Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sweet Gum Tree” as Want to Read:
The Sweet Gum Tree
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sweet Gum Tree

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  27,893 ratings  ·  3,194 reviews
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 bac ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Ellora's Cave (first published May 12th 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sweet Gum Tree, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
T. Rosado Based on the initial publication date of 2005 and going back the number of years the story spans (about 27 years,) the story would have taken place ap…moreBased on the initial publication date of 2005 and going back the number of years the story spans (about 27 years,) the story would have taken place approximately between the years 1978-2005. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,893 ratings  ·  3,194 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Sweet Gum Tree
Aestas Book Blog
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5.5 stars

"You're the only one I've ever wanted, Alix, the only one I'll ever want. That's a promise."

Oh WOW !!! What a BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING book!! Love! love! love!!

I'm a mess - it was an intense, utterly riveting book that I literally could not put down, that kept my heart racing, kept me near tears for a good chunk of it, that had me hanging off of every word that I read, and the story just ripped my heart out but yet still had a very sweet ending.

The writing was beautiful and flowed effor
Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister

Books like The Sweet Gum Tree are why I love to read. Filled with beauty, symbolism, heartache, forgiveness, redemption, and an undying love all around—this ultimate love story turned out to be one of the greatest books I've ever read!

Since the synopsis for this book is generous and intriguing enough, I don't feel a summation of the story here is necessary. But I will say that each and and every one of these characters had been broken and slowly redeemed and held a special place in
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5 Beautiful Stars!

If you are like me, and have just had this book sitting on your e-reader for months and haven’t gotten around to it, do yourself a favor and bump it to the top of your TBR list! Such an amazing, beautiful, sweet, and at times- heartbreaking story.

Alix and Nick (as adults)

 photo 3764a579-38f4-4479-8390-fa15e752fe09_zps6df649dd.jpg

 photo 14bee0ba-e8bf-4fa7-b207-f31a9f2db51f_zps81d7b643.jpg

Alix French and Nick Anderson both grew up in the same small town. They meet when Alix is 8 and Nick is 10. Alix comes from a good family. She lives with her grandfather ‘Judge’, her mama and her two a
Blacky *Romance Addict*

He brushed my hair back. “You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted, Alix, the only one I’ll ever want. That’s a promise.”

Image Hosted by

“God, I can’t lose you again.” His whisper was harsh, filled with pain. “Not now, when I’ve waited so long to hold you. I think it would kill me. But I’m so damn scared you’ll hate me when you find out the truth.”

This was both heartbreaking and sweet <3
Amazing romance that spans decades, from childhood sweethearts to adult intense love.

The story

Image Hosted by

“I didn’t want to stop. It scared
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Sweet Gum Tree started out brilliantly. Expertly setting the scene of smalltown livin in the deep south, I was hooked. Even more so when little Alix French befriends a boy from the wrong side of the tracks by introducing him to her favorite books. They become a fierce unit and it’s easy to see they are destined soul mates. I loved Nick and Alix. Together. Apart? Not so much, because they were stupid. Period. When things begin to happen to keep them apart, the book fell apart for me too.

Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars

I liked this one. Didn't make the five star mark for me. The misunderstanding was a bit too much for me. The fact that Nick felt no compulsion to stay irritated me a bit. Saying that, it was quite a good read.

“You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you ca
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
A bittersweet story of love and loss with unbelievably selfless and stupid characters!
As much as I loved Katherine's mind-blowing writing, I couldn't stand the tangles of responsibilities and relationships every character wove around themselves. Or the half truths and whole lies. It was like they all wanted to be miserable.
And it was ridiculous how Jenna got away with sleeping with Alix's husband with a pat on her back after a mere sob story. Not counting his hundred other affairs. Saintly Ali
Annie Brewer
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone that loves romance
Recommended to Annie by: Erin
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG *deep breaths*
Holy shit....that was THE BEST EFFING BOOK I've EVER read....hands down!!!! TWENTY stars. Omg I have a headache and my eyes are sore from the fifty million full on sobs I did.

I shall have a full review soon....


If I could give this book EVERY star in the world, I certianly would. My emotions are still raw after finishing thi
Smitten's Book Blog

Dumbfounded. Gobsmacked. Speechless. Blown away. Overwhelmed... <<< That was me after finishing The Sweet Gum Tree at 3am this morning.

What an absolutely stunning book! I picked it up yesterday afternoon and didn't put it down until the very last page. Absolutely amazing. There aren't enough adjectives for me to express how much I loved this book.

I cried. Quite a lot. You know when you're reading a book and you know you're going to get your heart broken, but you just can't help turn the pages..
5 Stars (Originally Read 3/25/2015)

4.5 Stars (Re-Read 8/1/2017)

Overall Opinion: This will definitely be staying on my favorites shelf after this re-read! I ate this book right up the second time just like I remember doing the first! I was actually worried that I would not feel the emotions that I did the first time I read it, because I knew what was going to happen. While I didn't blubber cry (like I remember doing the first time), I did shed quite a bit of tears still! That tells me that it'
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
You have to read this UTTERLY MAGNINIFICENT book!! Nick and Alix's love story will compell you like no other. This is the book I have wanted to read since I can't even remenber. What I loved most about it was all the emotions it induced in me...but most of all, I could not get enough of Nick, Alix and their love...

This is one of the, hands down, most beautiful books I have ever read. It is actually one of the best books I ever had the pleasure of reading ever,period. This book made me feel thing
5 Broken Hearts Stars!

Reread 11/19 Still a 5 star read for me! I loved this one just as much the second time around!

 photo image.jpg1_zpsbwiqtbpu.jpg

Alix French was 8 years old when she went to the scrap yard with her grandfather (Judge) and met 10 year old Nick Anderson. While Nick is getting a part off an old truck Alix sees that Nick has been beaten by his father and runs to get some bee balm and tends to his wounds. Their friendship grows from this act of kindness and so the journey begins.
Alix is from a very respect
Robin Hill
5 stars

The Sweet Gum Tree has been in my TBR forever, and good thing I already owned it because you can't even buy it right now. I almost feel guilty for reviewing it. "Read this book; it's awesome! Oh, wait, you don't already have it? Sucks for you..."

Rumor has it, the author is coming out with a new and improved version, fresh with a not-so-eyeroll-ey cover. Thank God. That cover did this book a serious injustice. It was the sole reason it took me so damn long to pick it up. Don't be like me.
Sharon ∞❥ is an emotional book junkie ❥∞
I. Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down!!!

If you're in the mood for a gripping, emotional roller coaster love story, then this is the book for you. But I'm exhausted!! Not just from staying up late because I couldn't put the book down but also from the emotional drain this book puts you through! But it's so worth it!

The story is about the growing friendship of Alix and Nick. They first meet when Alix is eight years old and Nick is ten. Alix is from a decently wealthy, high moral family and Nick is
Nick Pageant
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gen-fic
This thing was like a fricking telenovela... and I LOVE telenovelas!

Thanks to Alona for reading this with me.

This book tells the story of a girl who grows up in a small Arkansas town. She falls in love with the wrong boy, but, of course, he's really the right boy. There are lots of cruel twists of fate:





I really enjoyed this book. The writing was great. I loved each and every ridiculous plot twist. I didn't mind that I stayed up until 3am to finis
Mikee (ReadWithMikee)
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
❝"No one should have to go through life with only half a heart," he whispered.❞

To be completely honest with you all, I never would've picked this book up for its cover. I don't particularly judge too much on a book's cover but it reminded me of those indie romance novels with half naked men and women clinging to each other plastered right on the front cover. XD BUT I decided to put my hesitations aside and dove right into this book. After bringing The Sweet Gum Tree to a close, I had
Anne OK
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best romance books I've ever read. Set in the south and begins when the lead characters are children drawn together by tragedy. Great storyline with wonderful characters. This is a book I read over and over - it is that good! And my treasured copy will always have a special place on my keeper shelf.

Update on 1/8/17

NOTE: I first read Alix and Nick's story back in 2005 -- long before I joined Goodreads. I've read it many times over since then. However, I've never posted a decen
This book was very frustrating. It read almost like fiction it was so emotionally wrenching, but it also had one of the stupidest Big Misunderstanding plots I’ve ever read, and a really weak characterization particularly on the hero’s part. Maybe it was because the book was written in first person, but while the heroine was really well drawn, the hero acted like a dim-wit and not at all like the man he was supposed to be.

The hero is described as smart, admirable and crazy in love with the heroin
Natasha is a Book Junkie
Hands down, the most ENJOYABLE book I have read this year. I know that I say that a lot and I do read a lot of incredible books but I guess the reason why I am making such a statement about this particular book is because it had me from the first page. I was smiling from the moment I started reading it because I immediately had a gut feeling that I was going to love it. It was just my kind of book from the get-go.

The more I kept reading, the more I was certain that it was going to be a heart-wre
Elizabeth (Liz)
Okay then. Do NOT try reading this story without at least two boxes of Kleenex by your side. And, prepare for emotional exhaustion when you're finished (though, in the very best way). It's sweet, funny, endearing, heartbreaking, and ultimately full of love. It's truly an emotion-driven masterpiece, in my humble opinion. This story draws you in so deeply that it's a shock to the system when you emerge back into real life. As a story, it attracts and satisfies because we are all emotional creature ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: Elizabeth (Liz)

The Sweet Gum Tree is an emotional, gripping tale of a love so raw and bittersweet that will leave you breathless. This will grab your heart and take it on one fantastic ride.


This is beautifully written, with characters that are realistic and wonderfully flawed. For all you romance fans, you can't go wrong with this. I highly recommend it!
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I started the Sweet Gum Tree I knew from the moment I read the first paragraph that I was in for an exceptional book, and I was right. The 1st person narrative of "Alix French," the heroine, was soothing with her descriptive, velvet tone of life in a small Arkansas town. Her story begins when she is 8 years old and meets the 10 year old hero, "Nick Anderson." Nick is from the wrong side of the tracks, with a disasterous family life of only a father, who is the "town drunk," and who arbitrar ...more
• Lisa •
This story was beautiful, a true honest to the heart love story. The author could not have allowed the reader to feel, hurt or love more than if it was actually happening to yourself.

The character development was so thorough and captivating. The story had a depth and flow. It broke my heart and then picked it right up again.

This is a story that has sat collecting dust on my TBR shelf since joining Good reads. On My usual quest to find a 5 star book, my friend Anna recommended that I read this w
♡Karlyn P♡
I think they call this kind of a book a 'sleeper', where it slowly creeps into popularity one review at a time until it becomes a bona fide and popular hit. Written in 2002, published in 2005, and it just now seems to be finding its reading public. In the last year this book was recommended repeatedly both here and at Amazon, and I am so glad to have read it. Simply wonderful, and what a surprising and strong epilogue! Sniff, sniff...

I thought it lived up to the hype. If you like historicals wit
Alexis *Reality Bites*
Spoiler Free Review
Genre: Adult Romance

-->Read This Book!!! It's A MUST READ!!

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!!!! I wept like a baby when i finished this book. I consider this a must read, it kind of reminds me of Beautiful Disaster b/cause the book summary barely scratches the surface of what this book is about. The author manages to take you on this journey that will completely suck you in. I fell in love with all the characters both main and secondary and i needed to kn
Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: next-up, favorites

I just want to cry until I fall asleep!

What a beautiful journey, I don't know how to review this book.

Nick, you'll ALWAYS have a place in my heart (yeah, you'll have to share it with more guys but I promise you'll have a special place).

Alix, I am kinda mad at you now but I love you anyway.

Jenna, I want to read your story with (view spoiler)


REVIEW TO COME if I can stop crying...
*Buddy read with Rachel. You can read her review here.*

"No one should have to go through life with only half a heart."

I usually judge my novels on the basis of: 1) how well I liked the characters, 2) how much I enjoyed reading about them, and 3) how emotional I felt on their behalf, or CEE (Characters, Enjoyment, and Emotions) for short.

Characters - 3.5 stars:

The characters are well-rounded and real, but the only problem is that I didn't like any of them.

I didn't like Alix because I couldn'
Kelli C
"4 Bless Her Heart Stars!"

I don't know how I missed this little beauty, but I am thankful for the fabulous reading community here on GR' brought this to me as a gift!

Keeping this short, this book was beautifully tragic. This is the first time I have read a Katherine Allred book and I am completely impressed with her writing style. She has light and beautiful flow that makes even the harshest of situations seem less. She created a love story for the ages that started with Alix and Nick, age
I am totally and utterly exhausted this book is one HELL of an emotional roller coaster!! Review to come when I've had some sleep and I've finished bawling my eyes out! I'm a complete and utter mess and need to be alone for a while but damn this book is freaking AMAZING!


Okay I had some sleep and in all seriously I really don't know where to begin with this review. I don't think I need to summarise the book, it is too deep and complicated and I would not be able to st
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Wasn't anyone worried about kittens?! 1 1 Jan 08, 2020 08:59AM  
Similar books 24 705 Feb 23, 2019 08:30PM  
Unapologetic Roma...: Allred, Katherine // The Sweet Gum Tree 2 19 Aug 26, 2018 04:39AM  
Never Too Old For...: THE SWEET GUM TREE 74 411 Dec 06, 2015 05:51PM  
Loved this 36 218 Jun 10, 2014 07:29PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Back to You
  • After the Night
  • Unbreak My Heart (Fostering Love, #1)
  • The Unwanted Wife (Unwanted, #1)
  • Morning Glory
  • Paradise (Second Opportunities, #1)
  • Silver Lining
  • Kiss an Angel
  • Take This Regret (Regret, #1)
  • Sarah's Child (Spencer-Nyle Co, #1)
  • Annie's Song
  • Binding Arbitration (Chicago #2)
  • A Husband's Regret (Unwanted, #2)
  • My Biggest Mistake
  • Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold
  • You Can Have Manhattan
  • Archer's Voice
  • Tear Stained Beaches
See similar books…
Katherine Allred was born in Arkansas and spent her formative years there learning to love books at her grandfather's knee. When she was five, her mother remarried and moved them to Michigan, where they stayed for the next ten years. At age fifteen, the entire family moved back home to Arkansas, and she's been there ever since, except for brief stints in other countries and states while her hubby ...more

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
34 likes · 16 comments
“You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.” 656 likes
“To my surprise, Nick reached under his shirt and pulled out the half-heart pendant. With his gaze fixed on mine, he slid the chain over my head. “No one should have to go through life with only half a heart,” he whispered.” 155 likes
More quotes…