SUMMARY: Years ago, three children went into the woods. Only two came out. Now, the two remaining siblings, Ansel and Gretchen, have been evicted from their deceased father's home. When car troubles land them in a dying small town, Ansel and Gretchen find that the monster in the woods that killed their sister has found them once again.
WHAT I LIKED: I both love and worry about books with such gorgeous cover art. Interesting front covers definitely attract readers, but they also set up high expectations in readers. More often than not, a beautiful front cover overshadows a plot that just does not measure up. With the coolest cover art I've seen this year, I worried that Sweetly might fall short of my expectations. Sisters Red (also with interesting cover art) had so much untapped potential; I feared Sweetly might go the same way.
I am thrilled to say that I enjoyed Sweetly thoroughly. The mysteries of Sophia's past and the disappearances of the girls create a page-turning fantasy that kept me guessing right up to the end. I especially loved the descriptions of Live Oaks, a small, sultry South Carolina town proud of its southern heritage and suspicious of out-of-towners. The improvement over Sisters Red is tremendous; Jackson Pearce is a young author and definitely one to watch.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: As in Sisters Red, the characters are somewhat underdeveloped, but readers won't likely mind. Sweetly's creepy tone and slowly-unraveling mysteries totally make up for it. The final bloody confrontation with the monsters may disturb sensitive readers.
FRONT COVER: The creepy witch face in the trees speaks for itself. Ms. Pearce has a brilliant cover artist!
- LANGUAGE: mild, a few A's and D's
- SEXUALITY: mild; some kissing and mild touching; sex is implied but never described; some talk of the Fenris taking lovers
- VIOLENCE: very high; a violent, bloody massacre ends in at least two human deaths. Lots and lots of blood.
- DRUGS/ ALCOHOL: mild; some references to beer; one character gets drunk on rum
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: As of today, this book is not yet published. I plan to order multiple copies and add it to the Lone Star Plus list. I know it will be big; it has everything going for it.