Saturday, May 26, 2012
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Before I start this review, I'd like to say that this book totally brought me out of my slump. I'd gone so long without picking up a book that could keep my interest long enough for me to finish. However, when I started this book, I found myself making time to read it. I would lock myself in my room and not leave until I was content with a stopping point. So, thank you, Sarah Ockler for your entertaining books!
So basically this book begins with the main character recalling a moment that changed her life drastically: the finding of a cheetah bra. It's not hers, it's not her mother's, so who does it belong to? Unfortunately, she knows who it belongs to. It's a unmentioned secret the family can't force under the table anymore. Her father is having an affair, and her mother can't deny it any longer. The book opens with this event because it changes Hudson's, the main character, life drastically. For one, her fathers moves out and her parents get divorced. With her father away, the diner that belongs to Hudson's mother is slowly running down to the ground. And, perhaps most significant is the fact that Hudson no longer skates. It was a dream she had followed since she was young, and she threw it away when she purposely messed up during a big competition to get her parent's attention.
Fast forward a couple years, and you'll find Hudson spending the majority of her time at her mom's diner. And, she actually enjoys it at first, because of what she does there. Cupcakes. She bakes cupcakes now, and she's really good at it. However, her enjoyment of working there soon fades away when her mother asks her to take on another role: a waitress. Not only is she very clumsy, but she also doesn't appreciate older men leering at her while she works. She knows her mom needs her help though, so she agrees to the job. All at once it seems, her life is becoming a clustered chaos, and not just because of her new job.
Around this time, Hudson gets a letter in the mail. Her old skating coach has died and all of her teacher's skating students are being asked to join a competition for a scholarship. Hudson knows more than anything that she wants to get out of this town, but she hasn't skated since that day she threw it all away. Needless to say, she's very rusty. After a lot of thinking, she makes the decision to try for it anyway; however, she keeps this piece of information from her mother, which makes her life an even more complicated mess, because she has to focus on how she can practice without her mother getting suspicious. Enter: her school hockey team, a cute boy, and an opportunity.
By chance, Hudson runs into (quite literally) Josh, a cute hockey player, who says the hockey team could use some help on technique if she's interested in helping. After some contemplating, she takes up the opportunity and now has so much on her plate: practicing ice skating, teaching the barbaric hockey team some new tricks, keeping her mother satisfied, and she has to be able to watch her adorable little brother all at the same time. Let's just say she's very busy these days.
As you can tell, there are a lot of plot lines here, and one could easily lose their way while trying to fit the whole story in together, but Ockler does an amazing job at keeping the story moving and everything flowing well. Not only that, each character is developed well, and I find that Hudson is character that I really like. For one, she is able to juggle everything while still keeping a smile on her face, most of the time anyway, and she doesn't let anything bring her down for long. She's strong, and that plays a major role in the decision she makes at the end of the book. (Not going to tell you what it is! You're going to have to read this yourself to find out.)
This is the second book I've read by Sarah Ockler, the first being Twenty Boy Summer, and I find myself liking this book more, because it's more memorable and I feel that she's improved in her writing. I really recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read, AND anyone looking for some yummy cupcake recipes along the way. Why, you ask? Because each chapter starts with a delicious cupcake idea.
As a reader, I found Bittersweet very likable and it was very easy to lose myself in the entertaining world Sarah Ockler created. Don't think that this book is a cookie-cutter-girls-meets-boy teenage novel, because it's not. I can't stand those, and I really liked this! Go out and read this book, because you won't regret it.