Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Published August 23rd 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sweetly is the second book in Jackson Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings. These books are perfectly readable in any sequence you prefer, and yet she still managed to bind these books together through certain recurring themes instead of recurring characters.
One day, Gretchen’s twin sister gets caught by a witch, never to be found again. From that moment she feels like she’s missing a part of her. Her parent’s can’t deal with it either and wither away. Ten years later she finds herself in the middle of nowhere with her brother and a broken down car. They are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker that owns a shop just out of town. But things aren’t what they seem in Live Oak, and girls keep disappearing every year.
This is the second book I’ve read by Ms Pearce (Sisters Red being the first) and from these books I get the very strong impressing that family is a big source of inspiration for her. In Sweetly there is a heavy emphasis on family ties, brothers and sisters, and twins in particular. In Sisters Red I had a very hard time relating to the main characters because of their fixations with siblings. I was glad I didn’t have the same issue with Sweetly. Gretchen and her brother Ansel have a very natural relationship, and I had no problem at all understanding their bond.
Pearce’s writing is so effortless and quick, I very much enjoyed reading it. In the first half nothing really happens, it’s mainly just about introducing the characters, setting the scene, getting engaged with the mystery. I didn’t mind the slow start, for me the pages just flew by. It was just what I needed to get out of a slump.
The best thing about this book is the chances Ms Pearce takes with it. There is sex, love, death. It’s all in there, yet it’s still appropriate for a younger audience. She has a great way of dealing with taboo subjects, I especially thought she handled the sex issue very well. The characters aren’t standard either – a certain person you will both hate and love by the end of the book.
Sweetly is a great book that I enjoyed reading. It has werewolves, witches, and a boy that knows his way around a gun. I definitely recommend it, as long as you keep some chocolates handy in case you get hungry.
As a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.
Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
- Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Broken by Kelley Armstrong (4/5 Stars)
- Review: The Trouble With Spells by Lacey Weatherford (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Katana by Cole Gibsen (3.5/5 Stars)