by Sarah Ockler
Reviewed by Karla Accorto
This month, Kinsey and I selected Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. It follows the life of the “Cupcake Queen of Watonka," Hudson Avery, as she struggles to keep her family together, works way too many shifts at the family diner, tries to bring her figure skating career back from the dead, and falls in love for the first time--with a boy who isn’t her boyfriend. Hudson juggles all of this at times successfully and other times at the cost of a friendship or relationship. In the end, she must decide what she really wants for her future and learn how to speak her mind.
I really enjoyed Bittersweet, as I have enjoyed most of the books Kinsey and I have reviewed. The plot was interesting and engaging. In fact, I think I finished this book at about one in the morning—way past my bedtime. The hockey boys, the main male characters in the book for the most part, seemed quite adorable and had interesting and surprisingly complex personalities. Josh, the boy sending some serious mixed signals to Hudson, was my favorite from the beginning, because of the shroud of mystery around him. He is constantly getting calls from a girl, one that Hudson automatically assumes is his girlfriend. The reader doesn’t actually find out if she is right until near the end. Hudson was also pretty likeable as well. Some of her actions annoyed me because she appeared to make the same mistakes over and over again. However, we’re all human, right? Her little brother, affectionately nicknamed, Bug, was a nice, light-hearted addition to the story as well. I especially liked the anger and guilt Hudson spent the entire book working through. It was directed toward her father and the affair she discovered three years ago that tore her family apart for good. It added a bit of realism to the story, which I liked. Because, although I do adore clichés, parts of the story could use the extra bit of realism. The ending was cute and adorable, the perfect happy ending you would expect this book to have.
All and all, this was a very well-crafted story. It was believable and it made me sigh and wish I lived in a world like this one. This was not the only book I’ve read by this author that I liked, so I highly recommend checking out her other books. I would recommend this book for freshman and up because of a few mature references. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.