Format: Hardcover, 312 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural
Published August 23, 2011 by Little Brown
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating: 5 out of 5
I believe I may have a new Jackson Pearce favorite.Goodreads Summary:
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.
Admittedly, she's only published 3 books (that I know of) but even though they're all fabulous in their own way, I really really really loved this one. It's one of those rare books when I really had no idea where it would go, kept me second guessing, and the conclusion was 100% satisfying.
Sweetly is the second book in the Fairy Retelling series after Sisters Red. Although there is a completely new protagonist and storyline, you see some familiar names and creatures from Sisters Red. Pearce creates a world and story that you think you already know, and then changes it into something more beautiful than the original, and yet still recognizable. And not gonna lie, the candy descriptions had me drooling lol.
Often with Young Adult books these days, I feel like the main focus on the book is the romance. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact I ADORE books with romance and swoony boys (I'm a teenage girl, sue me). But I thought it was very refreshing that in Sweetly the romance was a little off to the side, and the growth of Gretchen's character and self confidence was front and center. Gretchen starts off as a meek girl who is controlled by her fear of the past and the unknown, to an independent, bold, and adventurous young woman.
What I loved most about Sweetly was how the author doesn't paint Sophie as an outright, evil villain; even though being a chocolatier, she falls in the "evil witch" role of this fairytale. Throughout the book, I was always wondering whether she was genuinely sweet, or was it all an act. I loved how she, and all the other characters, are all multi-dimensional and dynamic and change throughout the book.
I cannot really express how much I loved the ending without spoiling it... but I really loved it. It was satisfying, but bittersweet. I was a little sad to let these characters go, but to sum it up, the ending had everything I look for in an ending. It also redefined my definition of happily ever after.
I am eagerly waiting for Jackson Pearce's future works, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. As a slightly irrelevant note, Jackson Pearce is also hilarious on Youtube and Twitter, and she is giving away an ARC of Purity when her video about the loneliest whale in the world reaches 5,000 views, so you should go check out her and her books :)