Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"Bittersweet" by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
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…
I've loved all of Sarah Ockler's books and this one was no different. In fact, this one is my favorite of hers. I liked the small town setting and all the characters that go along with a small town. I also really liked that it was set in the winter, snow and all. I am a former northerner, and even though I don't miss the snow, I ended up really enjoying being stuck in the middle of it with Hudson and her life. I loved Hudson, and not just because her and I have the former skater thing in common. Hudson really sucks, sometimes. She's inconsiderate, selfish, and not always nice, but I thought that made her more relatable as a character. People aren't always nice and they don't always do the right thing, right away, sometimes they never do the right thing. Hudson had a lot of people who cared about her, but they also really depended on her. Instead of sharing things with them, she ended up with a lot of secrets and friendships and relationships started getting strained because of it. She worked at her mother's restaurant, Hurley's, and this is where a lot of the story took place. It's also where the majority of the characters were in the story. Her best friend, Dani, is a waitress and the two of them were hilarious together. Dani was loud and outgoing to Hudson's more reserved and introverted personality. I was a lot like Dani in high school, so that endeared her more to me. Even though she was more of a side character, she was just as real as Hudson and made the story that much more enjoyable. I want to gush about Hudson's little brother, Bug, just a bit. He was absolutely precious and too smart for his own good. Every time he was in the story, I just wanted to hug him. He's such a fun kid and I'm sure everyone would love a sibling just like him. I'm also a huge fan of the wolf pack, also known as the school hockey team. I just love the dynamic when a girl is dropped in the middle of a group of guys. They tease and taunt, but slowly you watch them develop true affection for one another.
The cupcakes, oh the cupcakes! Every chapter is titled with a different kind of cupcake. They all sounded so yummy! I think there should be a warning printed in the dust jacket flap that warns you that the side effect of reading this book is craving large amounts of baked goods. Preferably frosted ones! Cupcakes were Hudson's thing. They started as a coping mechanism, when her parents split, but by the time we meet her they were a big part of her life. I loved how Sarah Ockler incorporated what Hudson was feeling, into the different recipes. So clever. Of course, there is more to this story than characters and cupcakes. Hudson's training for skating again, but hiding it from her mom. She's helping the hockey team, but missing out on time with her best friend. She's got a boy who likes her and is doing something about it. And she's got a boy who she likes, but he's giving crazy mixed signals. This girl has all kinds of things going on in her world and on top of it all, she's battling to figure out what it is she really wants out of life.
This is a story about a girl who is desperate to leave her life behind and get back the life she thought she was supposed to have, but along the way she finds out that maybe she really belongs somewhere in between. I definitely recommend this one, it's most definitely worth the read. And while you're at it, if you haven't read Sarah Ockler's other books, you really should :0)