Bittersweet – Sarah Ockler

Synopsis

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…

Review

This book was just like the title claimed: bittersweet. 

I loved the premise. On a hot 45°C day, nothing was better than reading about the dead of winter. The story was saccharine (cupcakes? great!), but I felt that some things were… lacking. After loving “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler, I expected more of her more recent release. Unfortunately, the writing itself seemed… worse. 

I was also frequently frustrated with Hudson. Her thoughts appeared juvenile, and the book read as such as a result. She jumped to too many conclusions (like Abby); over-thought with illogical, slippery-slope arguments; was self-absorbed; dwelled upon unimportant things (her nervousness around Josh wasn’t cute, it was eye-roll-inducing); and could have been a little better at French (hah!).

I also wished Hudson made different choices — particularly one pertaining to the Capriani Cup. I understand the point of her walking away signified her choice to move on in life after realizing what was important to her, but… my gosh, at that point, staying five more minutes would not have made that much of a difference. Yes, it was selfish of her to leave in the first place, but she should have at least had something to make of it afterwards. Considering one of her biggest regrets was giving up at 14, and considering all of her training, I wish she had performed even to provide her some closure on that chapter of her life. 

I almost wish there was something about her father as well, but I realized he was no longer a present, important part of her life and didn’t deserve to be treated as such. 

I also wish that Hudson had treated Kara better. Kara reached out a lot, but Hudson treated her rudely, and quite honestly, with a lot of disrespect that she didn’t deserve. You could tell that Hudson looked down upon her, calling her a “hockey wife” and discounting her as a person and a former friend. Kara was a significant part of her life at one point, and I wish Hudson was more appreciative of her.

I was pleased with the love interests in this story though. Will could have easily be painted as a villain, but we were given his perspective on his situation… and I almost felt sorry for him, since he seemed to genuinely like Hudson. My only qualm with Josh and Hudson was that it took so long. Considering how open and confident Josh was most of the time, it didn’t seem that realistic that Hudson had to make so many of the moves! But I’ll give him a pass for being quite the hot hockey boy.

Related Reading

  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (romance, sweets, and winter!)
  • Secret Santa – Sabrina James
  • Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler (practically the polar opposite from this book)
  • Ice Princess (2005) — not a book, but frequently pictured while reading

Rating: 4/5

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