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Book Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Title: Sweetly  
Author: Jackson Pearce
Series: Fairytale Retellings #2
Pages: 312
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Date of Publication: 4th October 2011
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved Sisters Red when I read it last year, so I was really excited to get reading this one. It most definitely didn't disappoint!

This book is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. It's similar to the fairy tale, but not in a way that it's easy to predict what will happen towards the end, which can sometimes happen with retellings. I knew vaguely what was going to happen, but I had no idea how it would happen.

I really enjoyed the plot of the book. I loved how it was set up that Gretchen and her brother believed almost religiously that the thing that took their sister was a witch, and that they thought that there was no way it could have been anything else. It was really interesting to find out what it actually was and I was pleasantly surprised to find and recognise some links between this book and Sisters Red. Because this is more of a companion novel than a series, I wasn't expecting any links at all, so that was great.

I also really like the characters. I thought they were very three dimensional and Jackson really managed to hide their 'other' sides really well. I particularly loved Sophia. She seemed so sweet and caring and just in need of a friend, but throughout the book, you began to realise and notice her darker side more and more. Her relationship with Ansel was also really cute - I loved how devoted they were to each other, and how they were always there for each other, especially when times were really hard for them. They were just so adorable!

I liked Gretchen too. I admire her for her strength - how on earth she managed to try to save all the girls while at the same time being terrified AND shooting the witches, I have no idea. She was brave and determined, and I really enjoyed reading from her point of view. I loved her relationship with Samuel too, (all the romance in this book was really sweet... ;p ) it was awesome how at first they didn't really like each other, and then gradually they grew to like, and even love each other.

Another aspect of the book that I really liked was the history of the town. The town that the book takes place in, Live Oak, is slowly dying, but it was full of history. There's a scene where Gretchen goes and looks around a museum in the town just to take her mind off the crazy things that were going on in her life, and I loved how Jackson incorporated a story of just an old pair of boots worn by a significant figure of the town into the plot, and she effortlessly managed to make it feel like that scene wasn't just a filler, that it actually had some significance and importance to the plot, which I don't think it did (I mean, I'm glad it's there, but it would have made sense without it, you know? ;) )

Overall, I really enjoyed Sweetly. The plot was action packed and full of suspense, and once I'd properly gotten into the story, I was really hooked. The only thing I will say is that the beginning was quite slow for me - some bits of it felt a little unrealistic, but apart from that I really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to all fans of young adult paranormal, especially if you like stories that involve lots of chocolate and secret gun-shooting lessons ;)

*I'd like to say a huge thanks to Hachette for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #47
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #86


  1. I truly can't wait to give this one a try! I keep hearing great things about it, but my friend warned me to have sweets ready before I start, since apparently you get in the mood for it. ;) Lol! So, I'm taking that advice. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Great review. :)

    Rebecca from Kindle Fever


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