Author: Michele Dominquez Greene
Publisher: Simon Pulse
"Alva Jane has never questioned her parents, never questioned her faith, never questioned her future. She is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-eight siblings. This is the only world Alva has ever known, and she has never thought to challenge it.
But everything changes when Alva is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss. Beaten, scorned, and now facing a forced marriage to a violent, fifty-year old man, Alva suddenly realizes how much she has to lose--and how impossible it will be to escape."
Keep Sweet is one of those books that leave your jaw dropped and your mind racing about the reality that there really are places like that of the book. Where girls as young as eleven have to be married off to men twenty to thirty years older than they are. Where choice isn't an option. I was enticed reading this novel. Everything about it brought realization and horror of what Alva had to go through. It was a roller-coaster of emotions. From the very beginning, her voice brought me into the polygamy lifestyle and never lost its grip. Throughout the first part of the novel, Alva is perfectly fine and keeps sweet. She thinks it's normal. But as the novel progresses, she starts seeing everything in a new light. One that shows how bad she was really living life. You could say Alva grew and flourished as a character and I found myself proud of her as she did. She was one of those characters that just lifted off the pages. The author's writing really opened my eyes up with these polygamy lifestyles and created what Alva saw in my own head. I found the entire story eye opening and compelling to the last page. The ending didn't leave me satisfied and had some untied strings. That's the only complaint I have with the novel. Overall, there are some aspects of this novel that are intense, so I wouldn't recommend it for kids under thirteen. But everyone over that, definitely try to read it!
Favorite line: "I learned that sometimes you feel more lonesome when you're surrounded by people than when you're all alone."