Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Publication date: 23 August 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 10/13: 0316068659 | 9780316068659
Category: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Keywords: Fantasy, fairytale, horror,
Format: Hardcover, also available in Kindle format
Yes, indeed she could. Sweetly is roughly based on the Hansel and Gretel tale by the Grimm Brothers (whose notion of cannibalism always grossed me out). Sweetly's tale begins almost where the classic fairy tale ends, with Ansel, Gretchen and Gretchen's twin sister fleeing through the forest from an evil witch with yellow eyes. Not all of the children make it out of the forest though and Ansel and Gretchen are left with the guilt of losing their sister.
While Ansel has convinced himself that their sister's disappearance was not the work of a witch, Gretchen has not. She's lived in fear since that day, haunted by the yellow eyes of the witch that took her sister and may be coming back for her. Even twelve years later, as she and Ansel make their way to a new city, she can't stop looking over her shoulder and staying away from the dark woods. She soon finds out that the witch in her nightmares is very real and may be closer than she thinks.
I really, really l liked this book. The characters were rich and complex. Most of the story is told from Gretchen's point of view and you can really sense the longing she has to belong and to become her own person instead of the other half of a missing girl. In finding herself, she learns to face her fears and confront the thing that's tormented her for most of her life.
Even though the subject matter is quite dark, there are many funny and light moments. There's a bit of romance thrown in with the dark and brooding Samuel, who has a score to settle. And sweet, sweet Sophia, with her sugary confections and warm smiles but who has secrets of her own. The book is also filled with delicious descriptions of candies and sweets, which is an added bonus for a sugar addict like me.
All in all I thought this was a great read and I can't wait to see what Pearce does next.
Visit the author online at www.jacksonpearce.com and follow @JacksonPearce on Twitter.