Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Published: January 3, 2012 Buy from Amazon
Source: unsolicited ARC from Simon Pulse
I freaking love cupcakes. I’m one of those cupcake eaters that eat the cake first then make my way to the top because I save the best for last—the frosting. Hudson Avery is the Queen of Cupcakes; she’s a gal that I’ll love to be an assistant to. Just pay me in cupcakes and I’ll be happy.
But Hudson’s life right now isn’t so great. Her skating dreams are over; her mom’s dream of owning a diner will tank unless a new review will put Hurley’s Homestyle Diner back on the map; her dad is living a new life that doesn’t include his daughter or son; and Hudson is trapped in little Watonka, New York.I’ve been following Sarah Ockler ever since her debut novel, Twenty Boy Summer, and I eagerly wait for what she has for the readers. Bittersweet, formally titled the language of impossible dreams, is what you would expect from Sarah Ockler: good read with characters you wouldn’t expect and a storyline that touches the heart. Yet, for me, there’s always something missing about her books that don’t make me hold the book to my chest, carry it around and shove it in other people’s faces yelling “Read this!”
Until, that is, Hudson gets the chance to compete in a skating competition for a $50,000 scholarship.
Maybe it was the characters that I liked, but thought could have been stronger. It’s easy to be empathic to Hudson, but it’s harder to like her. Maybe it’s because you can see a lot of yourself in her and that stuff isn’t so good. Hudson would a difficult friend to have; she locks herself in and is prone to live her own little world. Bittersweet is Hudson’s journey to finding her happiness in life and that journey isn’t smooth.
Will and Josh, co-captains to the Watonka hockey team, are more likeable than Hudson. But Josh, the boy that the reader will definitely pine for is less developed than Will. Since Josh is the main love interest I was disappointed seeing him fade to the back whenever Will comes to the scene. Will is much more dynamic than Josh with a stronger background story and a multifaceted personality.
Then I wished the readers knew more about Dani and Kara. They seemed interesting, but I knew them as Hudon’s friend and former best friend than Dani and Kara.
But I absolutely adore—love!—Bug (Hudson’s baby brother). He’s part mad-scientist, part explorer, part adorable brother who helps around the house, part son-whose-never-really-known-his-father. Bug is the comic relief to Bittersweet and yet he’s fragile enough that you want to protect him from everything that’s bad.
Bittersweet is just that, bittersweet. The sweetest of the cupcakes and the tingly feelings from young love versus the bitterness of divorce and its crumbling effects.
I much prefer the old cover to the new one because a) Hudson bakes cupcakes, not cookies and b) hot chocolate is part of the story. Well there's also c) that doesn't look like a really good cookie I would eat.