You may remember that Jackson Pearce is one of the authors we were privileged to get to meet/hear speak at Decatur Book Festival this year.
*She's the one on the end in the pink, signing Crystal's copy of Sweetly*
I read her first book, Sisters Red, two years ago after hearing my friend Ashley rave about her and fell in love with it. Sweetly is the second book in the series, although they aren't books that have to be read in order. I mean, Sweetly makes more sense if you've read Sisters Red, but it doesn't feature the same characters or ruin anything from the first book. It does still feature the fenris (werewolfish creatures) and those who hunt them, but this one includes someone who may or may not be a witch. Just like Sisters Red is an interpretation of Red Riding Hood, Sweetly is a modern take on Hansel and Gretel, starring siblings Ansel and Gretchen (who are adorable). The sibling aspect reminded me somewhat of Mira Grant's Feed. I LOVE reading books where siblings are extraoardinarily close. If you've read Sisters Red, you'll also recognize Samuel Reynolds, Gretchen's love interest.
This book accomplished exactly what I want a YA book to do - suck me into the story so completely that I don't notice anything else. The writing isn't obtrusive in any positive or negative way. The main focus is on the story itself and I appreciate that in YA fiction especially. What I usually want when I read YA is an escape into a fascinating story and that is absolutely what I got with this one.
I read it in one sitting, if that tells you anything. I almost never stay up unreasonably late reading, but this one kept me up well past my normal bed time. It doesn't stick to the Hansel and Gretel story as closely as Sisters Red stuck to the Red Riding Hood story, but it really didn't make a difference for me. I enjoyed it just as much and actually noticed it more when it all came together at the end. I really liked each of the characters and how the story unfolded. Even the moral ambiguity of some characters appealed to me.
Highly recommend it, especially to those who enjoy YA or modern fairy tale retellings. If you're enjoying Grimm or Happily Ever After or any of the modern fairy tale movies that are currently out, this is also a good choice for you.