Saturday, January 21, 2012

book review: 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….

I was thrilled with this book! As a guy, it may not seem like a book I would read, but there's something you should know about me. I live in Duluth (which has lake-effect storms), my dad ices our backyard every year to make an ice rink (meaning I'm familiar with the freedom of ice activities), and I enjoy nearly any book that has hilarious characters, a fantastic plot, and intrigue to boot! And let's face it... cupcakes. That said, this book was just the cat's pajamas for me. And if you like just a plain awesome, fantastic book too, I highly recommend it to you!

We'll start with plot. Sarah Ockler did wonders with this book. When starting, I was thinking, Oh, it's going to be like the Cutting Edge or Cutting Edge 2 or Cutting Edge 3 or... I think you get my point. But there is so much more you can do in the winter world of ice skating and hockey. This book is the perfect example. An ex-figure skating champion, Hudson hung up her skates and hid her cares away behind the facade of the "Cupcake Queen of Watonka" at her mother's diner. Now, three years have passed, and she wants out. She wants out of the small Lake Erie town. Out of the messed up dynamics that she calls her home life. Just out. Then, everything starts happening. Her opportunities arise with a letter in the mail, smoldering into an active, raging fire as the winter continues. "She has another shot at her dreams." What will she do? I can guarantee you it's a fantastic journey!

The characters! By far some of my favorites in literary terms so far. I don't want to disclose everything about the plot and such, as I want you to find out for yourself ;), so here are just two of my favorite characters that had me smiling a ridiculous smile throughout the book. First, Hudson's younger brother Bug. Probably the most intelligent 8-year-old ever, he's just amazing. Turtle-shell glasses, smarter than all get out, and witty comebacks that catch you off guard at times, I could definitely see him as clear as day. Another one of my favorite characters was Dani, Hudson's co-worker and best friend. Going for not-smoke breaks, making jokes practically all the time, and playing an integral part in the story, she was just a hoot! Ah! I can't tell you enough!

On to Ockler's writing. I was thoroughly impressed with Sarah here. I have never read one of her books before, but I have a respect for any writer that can create what she's done here. While reading, I could feel the suspense throb. I just had to turn that next page and begin the chapter. Her descriptions, so lively, so accurate! I could feel the lake effect snow. I could sense Hudson's anticipation to leave, her feelings rise and fall with each decision she made. Amazing. It takes a veteran seamstress to stitch a quilt like that. Go, Sarah Ockler! :)

My verdict. I recommend this book to everyone near and far. I could go on for hours gushing about it, but I want to pass the puck onto your rink. (See what I did there?) It's not just about figure-skating, or hockey, or cupcakes... It's about life! I definitely hope to see this on the big screen one day. When it happens, I hope they don't change a thing about it. YES, IT'S THAT PERFECT!

If that review's not enough for you, take a look at the commercial for the book. It's what got me hooked on the book in the first place. :)

'Til next time!


  1. OH MY GOSH I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU READ THIS BOOK!!! Mostly because like you said it doesn't really seem like something a guy would read. But dang, I'm so glad you read it because I love this book to bits. It's SO AMAZING. You should read Sarah Ocklers other books too. I love everything she's written. :)

  2. I'm considering it. However, I'm currently working on some John Green stuff. :) "Looking for Alaska," "The Fault in Our Stars," "An Abundance of Katherines," etc. all look good! After that, maybe more Ockler!


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