Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler Review

BittersweetBittersweet by Sarah Ockler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.... 

My take: I started out wondering how the elements of this book would pull together and if there was anything beyond a cute story. I don't mind a cute story but I like some meat, too. I was pleasantly surprised.

Hudson is a closet ice skater. She used to compete and was incredibly good then something happened three years ago where she felt responsible for the breaking up of her parents marriage and she purposely blew a major competition. The fallout included a divorce, her dad took a clean break, the house sold, they moved into a small apartment with mom, little brother and Hud, and poured their life into Mom's diner, Hurley, while Hudson buried herself in a new hobby; making cupcakes.

Meanwhile, Hudson lost her best friend and the sport she used to love that lost its sparkle. So she keeps a secret from everybody except her new best friend, Dani, that she goes out on Lake Erie and skates on her breaks. Where she runs into, literally, Josh, co-captain of the hockey team who asks her to teach him how to skate better. At the same time, she finds out a major competition with scholarship money attached is upcoming and she sees a way out of her current life.

So the story continues with these odd elements of Hudson and the hockey team, Hudson and Josh, Hudson and Will, Hudson and her cupcakes, Hudson and her Dani, cameo appearances by her former best friend, Hudson and her little brother and Hudson and her mom. Where is this going and how do they relate?

Well, in the end, they do.They tie together with the comings and goings of the train and the seagulls. There are lessons to be learned about appreciating what you have and prioritizing. There are also lessons about substantial goals and choosing the best parts of life. Hudson wants to get out of the town and away from Hurley's. But she doesn't know what she really wants to do when she leaves. Leaving is her goal and is reflected by the comings and goings of the train, the seagulls, and her wanting to skate to Canada. Ultimately, she has to step back and figure out who and what is important to her and what the costs are.

It's an excellent teen book.

Language - relatively clean
Swearing - Moderate but nothing strong.
Sex - Some implication of possibilities but only if the reader has an active imagination.
Dialogue - relatively clean
Violence - Hudson's crashes on the ice.


Jessica (Peace Love Books) said...

Ooooh I'm so glad you liked it! I'm so looking forward to reading this one!!! Great review :)

Damaris said...

I was thinking of starting this one next, but I wasn't sure until I read your review. Now I am a little excited to start reading it.

Great review!

Dea (IvaliceAlliance) said...

I'm so excited to read this one! Great review Nancy. "Sex - Some implication of possibilities but only if the reader has an active imagination." LOL