Book Review: Sweetly

Fairytale Retellings #2; Companion Book to Sisters Red
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: August 2011
Source: Owned by Reviewer
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound

I've mentioned it before: I always judge a book by its cover. When I came across Sisters Red I couldn't pass it up. Plain and simple. The cover was just too cool (if you haven't seen it check it out and see if you see the wolf hiding) and the idea of putting a new spin on fairytales is always intriguing to me. Jackson Pearce has a youthful voice and, in both Sisters Red and Sweetly, she has taken well-known fairytales and given them a uniquely scary spin. I am a fan of her style and love the grittiness of her fairytale world. When Sweetly was released it was a no-brainer, I had to run out and get it.

Sweetly is the retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I LOVE Hansel and Gretel! The idea of a candy house in the woods had me and my childhood friends on a constant search, and we were always confident we could kick some witch arse and then commence with the feast. Pearce starts her book the same way any adventurous kids would start theirs-- by exploring the woods, but these kids are not out for candy, they are in search of an elusive witch from a book. Ansel, Gretchen, and her twin, Abigail, enter the woods, but only Ansel and Gretchen emerge after an encounter with the "witch". In both Sweetly and Sisters Red, the scary prologue is my favorite part. It is so close to the fairytales we grew up reading and retelling, but with Jackson's voice and always with a little spin.

Ansel and Gretchen are eager to leave behind the memories of their past and that fateful day in the forest when they lost their sister. So they head for balmy South Carolina. After a car break- down in the small town of Live Oak, their plans change. Cars are expensive to repair, and, oh yes, they end up in a candy cottage in the woods with a gorgeous . . . well I assumed she was a witch, but with Pearce you never know until she wants you to. Ansel and Gretchen are extended some southern hospitality by the town's candy shop owner, Sophia Kelly as she offers them a place to stay, and work for Ansel. Hormones rise and Ansel finds himself attracted to Sophia, the candy shop owner. It's a small town full of mystery and Gretchen finds herself digging through her past as well as the pasts of girls, like her twin, who have disappeared. I've saved the best for last-- Samuel Reynolds (insert *sighs*), an elusive outsider in Live Oak, changes Gretchen forever as they work together to find out where the girls have disappeared to and why Sophia Kelly might have as many secrets as Gretchen.

Need I say more? (Possible) Witches. Candy. Hot outsiders. Fairytales. Did I mention candy? Could there be a better recipe for a deliciously entertaining read?

Summary from Goodreads:

SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.

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.


  1. Great review! I loved Sweetly also--you just never knew where it was going next!

    Did you see that Pearce has a third Fairy Tale Retelling coming out in 2012? It's called Fathomless and is a retelling of The Little Mermaid:

  2. OOO, I love the Little Mermaid (the original more than the Disney version) so I am excited to see what Jackson will do with it. I still need to read Sweetly. Great review, Tiffany!


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