After leaving behind their evil step-mother, Gretchen and her brother Ansel are free - but have nowhere to go, and almost no money. When their car breaks down, they're stuck in a little town with few options. They're helped out by a friendly young woman, Sophia, who makes and sells candy and chocolate. She's happy to have extra help, because the Chocolate Festival is just around the corner. Strange things have been happening after recent festivals; young girls have been going missing, and many of the locals blame Sophia. Gretchen isn't sure what to believe - but she's determined to find out the truth before something terrible happens...again.
Spoilery talk below.
When I started reading Sweetly, I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the story came as a surprise. Knowing the basic story of Hansel and Gretel, I was initially quite distrustful of Sophia (the candy-making 'witch' figure). As the story went on, these thoughts slipped to the back of my mind, and I became confused about who to trust (in a good way). I figured out some things before Gretchen did (like the relationship between the seashells and Sophia), and I thought that Gretchen was trying to hard to make the 'mirror' idea fit - but I feel that it was Gretchen forcing it, and not author Jackson Pearce. This was a fun, suspenseful read that I really enjoyed; after reading this and Sisters Red, I can't wait for another book from Jackson Pearce.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hansel and Gretel by Cynthia Rylant