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.

summary from book

My Rating: 4/5

Sarah Ockler is a wonderful author; this novel is a wonderful book. I've been reading Sarah's novels since the publication of her first book, Twenty Boy Summer back in 2009 which was a fantastic surprise in the best way. Since that time, I've waited patiently and looked forward to all of Ockler's novels, none of which have disappointed. If any of you love contemporary YA as much as I do then Sarah Ockler is definitely someone you should be reading.

Bittersweet is a story about discovering dreams and coming into your own. It tracks the life of Hudson and follows her through a period in her life where a lot of different things are happening and where change is imminent. With this comes a lot of chaos, tender moments, and well, cute boys. This book encapsulates all the milestones that I appreciate in contemporary novels: there are realistic characters which experience growth, true to life situations and moments which everyone can understand and possibly even relate to.

The hockey element I loved. I read so many novels where there's football and other warm climate sports but never really hockey. As someone who grew up around the sport and the culture that comes with it, I found this aspect extremely enjoyable and nice to read about. Plus having Hudson interacting with a team full of hockey boys was a fun aspect to read about also as it paved the way for a lot of fun scenes and entertaining dialogue.

The romance aspect of this novel was sweet. It was definitely more of a sub-plot which I appreciated as Hudson's story was extremely redeemable and important on its own. Romance sub-plots however are always welcome and appreciated on my end. While I don't mind a romance plot being the main attribute and device of any YA novel, it is nice to experience change every now and then and have it take a sort of backseat. Having it be a slightly subdued characteristic is not a bad thing, especially not when the protagonist's story has a lot of depth on its own.

So much of our life is shaped by relationships of all sorts including those besides romantic. Bittersweet also manages to incorporate other important relationships that are for many an important constant, these being family and friendship. The relationship between Hudson and her brother was extremely nice and enjoyable not to mention sweet. I also enjoyed the chaotic relationship between Hudson and her father. This book traces what their relationship once was and its current manifestation. Hudson's mother is also equally important as are Hudson's friends, both old and new.

Overall: Bittersweet is a great contemporary read. If you love Sarah Ockler's past novels then you definitely don't need me to tell you to pick this one up. Lovers and appreciators of contemporary YA should place Ockler on their radar. 



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