Monday, April 30, 2012

"Bittersweet" by Sarah Ockler

378 pages

Three years ago, Hudson had her future all figured out. She was on track to become one of the top figure skaters in the country, and then it would be on to the Olympics. All of a sudden, in one day, her life fell apart. Afterward, she abandoned skating and focused on working in her mother's diner and creating amazing new cupcake recipes. Now she's seventeen, and when an opportunity to skate again comes up she can't keep her mind off it. She begins training again--in secret. In secret at first, that is. When one of the members of her school's embarrassingly bad hockey team sees her on the ice, he talks her into helping the team learn to skate better. Turns out, one of those hockey players is special--so special that he makes Hudson want to tear down the walls she's built around herself and let someone in. Problem is, he's sending some seriously mixed signals. To make matters more complicated, an old crush (also on the team) is suddenly paying attention to her as well. Hudson has to figure out what she really wants--with the guys, with her skating, and with the rest of her life. 

Only Sarah Ockler can get me to read such "girly" books. Thing is, her stories are about so much more than just romance. I didn't like this one quite as much as her amazing Twenty Boy Summer, but that really doesn't say much. Bittersweet has the same depth and lovable, believable characters that Ockler is so skilled at bringing to life. Even though I know nothing about figure skating or baking, I found plenty to relate to in Hudson. Most of us have been confused about who we are and what we want to do with our lives at some point, so we feel for Hudson as she deals with all of these issues. I really loved the ending, too. Part of it is totally predictable, but I didn't care because it's what I wanted to happen. A different part of the conclusion completely surprised me, so there is some variety there. Also, I was glad that it ended on a happy note but everything wasn't completely fixed and wrapped up with a bow--it would seem fake if it had a fairy tale ending. I'll definitely be recommending this one to Ockler fans and anyone who wants a story that will not only entertain but also make them think. 

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