Friday, October 7, 2011

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce [Book Inspection] [YA]

Plot Sketch: Ansel and Gretchen and Gretchen's twin sister go into the woods to look for the witch.  They find it.  And it eats Gretchen's twin.  Now, years later, Ansel and Gretchen have lost both their sister and their parents and their stepmother kicks them out.  They take off to the ocean from Washington State to South Carolina.  They break down and Ansel finds work, and eventually love at a chocolatier, while Gretchen figures out what really happened to their sister, and tries to save the town of Live Oak from her fate.

Verdict: Hated.  I haven't read a book in a really long time that I threw as many times as I threw Sweetly.  The plot is full of ginormous holes, and the dialog sucked - the characters all talk like androgynous robots. The middle half or so of the book lacks conflict causing the reader (in this case me) to cringe and whine and plead for it to end.  And that's sad.  Because I wanted to love the story; it had potential.  But a retelling of Hansel & Gretel without a real witch, but werewolves instead, and a main character that flounders around all over the spectrum of manic depression, growing and regressing, growing and regressing, ugh... does not a happy IHM make.  I wouldn't have finished reading it if it wasn't our book group pick for October.

(paragraph removed for my blood pressure's sake)

There were some good parts of the story.  Like the part where Samuel admits that he still loves Layla but is ready to move on.  I thought that part was realistic and believable.  But the way their relationship developed was not.  Hey, I'm trying to look for the positive.  Really, I am.  And I think that's the extent of it.  Help me out in the comments section if you've read it, kay?

Location: Live Oak, SC, USA
Favorite Character: Ansel as he was the only one that was remotely consistent.  Plus, I liked how protective and sweet he was to the women in his life.
Would Change: plot, characters, premise... add a real witch to the story please.  Hansel and Gretel need a witch.
Favorite Line: "My sister's name is Abigail."  pg. 187, hardcover.  It was an action that the character couldn't have come to earlier, and while I disagree with whom she shared this moment with, I totally agree that it was time for her to speak this line.
Good for Monster? Not for anyone.  And Monster read most of it in little bursts when I would put it down or throw it, and he has the same feelings as I do about the plot and characters.
Chapters: 32
Author's Website: http://jacksonpearce.com/
Excerpt
Background Downloads
Book Groups:
Sweetly was my IRL book group pick for October... we had M&Ms with the yellows picked out and left in a trail (which you would understand if you have read the prologue), skittles, chocolate dipped oreos, gold wrapped chocolate bars, and of course, Coca Cola (but laughably, we all drank water).  It is my contention that you will not need book discussion questions for this book as you will all sit around and find even more holes in the story than you did when you first read it.  The best book groups are the ones where someone really doesn't like the book.