Wednesday, June 1, 2011

“There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness.” –Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

I’m not going to lie and go on about how the book Sweetly by Jackson Pearce is sweet and nice. It’s not .The book scares me, rather, the cover is scary. I hate horror movies and scary things, so I avoid them like the plague. (I couldn’t even watch the trailer of Unborn without freaking out.) However, I do like to reader murder mysteries a la Agatha Christie).

I could probably write an essay on how the cover of Sweetly is scary, but I won’t. I’ll be a waste of time, and yours, too. Instead, I’ll bore you with my rant on how scary I find the cover is. The cover is a picture of a forest, with a house that’s situated at the end of the forest. It would be a totally fine cover if that was it. Instead, the cover is one of those optical illusions (like the old woman/young woman pictures?). It would be okay, and probably half as scary if I saw the other part of the illusion in broad daylight. However, I just had to see it at midnight, when I was doing work. It scared me. It’s a sinister picture with two eyes staring at you, complete with a creepy smile. The cover is like Mona Lisa (I thought Mona Lisa was fine, until someone told me that she stares at you no matter where you go in a room.) except scarier. There’s no shoulders, no hair, just an unwavering gaze that’s always staring at you. Needless to say, the book is lying face down on my desk now.

Rant done. (I realize how annoying I just sounded. The cover really isn’t that scary. I just don’t like looking at it.)

Gretchen, the main character of Sweetly, is forever haunted by the day that her twin sister was taken by the witch that lives in the forest. Only Gretchen and her older brother, Ansel, were able to survive, and the question of “Why not me?” has haunted Gretchen daily since the incident. Gretchen attempted to cope by standing out, by dying her hair in crazy colors among other things, in an effort to make herself believe that she isn’t going to fade away.

When Gretchen and Ansel are kicked out of the house by their stepmother, Ansel and Gretchen go on a road trip, one that leads them to Live Oak, a small Southern town where everybody knows everyone, and everything. Candy-maker Sophia Kelly takes Gretchen and Ansel in, and for once, Gretchen is at ease with herself. The nightmares begin to fade, and life starts to become normal. That is until rumors fly that Sophia is the reason why girls disappear every year at her chocolate festival, never coming back. Nothing is certain, of course, as everything is just a rumor, but Gretchen knows the witch in her nightmares is coming back.

The novel, Sweetly, by Jackson Pearce, is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, however it’s only loosely based on the Grimm fairy tale. (No pun intended.) Despite its fairy tale background, the story is not just a simple story with a happy ending. It shows that life is something precious and how desperate humans can get to save the ones they love, even when there is a tiny sliver of a chance. We hold onto that hope, tightly, sometimes not seeing the consequences of never letting go.  In all, Sweetly is a wonderful book, and the story goes deeper than the casual retelling of a fairy tale, exploring the shadowy depths of emotions, and love.


Release Date: August 23, 2011

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