had to stay up and finish the book and write the review while I am still reeling from it.  Yes, it is that good.

My wife has been a huge fan of Jackson Pearce.  Subscribed to her YouTube channel and all that.  I honestly had never heard of her until Rebecca said that she was going to drive to Alpharetta, GA, to the release party for Sweetly.  So, I looked the book up and realized that I had to read this.  No questions, just read.  I bought it and never looked back.

Whiney characters get on my nerves.  It seems that YA lit is full of whiney teenage girls who mope about how crappy their lives are.  Gretchen is not one of those girls.  She is whiney, but she’s had a hard life and so it’s justifiable.  She puts her big girl panties on and grows up once in Live Oak, SC (is that really a place?  I’m gonna have to Google that one…).  There is so much growth in her character, more than most in her situation.  Ansel, who has always been Gretchen’s rock, comes back to planet Earth once they get settled in at Sophie’s chocolatier.  He has some changes happen, too, and makes him all the more endearing.

Things aren’t right with Sophia.  And Pearce is abundantly clear in the way she writes that Sophia has a secret.  And boy is it a doosie.  Ok, so she’s got several, and you’ll just have to read to find out what they are.  You’ll feel bad for her, and you’ll hate her.  I love when an author creates a character that I don’t have to like all the time.  It makes the whole story seem more real.  Kudos, Ms. Pearce.

So, I read Sweetly in about two sittings.  It flowed nicely and quickly.  There were some slow parts, usually when there was character building and such, but when the action happened… man!  You better be prepared to hold your breath and take short breaks to get some oxygen to your brain, because there were several times I just couldn’t breathe!

There is so much awesomeness contained within Sweetly that writing a review without spoilers has been difficult.  Suffice it to say, this is on my Best of 2011 shelf.  Now go out and buy it!

tree  treetreetreetree
5 Trees: Wickedly awesome.  A sweet read.

Get to reading,

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