- Series: Fairy Tale Retelling
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (August 23, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780316068659
- ISBN-13: 978-0316068659
- ASIN: 0316068659
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,326,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sweetly (Fairy Tale Retelling) Hardcover – August 23, 2011
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About the Author
Jackson Pearce is the author of Sisters Red and As You Wish. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Top customer reviews
Basically, I'm saying that if I didn't come into the book with preconceived notions about werewolves, this book would have been perfect for me. So, you know, ignore any complaints on that end because that's entirely a me-thing.
Seriously, there was a lot that I really enjoyed. Gretchen is so... I don't know, impacted, maybe. It's like her sister's disappearance scrunched her down and made her a compact shadow of herself. She relives those moments in the woods when her sister went missing again and again. It's shaped every aspect of her life from the moment it happened and she's ready to shed that old skin and try to become something new.
I won't say the twist was a total surprise but I liked how everything played out. I liked how Gretchen took control of her fear and found a way to grow into something different. I LOVE the mythology that's laid out about twins -- something that looks to be explored in book 3. I liked the romance. I liked the slightly off-kilter Hansel and Gretel parallels.
Honestly, there was A LOT I liked here. I just have a few issues with evil werewolves. Still, my issues didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. So, there's that.
-Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal
Sweetly is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. As I'm sure you all know , Hansel and Gretel is the tale of two siblings that find themselves lost in the woods and threatened by a cannibalistic witch that lives in a house made of sweets. It's a horrific tale that was recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. German folk tales seem to largely deal with the macabre and are most likely traumatizing to small children. But I will probably read The Grimm Fairytales to my children. Does that make me messed up in the head? Most definitely. But anywho, as with Sisters Red, Sweetly is a dark, gruesome tale that was inspired by Hansel and Gretel, but greatly deviates from the original tale's storyline.
In Sweetly, our protagonist is Gretchen, a teenage girl terrified of every shadow ever since her twin sister disappeared in the woods when they were children. Gretchen is haunted by the past, and she finds it hard to move on when she has no idea what actually happened to her sister. This mystery has denied her of the closure she needs in order to live her life fully. Her older brother Ansel has always been her backbone, and they have relied heavily on each other throughout the years. When she and Ansel are kicked out of their childhood home by their stepmother, Gretchen sees this as an opportunity to escape the past, but the memories still follow her across the country.
I actually really liked Gretchen. She may have started off as completely dependent on her brother, but as her brother and her start to spend less time together, Gretchen begins to discover more about herself and what she wants in life. After witnessing so many oblivious protagonists finally stumbling onto the obvious, I appreciated Gretchen's lack of naivete. After a troubled past, Gretchen has learned to trust in her instincts. She may want to see the best in people, but she doesn't simply dismiss a bad feeling. She knows when something's not quite right, and she gets to the bottom of it. Plus, she doesn't just sit back and let others defend her. She learns how to fight and defend herself so she doesn't vanish just like her sister. She's one tough cookie, and I couldn't help but admire her.
As for Ansel, I found him to be wishy washy. He wasn't as fleshed out as Gretchen; in fact, I found him to be forgettable. He felt more like a secondary character than a main character, but I can accept this since the focus seemed to be more on the dynamics between Sophia and Gretchen. Sophia and Gretchen's friendship is formed on shaky foundations, considering both girls suffered from trust issues and insecurities. There is some romance, and I thought it was very sweet, but the tentative bond between Sophia and Gretchen was the most intriguing element of Sweetly. I was hoping and praying that things would go smoothly for these two, but I felt uneasy from the beginning as I feared that things would eventually change.
While I loved the creepy factor of Sweetly, and how the dark, oppressive forest presented a constant threat, I can't help but wish that Sweetly had adopted more elements from the original tale. I don't expect every retelling to remain entirely faithful to the original, but I was hoping the book would present some darker twists instead of taking such a predictable route. I think I would have liked Sweetly more if it was a unique Hansel and Gretel retelling instead of a companion novel trying to tie in plot developments from Sisters Red. I think it needed to stand on its own more.
I will warn you that if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to have candy on hand while reading Sweetly. As the name suggests, there are so many delicious treats mentioned, as Sophia runs a candy shop. These sweets sounded heavenly and had me craving chocolate like crazy.
While Sweetly didn't stand out as a unique Hansel and Gretel retelling, it was still a suspenseful, chilling read that kept me reading even if I wasn't fully invested. I fully intend to read Pearce's third Fairytale Retelling, Fathomless, in the future. It is a retelling of Han's Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, and I'm anxious to see how Pearce reimagines this tale.
Gretchen and Ansel have a sister who disappears (Gretchen's twin) in the forest when they are quite young and chasing the witch who lives in the woods (as children do).
Just about the second Gretchen hits the magical grown up age of 18 she and Ansel are out on their own, determined to make new peaceful lives for themselves. Instead they find themselves wrapped up in the dramas of a small town that is convinced their only new friend is some kind of witch or maybe just some of apocalyptic sign of some sort or maybe a goddess. So they've got to work their way through the towns secrets. The secrets of woods. Their own secrets. Well you get the picture, they have a lot of big messed to sort out and not much time what with the Chocolate festival coming up...
I will say this - if you have not read the author's other book: Sisters Red and think you might want to? Skip the "Exclusive Character Q&A" at the end of the book. It's more of a chat between this book's heroine and someone from that book and while not real spoilers, I suppose some things that character says in that extra could, by some, be considered spoilers. If you stumbled on this book first - they're not REALLY connected. It's not a series. Read them in any order. They're similar styles - classic fairy tales totally redone, more like a nod to them with only minor hints of the original stories left behind. But yeah, that Q&A, not for those who haven't read Sister's Red first.
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