Author: Jackson Pearce.
Published: August 23rd 2011.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Sort: Part two of ‘Fairytale retellings.’
Review part one: Sisters red.
As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too. Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past -- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone -- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
”That’s what love is. It becomes a part of you. It holds you down sometimes: it becomes something you can’t escape.”
Ansel and Gretchen are cast out by their stepmother. On their way to their new life, their car breaks down and they don’t have enough money to get it fixed. They end up in a little pub where everybody eyes them with suspicion. It’s clear they aren’t used to newbies, but one of the guys offers them a job. Sophia, who lives on the edge of Live Oak, works in a candy store and she can use some help. They accept it right away.
Sophia is mysterious. It’s a pretty girl and she appears to be very happy, but there are some dark memories haunting her life. Like Gretchen and Ansel, she lost her sister. Gretchen’s twin was snatched away in the woods by a ‘witch’. Sophia’s father was slaughtered by a beast and the whole town distrust her. Ever year, she gives a chocolate party and every time, a girl goes missing.
Can Gretchen unravel Sophia’s secrets before it is too late for her and the other girls?
It was a fantastic read. There isn’t much action and it was slow, but in a good way. There was enough time to bond with the characters; to get absorbed by the atmosphere. Sophia is a strange girl and I felt suspicious from the beginning. Ansel starts to fall in love with her and Gretchen likes her, but she keeps her mind clear. She is capable of making intelligent choices and she was such a kick ass girl. Instead of shying away from her fears, she looks them in the eyes. Samuel was lovely. He is a bit distant, but that made him more attractive for me. I like how their feelings really develop.
The story knew how to surprise me from the beginning to the end. Even in the last couple of pages there was an unexpected twist. The writing style reads incredibly fast; you keep running through the pages until the last word hits you in the face. I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on Fathomless, so I can devour that one too.