Monday, 31 October 2011

Review for Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 6th October 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy-tale Re-telling, Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch-like monster 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. When their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out as teens, they stumble upon a sleepy Southern town and are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly at her sweet shop. Sophia moulds candied magic: coveted treats that inspire confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel finally start to forget their haunted past - until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel, who gives Gretchen a reason to fear Sophia: girls have been vanishing at Sophia's annual chocolate festival, taken by the insatiable 'witch' of Gretchen's nightmares. Can Gretchen save herself, the girls of Live Oak, and Sophia? Of one thing, Gretchen is certain: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry."

I’ve been pining for Sweetly ever since I first heard about it, what with THAT cover and THAT synopsis, that the story of Hansel and Gretel has to be one of my favourite fairy tales, and that Jackson Pearce and the first book in this series Sisters Red are made of awesome. With Halloween approaching I thought “A story about witches and candy? This has got to be the most perfect Halloween read!” and now that I’ve finished this book I’m happy to say I was right!

What I love most about Jackson’s books is that she strips fairy tales of their princesses, princes and happily ever afters and gives us a dark, gritty, fairy tale the way they were told in the good old days. And even though she stays true to the originals roots and the story’s morals she also makes them completely her own and brings something fresh and modern to the table so that every time I pick up one of her books it’s like I’ve never heard the story before. Think you know the Hansel and Gretel story? Think again.

Although the book is about brother and sister Ansel and Gretchen, Sweetly is told strictly from Gretchen’s point of view and I immediately connected with her as our heroine. Twelve years before the main story starts Gretchen loses her twin sister in the forest surrounding their home to a witch. Not only is she traumatized after being in such a situation but she and Ansel are also silently blamed by their mother and father for losing their sister. Gretchen hides behind books and other people’s stories to escape from her own life and the guilt she feels at being the surviving sister. I loved Gretchen so much and found her to be such an inspiring heroine as throughout the book she grows stronger and becomes so much more than that scared little girl we meet at the beginning. Gretchen’s a fantastic role model when it comes to facing your fears and I loved following her journey.

Sweetly is only a companion novel to Sisters Red but regardless I thought the stories tied together very nicely developing the world further for a possible sequel or second companion novel. Above all I was most impressed with Sweetly’s plot and the many twists and turns that Jackson throws at us. I loved the mystery surrounding Sophia and I felt so many things towards her whilst reading, sometimes I loved her, sometimes I hated her, something I felt sorry for her and sometimes I was even scared of her- that’s a lot of feelings for just one character! The mystery of the missing girls and the strange compulsion of the chocolatier made for a deliciously creepy read that suited my Halloween mood perfectly.

I was completely surprised by this books ending. I was gripped to this book from the start but the last half of the book I absolutely raced through I was so desperate for answers to the many mysteries and they didn’t disappoint! The only thing that made this book less than perfect for me - if I’m being picky - was the romance. I would have liked just a little more chemistry between Gretchen and Samuel but that aside I really can’t fault it. Sweetly is a delicious treat and probably the best fairy tale re-telling that I’ve read. Highly recommended.

1 comment :

  1. Dying to read this one, shall be the first book I read once all of my British author books are finished.


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