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Reviewed by:
  • Sweetly
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer
Pearce, Jackson. Sweetly. Little, 2011. [310p]. ISBN 978-0-316-06865-9 $17.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 8–12.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen lost her twin sister to what she could only describe as a witch: the shadowy thing chased the twins and their older brother Ansel through the forest, snatching up one of the girls and leaving the other in a world of grief. Now eighteen, Gretchen is on a cross-country trip with Ansel after being kicked out of their stepmother’s house when their car goes kaput and the siblings end up stranded in the dilapidated town of Live Oak. Fortunately, the local candymaker kindly takes them in for what turns into the entire summer as Gretchen and Ansel fall under the beautiful Sophia Kelly’s spell. Despite her new friendship (and Ansel’s budding romance with Sophia), Gretchen remains uneasy, especially when she realizes that local girls have recently gone missing during Sophia’s annual chocolate festival—disappearances that seem vaguely similar to her own sister’s vanishing. Pearce reprises her terrifically menacing villains from Sisters Red (BCCB 9/10) in this companion novel: the werewolf-like Fenris return here with a vengeance, setting up a sick little ritual in Live Oak to slake their thirst for young female flesh. Unfortunately, even a brilliantly conceived bad guy can’t make up for the novel’s mostly languid pace, and the lack of action allows the reader too much time to ponder the more implausible aspects of Live Oak and its residents. Although she’s likable enough, Gretchen is a bit slow on the uptake, and her instant friendship with Sophia feels unconvincing in its convenience. Still, the climatic battle in the final scene rivals those in Sisters Red, and the hints regarding the origins of the Fenris and their powers will probably be enough to satiate hungry fans.



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