Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

imageHudson can't wait to get out of Watonka, her working-class town outside of Buffalo. Once upon a time, her talent as a skater was going to be her ticket out... but when her parents' marriage unraveled three years ago, so did her dreams. Now, she buries herself in making cupcakes for her mom's diner and imagining her parallel life where she went on to skate to glory. But when she gets a letter inviting her to audition for a skating scholarship *and* the hockey team asks for her help with their technique (read: free ice time for Hudson), it's impossible to ignore the signs. Is she ready to get back on the ice? Could this be her ticket out? Hudson's determined not to let anything stand in her way. But between baking and waitressing at the diner, the love triangle that's developing with two outrageously cute hockey boys, and the simmering drama with her best friend, her future is anything but certain...

This book is *so* adorable. It isn’t a secret that I’m a big fan of Sarah Ockler’s books. Her debut Twenty Boy Summer awed me with how well Ockler could capture the teen voice. Her sophomore novel Fixing Delilah was adorably and brutally honest. And now there’s Bittersweet- her third novel. I had really high expectations for Bittersweet. Every single one of those expectations was met.

Hudson is an awesome main character. Her parents breaking up really changes her, but she makes the best of it. Instead of moping about the separation during the book, she decides to make the best of the situation that’s been handed to her. Yes, she stopped figure skating- her dream. But she started making cupcakes (all of the cupcakes she makes sound so yummy) and helping out her mom. Hudson had such a strong voice, and Ockler nailed writing it.

I loved that Bittersweet didn’t just focus on one thing. It had the light and fluffy bits- cupcakes (yum!), ice hockey, and adorable hockey boys. It also had a more serious, thoughtful side- Hudson dealing with her parents divorce, her own personal struggles while trying to figure out her future, and just general teenage angst.

I highly recommend Bittersweet. If it were up to me, I would make you all go out to your local independent bookstore and buy a copy right now. Bittersweet is an adorable novel that has more than what meets the eye. Sarah Ockler is an extremely talented writer.

FTC- Received for review