As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch-like monster 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.
When their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out as teens, they stumble upon a sleepy Southern town and are invited to stay with Sophia Kelly at her sweet shop. Sophia molds candied magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel finally start to forget their haunted past – until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel, who gives Gretchen a reason to fear Sophia: girls have been vanishing at Sophia's annual chocolate festival, taken by the insatiable 'witch' of Gretchen's nightmares. Can Gretchen save herself, the girls of Live Oak, and Sophia?
Of one thing, Gretchen is certain: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
If Jackson Pearce had three wishes, she would wish for wisdom and patience and for life to be a little more like a musical. She began writing when the school librarian told her there weren't any books that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself. Her parents thought it was cute at first but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.
Jackson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture.