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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.


I still have goosebumps. My heart is still pounding. What a good freaking book. Underrated and so freaking GOOD. The writing is so wonderful and everything just flows and pieces together fantastically. So I made a list in a notebook. I wrote down all of the books that are unread on my Kindle and I am working on the list before I start one-clicking anymore books. I’M SO HAPPY I STARTED WITH THIS ONE!!!

excited animated GIF Let’s face it. The cover SUCKS but I’m serious when I say don’t judge a book by its cover because this is where the proof comes into play. This was breathtaking storytelling. The story was captivating and the characters were endearing, the writing was beautiful. Wait, I’ve already said that. Yeah, you get it.

The Sweet Gum Tree is a wholesome, sweet and sad love story. I also loved that it took place around Jonesboro. And Arkansas. The southerness and the scenery was all so familiar to me. I absolutely loved the first part of the book. I loved experiencing them growing up and later on while they were in high school.

The story takes place in the POV of 8 year old Alix. I thought the author did a marvelous job of writing her younger years maturely and normal. It made it so much easier to transition into Alix’s adulthood. I want all of these paperbacks, I want every book form possible.

book animated GIF The only thing that kept this from being a top read for me was the misunderstandings. I hated that there was a lack of communication between the characters that resulted in heart ache. Nick and Alix could have saved themselves 15 years of misery had they just talked to each other. Openly and honestly. But I understand that’s why writers write. That’s how they get their story.

“Like Nick, the deep red wood of sweet gum tree stays true to its nature. Strong, steady and pure.”

So here’s my heart, in my hand. Take it. Get a knife. And stick it straight through it. Thanks in advance.

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