The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine AllredBook description (via Amazon):Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy — until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back…and he’s not alone.Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.B+:The story is based on the somewhat typical romance stemmed since childhood between rich girl and poor boy. Said girl and boy are ripped apart, only to have to face each other years later, withholding secrets of their own.The author did a great job with every character in this book. She made them realistic and believable; sometimes I loved them, sometimes I hated them. Like I mentioned before, I love it when an author can pull out all kinds of different emotions from me throughout a book, and Katherine Allred was able to do that with this story.There were a few twists thrown into the plot to steer it away from being the typical love story between two opposites but you could easily predict the outcome of events before they unfold. Although I hate it when plots are predictable, I don’t think the author meant for the story to be predictable. The story begins in the main characters’ childhood, takes us through their adolescence and teen years, and progresses into their adulthood so it’s easy to pick up on what kind of people they grow up to be, which is why some things were easy to predict. Some situations made me think “No way, she/he would never do that!”, which only means the author did a great job with character development; she kept them as consistent and real as possible.

Book description (via Amazon):

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy — until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back…and he’s not alone.Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

The story is based on the somewhat typical romance stemmed since childhood between rich girl and poor boy. Said girl and boy are ripped apart, only to have to face each other years later, withholding secrets of their own.

The author did a great job with every character in this book. She made them realistic and believable; sometimes I loved them, sometimes I hated them. Like I mentioned before, I love it when an author can pull out all kinds of different emotions from me throughout a book, and Katherine Allred was able to do that with this story.

There were a few twists thrown into the plot to steer it away from being the typical love story between two opposites but you could easily predict the outcome of events before they unfold. Although I hate it when plots are predictable, I don’t think the author meant for the story to be predictable. The story begins in the main characters’ childhood, takes us through their adolescence and teen years, and progresses into their adulthood so it’s easy to pick up on what kind of people they grow up to be, which is why some things were easy to predict. Some situations made me think “No way, she/he would never do that!”, which only means the author did a great job with character development; she kept them as consistent and real as possible.

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