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…
First off, I want to say that I love this cover. The colors go great and I love the heart with the puzzle pieces. I just wish it had a cupcake on it instead of a cookie. Only because a HUGE chunk of the story is about cupcakes. Every chapter features one. (Note: Be sure to have something to nibble on when you read this, because it will indeed make you hungryyyy.)
I also really liked this refreshing bit of realistic fiction. Everything was done like a movie. From the ice skating, to the hockey, to the females and their fights between friends. It was extremely believable and even taught me a thing or two about two sports I knew nothing about before hand.
The best thing about this book was the characters. Bug was sooo cute and so funny. I pictured him with some huge glasses that magnified his eyes like a real bug. And I loved that he was so smart. Its not normal that characters are that age and at that level. Then there was Josh. He was definitely swoon worthy. With me being such a music fanatic, I would have fallen for him with that first jump drive. As for Dani, I really didn't know what to think about her. Although she was nice, she was also a little needy too. It was like she couldn't do anything without Hudson. It just seemed a little awkward for me. Lastly, Hudson was an amazing MC. I was immersed in her snark and sarcasm. Her wit made the book.
The one thing I did not like about the book was everyone's selfishness. It just seemed like everyone was more into what they wanted and didn't care about Hudson. Like she had so much on her shoulders and she was just a teenager. I understand that she didn't want something, but at the same time she needed to figure it out for herself. Not have everyone mad at her because she wanted to do it.
This book was the perfect winter read. With all the snow and ice it more than made of for the lack of cold weather here in Texas. Although the weather in the book was cold, Bittersweet didn't fail to warm me up with love and laughter. (Ok maybe that was a bit corny, but its 100% true lol)
Enter the hockey team and co-captains Will and Josh, AKA one of the very few love triangles I will actually spring for. I seriously don’t like love triangles, but the one portrayed in Bittersweet was realistic and genuine as opposed to fake and gimmicky. As captains of the hockey team (which is on a ten-year losing streak), Will and Josh recruit Hudson to help train their players, using techniques she learned as a figure skater. In exchange, Hudson scores free ice time so she can get back in shape and compete for a scholarship.
Hudson is a confused, flawed, but likeable person. She’s internalized a lot of bad things and she blames herself for things she shouldn’t. She chases after Will even when her ex-best friend (also Will’s ex-girlfriend) warns her off. She gives Josh mixed signals because she can’t speak openly with him. She alienates her new best friend, Dani, because she’s self-centered and imagining herself anywhere but home. By the middle of the book, Hudson’s entire life is in pieces, and that’s where the perfection of Sarah Ockler’s storytelling comes into play.
More than anything else, Bittersweet is about how Hudson figures herself out and starts heading down a path that she wants to be on. It’s a book about self-discovery and acceptance, of letting the past go and looking toward the future. And don’t we all need books like that in our life?
Relationships play a huge role in this book. Hudson’s relationships with her mother and little brother. Her relationships with her former best friend and current best friend. Her relationships with the two hockey captains, Will and Josh. Watching the dynamics between Hudson the various people in her life, how they stick together or fall apart, was unbelievably realistic and touching. I fully applaud Ockler for that.
It also should be noted that Bittersweet is, above all, a fluffy, cutesy novel. In my opinion, I found Hudson’s story to be substantial and authentic, but this is cheesy contemporary nevertheless. However, because the book isn’t romance-centric, and because the protagonist is actually someone I could stand behind and root for, I wasn’t put off by the fluff. Simply because, by and large, Bittersweet is too adorable not to love.
On a final note, I’d like to mention that the ending—the final three chapters—are spectacular. Ockler really found a way to give everyone involved a happily-ever-after that didn’t cloy or seem false. Hudson showed that she had truly grown as a person, and I was seriously impressed with the young woman she became over the course of the novel.
As someone who has never seen snow before, reading a book about ice skating and winter and snow and all of that fun wintery stuff was so awesome. I wanted to be in Watonka with Hudson and Bug and drinking hot chocolate and eating the weirdest yet most delicious sounding cupcakes ever.
As for the characters in Bittersweet, I loved Hudson, but she did drive me crazy at some points. She would not make up her mind! Of course, you know, not that I’m able to make up my mind ever, but I did want to shake her and give her a little push in the right directions. But I loved her character growth throughout Bittersweet. I thought it was very well done and I was very happy with her decisions at the end.
And the boy thing. There were a lot of awesome boys in Bittersweet, from the hockey team to Josh and Will, but my favourite was Bug. He was the cutest, most awesome little brother ever. He had the greatest quirks and I just wanted to make him my little brother. He rocked. The secondary characters in Bittersweet were all pretty amazing and three dimensional, but he was absolutely my favourite.
And I have to make a quick mention of the chapter headings – they are CUPCAKE RECIPES. I seriously need to try to make every single one.
Overall, I loved Bittersweet so much. There’s romance and cupcakes and ice skating and it told a really great and moving story about family struggling in their own ways. If you love contemporaries, I definitely recommend Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler.
Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2012/01/bittersweet-by-sarah-ockler/
I adored everything about Bittersweet from the characters to the cupcakes.
Let’s start with Hudson. I could completely relate to her need to escape the small town. I really appreciated her determination to do it too, even if it caused her some problems along the way. I think the thing I adored the most about her was how normal she was, though. When the mini-love triangle popped up she didn’t just sit there and wiffle-waffle about it, she did something. I also kind of wish I was as talented as her in the cupcake/business department :P
Will. I’m not sure if I was supposed to like him or not, but I just didn’t. He was way too cocky despite his attempts at sweetness sometimes.
Oh, Josh. He was so sweet and adorable; I wish there had been more of him in the story! Don’t get me wrong, I really like how the romance played out, I just would have liked to see him a little more.
Bug was adorable. I loved the way Hudson cared for him. I liked his crazy little personality and his love for Mr. Napkins.
I really like Hudson’s friendship with Dani. It’s not often you see a friendship playing an integral part in the story these days. It was such a normal friendship, too! It had its ups and downs, of course, but Dani wasn’t a backstabbing jerk. She was just regular friend who acted like most would in that situation.
The setting was great too. I liked the wintery town, the crazy diner, and all the ice time. Winter is my favorite season so it was cool to see a town completely covered in snow for the entire story. The diner was kind of like how you’d expect an old-school diner to be, but this time you get to see behind-the-scenes to all the craziness that happens. Though I know absolutely nothing about hockey or ice skating, I still really liked reading about them. The way Ockler writes about made me feel like I did understand it.
The Nutshell: Bittersweet should go in the contemporary hall of fame. It has absolutely fantastic characters ranging from crazy younger brothers to best friends to boys to a surly hockey team. It also doesn’t follow the typical love interest formula of find the guy, get the guy, have problems, get the guy again. If you like contemporary or are simply looking for a good place to start, this is definitely your book. You need it in your life, like two days ago.
I loved this book. It was my first Sarah Ockler novel and I have to say I cannot wait to read the others she has written and whatever else is to come. Great story and better yet great cupcake ideas! If you plan on reading this book get some cupcakes first because with a recipe at the start of every chapter you will sure want a little dessert with your love story. Now usually my favorite part of any story is the romance or love story. However in this novel the relationship that captured my heart was between Hudson and her little brother Bug. Probably because Bug is what I call my son. There relationship reminded me somewhat of my son and I. Baking is our thing. Also my son is a huge hockey fan. This book just seemed to have so much more in it for me than just the love story. I would highly recommend reading this book. However like I stated before make sure you have some cupcakes to go with your love story!