November 30, 2012
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review Source: Read through Pulse It website
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...
To be honest I feel like this is a great example of an absolutely perfect YA contemp. It involves family, friends, and romance, and it does a good job with each of these aspects. I especially enjoyed Hudson’s relationship with her little brother, Bug. Bug is incredibly cute, and the two have such an affectionate and sweet relationship. Bug is also incredibly precocious, but I liked how while he was that “boy genius” character he was also true to life with naive moments and childlike sensibilities.
This book also has an awesome list of “themes” going for it. It involves cupcakes, a family restaurant, figure skating, hockey (including hockey boys!), and a perfect wintery atmosphere. I really enjoyed the Buffalo, NY area setting, since that’s a place not too far from where I live. I enjoyed recognizing the setting, the weather, and the feel of the town. I also loved the hockey aspect. It was a lot of fun for me to read about since you don’t get to see hockey mentioned very often in YA novels, and it’s the only sport I actually watch.
Hudson, our main character, is a lot of fun. I remember shaking my head and saying “oh Hudson” (with affection) a lot of the time when I was reading the book. She’s a girl you can cheer for even as she makes mistakes and has her priorities all mixed up. She’s frustrating at times, but she has a good heart, and you keep hoping that she will learn from her mistakes.
I mentioned how the book features friends, family, and romance. I love how the romance was a good part of the book, but it wasn’t the whole story. It was swoony and sweet enough to keep romance fans happy, but it doesn’t overpower the plot. Whether you’re a big romance fan or not I think most readers will fall for the sweet and shy Josh.
Conclusion? A lot of fun, and a perfect winter read. I’m a big fan of Sarah Ockler’s, and I definitely recommend this to all contemporary romance fans, especially readers of Sarah Dessen. Also be sure to have your own cupcakes ready because you will definitely want to eat them as you read about Hudson’s baking (there's a new cupcake description with each chapter!).
Cute! Although why the cookie, I'm not sure. *shrugs*
Find Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler on Goodreads, Book Depository, Amazon.