YA Paranormal (Modernized Fairy Tale)
Available now (August 2011)
Review copy purchased
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.
Positive: Slowly, deeply haunting. There are so many secrets. Layers upon layers of secrets. Everyone’s rotten with them, despite the pretty, sugary coating. Gretchen and Ansel are tied together with the loss of their sister and the secret behind it (Was it really a witch who took their sister? Or something far worse?). Sophia’s quite a puzzle and, for quite a long time, I wasn’t sure if she was good or bad or what. Hoping for the best as I read, I enjoyed delving into her character as much as Gretchen’s. Even the slowly-dying town of Live Oak has its own haunting secrets, just waiting to be uncovered.
Positive: Sugar rush. Oh my gosh–I had such a craving for sweeties while I was reading this book! I wanted Sophia’s truffles, chocolate gingerbread men, candied oranges…yum.
Positive: The connection to SISTERS RED. It wasn’t obvious at first but, as we progressed and delved deeper and deeper into the forest, the connection wiggles its way into the forefront and even sets up Pearce’s next book, FATHOMLESS.
Wish: A bit more action. There was an amazing ending (which, of course, I’m not going to tell you about!) but I think I was spoiled with the action and hunting in SISTERS RED.
Overall: A creative twist on a classic fairy tale, SWEETLY leads its readers into a deep, dark forest filled with monsters and deception-filled treats and no promises of an easy path home.
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