Title: The Bitter Side of Sweet
Author: Tara Sullivan
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Format: egalley provided by First to Read
My Rating: 4 out of 5
My Review (originally posted at Read, Run, Ramble):
The Bitter Side of Sweet is the first and only book I read in December. Yes, you read that correctly – first AND only. I’ve been in a horribly hard to shake reading slump. For months I’ve gotten very little pleasure from the books I’ve read and just generally haven’t felt up to reading. That feeling has left me scared to pick up books because I’m worried the slump will affect how I feel about the book and I don’t want to ruin any treasures with my poor reading mood!
I am delighted to say that nothing bad came from Sullivan’s newest work! I adored Seydou, Amadou, and Kadija. These children, though fictional, depict a very real scenario taking place in our current day world. They depict modern-day slavery as it is utilized in the cacao trade. Yep, your chocolate is laced with forced child labor!
Now, that isn’t to say that Sullivan’s writing was preachy or judgmental. She is not at all. Instead she has expertly woven a fictional tale with fantastically complex and strong characters to illustrate how some cacao farmers do their business. I won’t say that readers will walk away feeling no difference in their attitude towards chocolate and how its main ingredient is obtained, but Sullivan never tries to bully the reader into feeling a certain way or doing anything drastic. She is, however, very informational, which I found eye opening and heart breaking.
The writing is rich and the story intense. The children in this book will pull you in and make you love them in no time. I actually sat down (remember, I was in the midst of one of the worst reading slumps ever) and finished in two sittings.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.