Published by Little, Brown
Date Published: August 23, 2011
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.Wow. Another win for Jackson Pearce. By now, she must walk on water. I honestly was blown away by Sweetly. She definitely knows how to tell a story. Or re-tell it rather :P
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.
If you've read Sisters Red, you know Sweetly is a companion novel. Though none of the SR characters crossover, you get to meet siblings, which, I'm sure the girls would agree, is just as swoon-worthy as Silas was. There were also a lot of character/story similarities when comparing the two novels. Both start off with conflict right out of the gate. There's no sugar coating it. That comes later. In SR, we learn why Scarlett and Rosie believe so strongly in what they fight for. In Sweetly, you get the very same, but it feels a little different. Gretchen and Ansel are running from their past, not fighting for it. And that, by no means, is a bad thing. They stood and fought when the time came to be brave. Where Scarlett's scars were on her exterior, Gretchen's were easily stashed away and hidden inside her. She didn't want to forget what happened, but it was the easiest way to start a new life away from it all.
Now enough about comparing the two, let's talk just about Sweetly for a moment. I absolutely loved it! It was a very fast-paced, creepy, edge-of-your-seat, thrilling ride of a book! I didn't think it would live up to Sisters Red, but it really did. Now, I personally have never read the actual Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel. Shocking, maybe, but everyone knows the story by heart anyways. Sweetly was a beautifully dark and twisted take on the story. The emotional range was ridiculous. There were sweet and cutesy moments followed by terror and sadness.
I loved the characters in this! Maybe I'm biased, but I feel for Gretchen and the loss of her twin sister. I loved seeing a close brother-sister relationship between Gretchen and Ansel. I am quite close to my twin brother and I love seeing stories that portray that kind of closeness rather than just being blood-related or only children. Speaking of great characters, Sophie. Sophie is so unassuming at first and she grows into so much more. The layers were peeled back every chapter and once you thought you finally knew her, you were completely wrong. Now for Samuel. He is the brother of Silas Reynolds from SR and I think he'll be a bigger hit with girls than Silas was. He has this bad boy, motorcycle riding persona that girls are drawn to and I loved getting to know his story as it went along. Every character developed so well. Oh, and Gretchen is a BAMF. Though, she may not seem like it at first.
Sweetly is a mouth-watering read that doesn't sugarcoat the supernatural.
PS: When you read this, and you should, make sure you have some candy nearby. You will get cravings.