Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. 

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….

Sarah Ockler has secured herself a place on my must-buy author list. I really enjoyed her previous two novels Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah but I think her third release, Bittersweet, is my favourite. 

On the surface, there is not big drama or conflict in the book: it is a coming of age book involving ice skating, friendship, cupcakes, hockey boys and family. Yet, Ockler masterfully builds tension, in a quiet and compelling way the whole way through (with an achey mess of a climax, poor Hudson). It's not just the tension that kept me reading all night long (I finished at 4am), it is the way Ockler writes: her prose is gorgeous, rich but never overbearing, her sentiments so beautifully expressed it is easy for me as a reader to get swept up in the characters lives. 

But for me, my favourite part of this book is, by far, the characters. Each character, whether major or minor, was so nuanced, so lovingly crafted, that the whole book springs to life. The relationship between Hudson and her mum and her brother so perfectly depicted. The friendships, their good times and bads, so real and achey and fun and true. 

The whole book feels incredibly vivid ~ from the people to the winter-y setting, to Hudson's emotions ~ all of it, just truly wonderful. 

For those who know my reading taste ~ this book completely delivered for me. Compelling characters, vivid setting, engaging drama (without being melodramatic) and gorgeous, envy-inducing prose. 

And I saved the best until last (because loving a book is not just about falling for the boy...): Ockler knows how to create her love interests. There's plentyof swooning and aching between Hudson and Josh, co-captain of the ice hockey team. Josh has made it securely onto my swoon-y hall of fame - loved all of Josh's scenes ;)

Oh, how I love this book ~ this is one for all fans of contemporary YA at its finest. 

Bittersweet @ goodreads


  1. Oh, this sounds lovely. I have yet to read a Sarah Ockler - maybe this should be my first, though I do have an ARC of Fixing Delilah sitting on my shelf.

    (She always gets the most beautiful covers as well - I adore the puzzle piece heart and the sky blue of this one.)

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I'm so happy you liked this book, I think I'll be reading it soon and I'm glad to hear it's good.

    I agree that Ockler's prose is amazing though I wasn's such a fan of Twenty Boy summer and I didn't bother with Fixing Delilah, but this book keeps calling to me so I'm going to give it a chance.

    Thanks for the awesome review.

  3. Did you see the book trailer? It's so cute and has me craving some cupcakes.

    This is on my pb to-buy list! :) Along with Fixing Delilah which I missed somehow. I love the way you described this book and how you felt about it! Also I reckon "achey" is going to catch on one of these days. ;)

    1. someone showed me the trailer yesterday (I *had* meant to include it in my review... oh, well.

      x Nomes

  4. I keep hearing great stuff about this one. Awesome review. I love a book that delivers me characters that stick with me.

  5. OOH very excited you loved this one, I've loved Sarah Ocklers previous novels so I can't wait to read this one. A gorgeously worded review :)

  6. All I can say is, YAY. Yay yay yay! I feel the same about Ockler, and I just discovered Bittersweet, and dang it all, I just can't wait.

    Thanks Nomes!

  7. I can't believe I haven't read a Ockler novel yet, but all you have to do is mention your swoon-y hall of fame and I'm sold!!! A crushalbe guy pair with great character development is what I'm always looking for. I'll definitely check this one out.

  8. I read TBS and really liked it, Fixing Delilah, not so much. Think I would like this despite FD not being for me? And yes, she knows how to tug on your heart. I really love her writing.

  9. I just read this one too! Love the cupcakes, it did annoy me that there is a biscuit on the cover rather than a cupcake though!

  10. I'm still REALLY new to YA contemp... I used to kind of skim over reviews for them *deeply ashamed*

    I can't believe what I was missing... this sounds... amazing! Especially after Anna, I'm on the lookout for more--perfect timing; amazing review. THANK YOU! xx

  11. I think I'm really going to like this one despite the fact that I wasn't crazy over FD. I did enjoy TBS a lot.

    I've also heard that there are a few technical mistakes in this as far as the ice skating thing goes, but hey, I'm not an ice skater so i don't think it'll bother me too much.

    Will put it on my list - great review!

  12. I'm looking forward to this one! I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed it. I was impressed by Twenty Boy Summer, and this one sounds a bit lighter but hopefully just as good. Sounds like it really delivers on characterization!

  13. sounds so good, i love the cover.
    i've seen this in the school library and will deffinetly be getting it out when school starts.
    the cupcakes and hockey thing really attracts me aswell, two of my favourite things. though i prefer field hockey to ice :p

    great review.

  14. Oh I agree, this was really good. Twenty Boy Summer is still my favourite of hers (weird that it's her debut... usually I tend to like 2nd or 3rd books more), but I really liked this one, especially the setting. It was so perfect and wintery... and, well, I could imagine it perfectly because it takes place only a couple of hours from me. But yes, the hockey boys... sawoon, I loved Josh so much, and just everything about it was pretty wonderful.

  15. Ahhh I love this book so much. So glad you like it too! It has possibly surpassed TBS as my favorite of her books.

  16. Gorgeous review. I hadn't even heard of this one, but it's definitely on my TBR list now, especially as it contains a boy who has made your swoony hall of fame :D

  17. I still remember reading Twenty Boy Summer which I really loved and it was so heart-breaking. I really need to read Bittersweet, it sounds awesome! Glad you enjoyed it, Nomes! Awesome review! :)

  18. I'm glad you loved this one so much! For some reason, I didn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted to and it left me feeling a little more "meh" about this one than her other books.

    I think Fixing Delilah is definitely my favorite, although I did enjoy this one too!

    And MAN did it make me crave a cupcake.

  19. Nice website! I enjoy a couple of of the articles which were written, and especially the comments posted! I will definately be visiting again!

  20. Bittersweet was light and entertaining with just enough substance to make it really enjoyable.


Thanks for the commenty love :)