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.
3 out of 5 stars
I was lucky to have an AWESOME librarian that shared her finds at TLA this past spring, which just happened to include an ARC of Sweetly.
First, I want to say that I did enjoy Sweetly. Now, I have to admit that I struggled to get into this book at first.
The beginning when Gretchen, her sister, and Ansel were all in the forest did catch my attention, though I was soon distracted. After the initial action in the forest, I was a little anxious to see where the story was headed. Then Gretchen and Ansel left, several years later, and headed to the sea when their car broke down outside of a small town. It’s not that the new setting wasn’t set up well that I wasn’t interested; I think it had more to do with having just read several books that had more action and I was in a huge dystopian phase.
Now, little did I know that somewhere between pages 70-85 the action picked up (at least for me that was the case). I was intrigued by Samuel when he was first introduced because I wanted Gretchen to have someone other than her brother and Sophia to interact with, but then he disappeared for a while.
So I was pleasantly surprised when shortly after restarting the book, the true identity of the Witch
was revealed and Samuel reappeared. Once Gretchen found out what was really going on in the forest, she decided to change her course of action. From then on I could put down Sweetly until the full mystery had been solved.
This is a retelling of the classic Hansel and Gretel that will regain the interest in fairy tales for an older generation. Not that YA is older, but they are not 5 anymore. I enjoyed this fresh take on an old classic and hope you give it a chance too.