Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie

Here is a summary of Sweetie from Kathryn Magendie's website:

Friendship, Courage, Hope . . .

Lyrical and poignant gothic southern storytelling. Sweetie is a wild girl, rough, almost feral, yet brave and endlessly honest. When Melissa, a shy, stuttering town girl, befriends her, the two enrich each other's lonely lives. But there are some in the Appalachian community who regard Sweetie and her peculiar heritage as sinister...

For shy, stuttering Melissa, the wild mountain girl named Sweetie was a symbol of pride and strength. But to many in the Smoky Mountain town, Sweetie was an outcast, a sinister force, or worse.

My Review:
I just loved this coming of age story of two young girls from different walks of life that develop a friendship that will get them through a life changing summer.  Sweetie and Melissa grow to depend upon one another through both of their strengths and weaknesses.  In the opening of the book Melissa is a grown woman and she returns to the mountain town and finds herself recalling the special friendship that these girls had.

When Melissa was a young, overweight girl her family moved from town to town quite often, never really giving Melissa a chance to settle in and make real friends.  That is about to change when her parents move them to a small town in the mountains of North Carolina before the start of her sixth grade year.  As Melissa is teased by the more popular kids for her stuttering and weight, Sweetie is there to accept her as she is.

While Melissa lives in a modern home on the side of town, Sweetie lives in a secluded cabin in the mountains.  Even though these girls are complete opposites, they form an unlikely bond of friendship.  Once school lets out for the summer they take advantage of every waking moment to learn everything about each other and the mountains where they live.  Melissa's mother disapproves of the friendship that she has with Sweetie, while her father always seems withdrawn in his own world.

Sweetie and Melissa deal with a lot of serious issues and changes during this summer.  From puberty, secrets, and deaths, their friendship is tested.   As the summer was coming to and end it really wasn't clear to me if the friendship would really last that much longer.  I think that although Melissa still longed for the carefree days of exploring and youthful friendship, she secretly wanted a wider variety of friends that may have even included boys.

I just loved this story that gave me a good reminder of the innocence that children still have at this young age.  With themes of friendship, coming of age, and loss of loved ones I can't help but think this would make a great book club selection and I don't hesitate to recommend it.

My Rating:  5/5

Disclosure:  This e-book was provided to me by the publisher through the Net Galley program in exchange for an honest review.


bermudaonion said...

Wouldn't it be nice if every kid had a friend like Sweetie?

Blodeuedd said...

Sounds like a lovely book :)

Unknown said...

I love stories about the friendship between girls and this one sounds extra special with the southern accents and gothic themes.

Great review, thank you!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Sounds like a good story. I have never heard of this author before.

Julie said...

This one is on my wishlist; I love this review, and I know I will love the book too.

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic. Friendship stories about women always make me want to go out and make more women friends :)