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REVIEW: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce


As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch 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.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.

About the Author

Jackson Pearce is the author of Sisters Red and As You Wish. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316068659
SOURCE:  Around the World ARC Tours


***slight spoilers***

In this new retelling of Hansel and Gretel (my first two dachshunds!), Jackson Pearce keeps the witch, adds some werewolves and a bit of creepiness that will really make you want to devour this. Ansel and his sister Gretchen have been thrown out by their stepmother when Gretchen turns 18 and they leave to drive as far as their car will take them.  The car breaks down in Live Oak, SC where they find a job with the local candy maker, Sophia.  It is rumored that she infuses her chocolate with magic and has a chocolate festival each year that leads the disappearance of teen girls.  Gretchen still fearing the "witch" that stole her twin years ago is sensing the same activity here.

Sam,  a local, is very vocal about the disappearing girls and blames Sophia.  Ansel and Gretchen get drawn into Sophia's world and can't imagine that she has anything to do with it until a seashell turns up on her doorstep and Gretchen finds it.  It gets increasingly spooky as Gretchen finds more clues and hooks up with Sam who gives her even more answers about what is happening in the small town which he blames rightly on the Fenris.  The Fenris  (werewolves) first appear in Sisters Red, which will add to this book, but it is not required to fully enjoy this one.  I love these fairy tale mash ups and Jackson Pearce takes them to a whole new level with keeping the theme of werewolves believable and incredibly threatening through out while remaining true to the original story of Hansel and Gretel.

1 comment:

  1. Great scary cover. Sounds like a fresh new look at a familiar tale, and worth a read.


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