Saturday, November 27, 2010
~Sweetie~ by Kathryn Magendie
Over-weight, bespectacled twelve-year-old Melissa is captivated by wild-mountain-girl Sweetie. As the two friends explore the Western North Carolina mountains where Sweetie lives, they learn about friendship and family, loss and love, loyalty and betrayal. Before the tragedy that changes their lives, and causes Melissa to lose her friend to the mountain spirits, the two become friends, blood sisters, confidants, and caretakers of secrets. At the end of that summer, Sweetie makes a sacrifice that only twelve-year-old Sweetie could make for her mother, and alternatively, Melissa makes a selfish decision, then can only stand by and watch as her friend is there, then gone.
I loved every minute of this story. A beautiful coming-of-age tale set in Appalachia in the 1970's, tells the story of Melissa and Sweetie; Shy, overweight Melissa, and brash, outspoken Sweetie, who become fast friends. It is a story of a summertime friendship, spent roaming the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina's Haywood County. Two friends who become "bound sisters" for life, each needing something from the other. Author Kathryn Magendie lives and works in the very same area where this story takes place. Her love for the mountains shines through in her story, with beautiful details of the flowers, rocks and creeks where the girls play. This book is now one of my top favorite Coming-of-Age stories (which include Roseflower Creek by J.L. Miles, Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons, Walking Through Shadows by Bev Marshall, Where the Woodbine Twines by Sherry Austin, The Star Lite Drive In by Marjorie Reynolds, Summer of the Redeemers by Carolyn Haines...Just to name a few!) "Sweetie" is a character that I will never forget~
A West Virginia native, Kat Magendie came home to Maggie Valley via South Louisiana, where she reclusively writes and co-edits/publishes The Rose & Thorn online journal. Visit her at www.kathrynmagendie.com
**Many thanks to Deborah Smith at Bell Bridge Books for the opportunity to read and review "Sweetie"**