by Brittany Geragotelis
Last year, I read a book that blew my mind. Sisters Red took the old fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and gave it a modern twist, and the result was something magical and action-packed. It was by far one of the best books I'd read in a long time and I instantly developed an author crush on the book's scribe, Jackson Pearce (Check out an interview I did with her about Sisters Red here).
Well, Jackson's back with another fairy tale adventure, this time taking on the story of Hansel and Gretel. Considered a companion novel to Sisters Red, her new book Sweetly did not disappoint.
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.
Though Sweetly had a completely different feel and voice than Sisters Red (and considerably less action), I enjoyed it immensely. Gretchen is both believable and endearing and it's easy to identify with her loss and fear. And Jackson does a beautiful job of building the relationships between the characters. My only gripe came when I found out who/what the witch really was...it just didn't seem to fit the story. Even so, the book was wonderfully written and should definitely top everyone's Must-Read list for 2011. Sweetly will be released in August 2011!