Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Title: Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings #2)

Author: Jackson Pearce

Release Date/Publisher: August 23rd 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Read: September 8th 2012

Pages: 310-Hardcover-Library


  1. Sisters Red
  2. Sweetly
  3. Fathomless
  4. Cold Spell


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.

What I thought:

The characters were pretty interesting. Gretchen is terrified of forests and dark areas, ever since her twin sister never made it out of one when they were kids. She blames it on herself and even though she tries to move on she always remembers that incident. Her bother Ansel is very supportive of her and will do anything to protect her. When they both get kicked out of the house by their stepmother, they go on a road trip and end up in Live Oak. It’s a small place but there’s much more going on there than you’d think.

Sophia, the candy maker, lives in a small place in the woods, away from most other people. They end up staying with her and doing small chores at first until they decide to stay. After a while Gretchen can tell something is up. Many girls have gone missing in the years past and it’s getting close to the time when Sophia hold her party yet again, and it doesn’t help that people in town blame Sophia for their daughters leaving town.

I liked how Gretchen got stronger and willing to face her fears as this book went on too. She became strong because she didn’t want to be that scared little girl anymore and so she could protect everyone, especially so no more girls would go missing in a town that’s already falling apart.

I was actually expecting this book to be a little different than it was. Let’s just say the witches aren’t what they seem and there’s links to the first book Sisters Red. I was kind of disappointed in that aspect of it, I was hoping it would be completely separate and a lot darker like the first book was. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this book, I think my expectations were just high and I thought it was going to be different, closer to the original Hansel & Grethel fairytale. I did like where the author took it, but it wasn’t what I assumed.

Recommended for those that like fairytale retellings!


9 comments on “Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

  1. Thanks for sharing that there are links to Sisters Red. I kinda assume these are stand-alone stories in a fairy tale retelling series. I guess my assumption is not correct. I feel intrigued by the darker world setting here. Great review, K!

    • I thought they were stand-alone too, technically the first two could be, but if you do read them in order some small things make more sense. Hoping to go onto the third book soon and see what happens, thanks!

  2. I really liked Sweetly. I think it can be a stand alone for the most part but Sisters Red was great too. I like how they are connected but not. I do agree I was hoping for a little darker too. great review.

  3. I really want to start this series, I haven’t read anything by Jackson Pearce and I really feel like I’m missing out on something awesome! I always thought these books were stand-alones, but now I know they’re not, I have another series to look forward to getting started with. Great review!

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