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Sweetly
Cover of Sweetly
Sweetly
Fairytale Retelling Series, Book 2
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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,...
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,...
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Description-

  • 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 its 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 graduated from the University of Georgia, where she received a bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in philosophy. She's always been a writer, but she's had other jobs along the way, such as obituaries writer, biker-bar waitress, and receptionist. She once auditioned for the circus but didn't make it. Jackson is the author of Fathomless, Purity, Sweetly, Sisters Red, and As You Wish. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a spacey dog and a slightly cross-eyed cat. Her website is www.jacksonpearce.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 13, 2011
    Pearce returns to the world of Sisters Red in this twist on "Hansel and Gretel." Ansel and Gretchen Kassel are survivors. A yellow-eyed witch stole Gretchen's twin sister years ago while the children were exploring the forest, and ever since, brother and sister have lived with guilt and the certain knowledge that the witch will return. After their father dies and their stepmother turns them out, Ansel and Gretchen head east, getting stranded in Live Oak, S.C., when their car breaks down. The locals seem hostile except for Sophia Kelly, proprietor of a sweet shop in the woods. Ansel is enamored, but Gretchen can't quite let down her guard. Her fears are justified when she sees yellow eyes in the woods again, 3,000 miles from home. The story revisits several themes from Sisters Red, including sibling bonds and betrayals, the loss of childhood innocence, and the sharp teeth of the big, bad world. Gretchen is a more nuanced character than the earlier book's Scarlett or Rosie, and her relationship with Ansel doesn't suffer quite as much from the trials they face together. Ages 15–up.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2011

    An uneven retelling of "Hansel and Gretel" swaps witches for werewolves.

    Eighteen-year-old Gretchen and her older brother Ansel are on their own after their father dies. Still mourning his death and the disappearance of Gretchen's twin sister, who went missing when they were little, the siblings end up in the town of Live Oak, where they meet Sophia, a lonely chocolate maker. She offers to take them in, and they both fall a little in love with her. Gretchen can't understand why the townspeople hate Sophia so much—until she learns that local girls disappear every year after Sophia's annual chocolate festival. Gretchen becomes determined to find out the truth and discovers the candy maker is hiding a secret that concerns a lost sister of her own and a covert pack of werewolves in the nearby woods. Gretchen must confront both the wolves and her troubled past to escape Sophia's needy reach. Though the concept is clever, bumpy transitions, sluggish pacing and lackluster prose stifle the story's potential. The introduction of the werewolves comes suddenly and without explanation, and no one in Live Oak seems to have any knowledge of them except Gretchen's new boyfriend Samuel. Readers may also be unprepared for the bloody, brutal ending, which is an abrupt change from the rest of the novel's moody, introspective tone.

    Not Pearce's best. (Fantasy. 14 & up) 

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2011

    Gr 7 Up-What makes this title different from other books involving werewolves and modern teens? Perhaps it's that the protagonists have left the woods in Washington State for the woods of South Carolina. Or maybe it's that they're named Ansel and Gretchen, which is supposed to remind us of Hansel and Gretel, but doesn't really. Instead of an old crone in a house made of candy, there's a nubile young beauty who is a chocolatier, which maybe reminds us of a movie entitled Chocolat, and whose goods seem to have interesting psychological effects on those who consume them. It's probably unnecessary to say that Ansel falls under her spell. The witch doesn't eat him, though. Or any other humans. She leaves that to the werewolves. Thank goodness that Gretchen befriends a young man who's been living in the slave quarters of a nearby former plantation because he knows how to kill werewolves and he teaches Gretchen so they can go hunting together. That's romantic, too. This is more of a mash-up of the fairy tale and some recent best sellers than a reframing of the story in a deep Southern setting, and Pearce's writing is too long on breathlessness and suppressed anguish and too short on actual plot. Will any of this pull readers in? Make them want to read 300 pages? Highly unlikely.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Fairytale Retelling Series, Book 2
Jackson Pearce
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