December 23, 2012

Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 378
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

This one really rates a 3 and a half for me, I think, but the cupcakes (and the sarcasm) really pushed me to give it the 4 stars. Can you really blame me? Those things sound DELICIOUS. I want Sarah Ockler to make a cupcake cookbook RIGHT NOW so I can buy a copy for myself and for my friend Daniella and then we can take turns baking all of them and making our friends nice and fat. Which we do anyway, OBVI, but the cupcakes would be a fun, new experiment.

Let's break this down:

D'you guys remember that movie Waitress with Keri Russell and the stunningly phenomenal Nathan Fillion? So the chapter names of this book are kind of like that. Except instead of pie, we get CUPCAKES. Not to mention this book reminds me a little of Sarah Dessen, who's my favsies, so double hurray!

But there's a lot of other stuff going on in this book.

To start with, let's take a look at the characters. I'll preface by saying that I might not love them each and every one of them all of the time, but I get why they do what they do.

First, Hudson. I can't say I totally love Hudson all the time. She's kind of a terrible friend. But I get where she's coming from. A lot of really bad things happen to her and she has to deal with a lot of things she really shouldn't have to deal with. So I guess I get her but at the same time I still want to yell at her sometimes. Except for when she gets all "Mom, lay off, I'm a kid not a grow up." All feels of dislike disappear in that scene.

But I straight up just love Josh, Dani and Bug. So cute. Just wanna huggles them. I even like Kara at the end of it all. I really can't blame her for anything and she's SUPER NICE, regardless. Will, of course, can go shove it. What a jerk. But he's a typical teenage boy, so that's legit.

As for the plot - it's a little rough, I think, because of Hudson's motives. I mean, at first she's all internally boy crazy. I didn't hate that. It was kind of cute and fairly realistic. But, at a certain point, her boy craziness takes away from the focus on skating. The skating, in my mind, is supposed to be the thing she thinks will fix everything but then she realizes it won't but that's okay (ie plot of the book). Except it gets cut into by this love triangle looking thing going on between her, Will and Josh. I feel like the book is a giant tug of war between Hudson's family/skating issues and the boy craziness when it really shouldn't be. It should be about the skating and the cupcakes with a side of one, adorable boy instead.

Plot issue aside, I LOVE ALL OF THE SARCASM. I love the sarcasm, I love the narration, I love the italicized onomatopoeias. It's so giggly and so very me (I LOVE onomatopoeias). It all makes me want to hunt down Sarah Ockler and become her best friend so we can be snarky and bake cupcakes together forever. Just amazing.

The long and short of it?

Plot: A little conflicted.
World Building: Love the small town, Upstate New York thing. Also, I totally love the skating. And the diner. God, I love diners.
Character Development: I don't always love everyone, but the motivations are sound, so even if I don't love 'em, I have to respect 'em.
Prose: Snarktastic
Would I Recommend This Book?: For the love of all of the cupcakes, yes. But maybe for the love of a more directed conflict, you should take this one out of the library.


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