Bittersweet

( 37 )

Overview

From the author of Twenty Boy Summer, a teen pushes the limits to follow her dreams—and learns there’s a fine line between bitter and sweet....

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 ...

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Bittersweet

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Overview

From the author of Twenty Boy Summer, a teen pushes the limits to follow her dreams—and learns there’s a fine line between bitter and sweet....

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....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ockler concocts an appetizing blend of personalities, drama, and passion in a story of bitter disappointments and sweet successes. Hudson was a champion ice skater until she learned a terrible secret about her father and hung up her skates. Three years later, her greatest claim to fame is baking scrumptious cupcakes for her mother's failing diner. But when Hudson is invited to enter a skating competition with a ,000 scholarship prize, she's tempted to take a second chance at stardom on the ice. There are complications, of course. She has little time to practice and, in exchange for access to the local rink, Hudson has agreed to help her school's hockey team overcome their losing streak by teaching them some moves. Then there are the two handsome hockey players vying for her attention. Offering a non-glamorized depiction of competitive skating, Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer) expresses Hudson's anxieties as she tries to prioritize her commitments and dreams. Her love of the sport is deeply felt, and her regrets about the past and her fears about the future are heart-wrenchingly real. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"If this doesn't make you want to eat a cupcake, cuddled up under a warm blanket on a cold winters night with a mug of hot chocolate than I don't know what will. This book is so well crafted from the sweet winter romance, to the icy back drop from the winter season in the small town of Watonka, NY to the ice skating and ice hockey subplots and the deliciously described cupcakes. I adored everything about this well-written story." —mundiemoms.blogspot.com

“An entertaining read with an engaging, relatable protagonist. Hudson’s lively first-person narrative is both wry and sympathetic, and it incorporates issues ranging from self-discovery to family and relationship complexities, along with identifying and following your dreams.” —Booklist

"Any reader who has ever wondered or worried about their place in the world will easily connect to this charming, funny novel." —teenreads.com

"At its heart, this story is about family, community, and communication, and Hudson narrates it with warmth and wry humor. Bittersweet is a book worth recommending." —School Library Journal

"Hudson’s conflicting emotions are richly realized... an engaging and sometimes emotionally challenging read..." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Hudson Avery is a talented figure skater, or at least she was before her last competition, which she intentionally threw after she discovered that her father was having an affair. Three years after that disastrous night, she, her brother, and her mother work hard at their family diner to make ends meet. Hudson earns a name for herself as the "Cupcake Queen" of Watonka, NY. Although baking relaxes her, she still longs to skate and thinks that an upcoming competition, with a scholarship award, will help her escape her small town. She makes a deal with her high school hockey team to secretly coach them on the finer points of ice skating in exchange for free use of the rink to practice for the event. Despite the players' trash talking, she manages to charm them and score the attention of two hunky players. At its heart, this story is about family, community, and communication, and Hudson narrates it with warmth and wry humor. Readers may find themselves frustrated with her unwillingness to be forthright about her feelings and dreams, but maybe that will lead them to wonder how many of their problems could be avoided just talking. Bittersweet is a book worth recommending.—Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442430365
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 227,000
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and Twenty Boy Summer. Her books have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten, and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Alex. Visit her at SarahOckler.com and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Damsels in Distress

Dark chocolate cupcakes with red peppermint mascarpone icing, edged with chocolate and crushed candy canes

In three years of baking for Hurley’s Homestyle Diner in Watonka, New York, I’ve never met a problem a proper cupcake couldn’t fix. And while I haven’t quite perfected the recipe to fix my father, I’m totally on the verge.

“Taste this.” I pass a warm cupcake across the prep counter to Dani and lick a gob of cherry-vanilla icing from my thumb. “I think it’s the one.”

My best friend sighs. “That’s what you said about the blueberry lemon batch. And the white mocha ones. Have you seen this thing walkin’ around behind me? It’s the Great Cupcake Booty of Watonka.” She turns and shakes it, a few corkscrew curls springing loose from the pile on her head.

“Last one. I promise.”

“Nice breakfast. You’re lucky I … mmmph … oh my God!” Her copper-brown eyes widen as she wolfs down a big bite.

“I used half the sugar this time and buttercream instead of cream cheese. Doesn’t compete with the cherry as much.”

“Whatever you did, it’s delish.” She wipes her hands on an apron and goes back to prepping for our open, topping off small glass pitchers of maple syrup. I love baking at the diner on Saturday mornings, especially when Dani’s on first shift. There’s something peaceful about it—just the two of us here in the stainless steel kitchen, radio on low, the hiss-pop-hiss of the big coffeemakers keeping us company while the winter sky goes from black to lavender to a cool, downy gray.

I rinse the mixing bowls and set them back on the counter, rummaging through my stash for the next batch: eggs, butter, raw cane sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, espresso, shaved dark chocolate, a handful of this, a sliver of that, no measuring required. Every cupcake starts out a blank canvas, ingredients unattached to any shared destiny until I turn on the mixer. Now Dani stands on her toes to see into the bowl and together we watch it swirl, streaks of white and pale yellow and black, electric beaters whirring everything into a perfect brown velvet.

“You really are an artist, Cupcake Queen.” Dani smiles, hefting the tray of syrups onto her shoulder and pushing through the double doors into the dining room.

Cupcake Queen. I owe the newspaper for that one. “Teen’s Talent Turns Struggling Diner into Local Hot Spot: Cupcake Queen Wows Watonka with Zany Creations,” by Jack Marshall, staff reporter. The article’s preserved in a crooked glass frame on the wall behind the register, right next to an autographed black-and-white photo of Ani DiFranco and three one-dollar bills from Mom’s first sale as the new owner. You can see it clearly if you’re sitting at the front counter in the seat on the far left—the one with the torn leatherette that pokes the back of your thighs—if you lean over and squint. I don’t need to squint, though. I’ve read it so many times I can recite it backward. Creations zany with Watonka wows queen cupcake: spot hot local into diner struggling turns talent teen’s.

I never set out to wow Watonka with zany creations or join the royal court of confectioners. When I first started inventing my cupcakes, it was just something to keep me and Bug—that’s what I call Max—from going nuts after Dad moved to Nevada. Whenever we’d start to miss him, I’d lure Bug into the kitchen, and together we’d dig through the pantry for stuff to bake into funny little desserts with made-up names and frosting faces. We’d bring the best ones to the diner for Mom to share with the waitresses and Trick, her cook. Soon the regulars at the counter were sampling them, wanting to know when they’d be on the menu, when they could order a few dozen for their next bridge club party. Somewhere between my first batch of custom Bug-in-the-Mud Cakes and now, somewhere between leaving competitive skating and looking for a place to hide out, somewhere between Dad’s departure and Mom finding the strength to get out of bed again, baking cupcakes became a part of me—both a saving grace and a real, moneymaking job.

Staff reporter Jack Marshall didn’t ask about any of that stuff, though.

My gaze drifts out the window to the snow falling beneath the lights in the back lot. It’s so gray and nondescript outside that I could be anywhere, anytime, and for a second the blankness is so complete that I lose track of the hour and forget where I am. Everything is flip-flopped, like the opposite of déjà vu.

“Hudson?” Dani’s voice over the whir of the mixer brings me back. Saturday morning. Twenty-ninth of November. Cupcake day.

“Sorry. I kinda spaced.”

“Yeah, I kinda noticed.” She pulls up a tall metal stool and sits next to me at the prep counter. “So, are we gonna talk about your dad’s e-mail, or—”

“Not.” I recited parts of his latest missive over the phone last night, but here in the Hurley’s kitchen, separated from the rest of the world by the double doors and a blanket of new snow on the roof, I’m not in the mood.

“It is pretty jackass of him, if you ask me … even though you’re not.” She picks up a batter-covered spoon and licks off all the chocolate. “Like you really want to hear about your father’s romantic escapades with—”

“Yeah, exactly, thanks.” I lift the bowl and scrape the batter into silicone cups, filling each one three-quarters precisely. “I’m so done with his soul-mate-of-the-month crap.”

“Did he call her his soul mate?” she asks.

“Who moves to Vegas and falls in love with a female Elvis impersonator? Hello, walking cliché.”

I know I should ask him to squash the oversharing, but honestly? Hearing about his special lady friends is better than the alternative. First few months in Vegas? Total radio silence. Now? Let the e-mails flow. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the women in his life pushing him to be a better father. “Your children need to be part of your life. Reach out to them.” Ick. Like I really want Dad to “reach out” over our respective love lives. And by respective, I mean serial (his) and nonexistent (mine).

“Maybe she’s all right,” Dani says. “You don’t—”

“Anyone who goes by Shelvis is clearly not all right.”

“I thought it was Sherylynn or something.”

“Sherylanne. Shelvis is her stage name. She’s on tour this month,” I say, making air quotes around “tour.” “So instead of visiting us, Dad’s using his vacation time to follow her all over the southwest.” That’s the part I didn’t recite last night. I kept hoping it was a joke.

Dani crinkles her nose. “Gross.”

“Seriously gross. It’s the fourth Shelvis-related e-mail this week.”

“Any pictures?” she asks. He sent pictures of the last one—Honey or Candy or something like that—and Dani and I spent the entire weekend on Photoshop, giving her a handlebar mustache and snakes for hair.

I slide the baking cups into the oven and wipe my hands on a dish towel. “I think we can use our imaginations.”

“What about video? Now that I’d pay to see.” Dani clears her throat and breaks into a frightening version of “Love Me Tender.”

See, some people politely encourage their tone-deaf friends to sing. Some people even convince them to go on live television and audition for national competitions. But me? I am not that friend. Especially since Dani’s parents are, like, jazz virtuosos—mom sings, dad plays trumpet. You’d think she’d pick up on the fact that her voice lacks that certain something … called … being in tune.

“I thought we already established that your parents’ genes totally skipped you,” I say.

“They didn’t skip me. Mom says I’m just underdeveloped. I’m pretty sure Whitney Houston was the same way before she vocally matured.”

“Gotcha. Have another cupcake, Whit.” I slide the plate of experiments across the counter and load my spent bowls into the giant dishwasher.

I’ve got enough cupcakes in the oven, so I stick the remaining experiments in the front bakery case and help Dani with her sidework: wiping the menus, rolling silverware into napkins, and setting out metal trays of cut veggies for Trick. In an effort to feel slightly less guilty about our sugar-sweet breakfast, we take five at the prep counter and dine on some fruit salad. Dani recites saucy passages from a novel with a half-naked pirate on the cover as I watch the snow swirl outside, and the entire restaurant fills with the warm, chocolaty scent of fresh-baked cupcakes.

“The calm before the storm,” Dani says, closing her book and glancing up at the clock. “Another hour, this place will be a hot mess.”

“Don’t act like you don’t love it. You’re a front-of-the-house whore and you know it.”

Dani wiggles her eyebrows. “You should try it. I could teach you all the tricks.”

“I’ll stick to baking. It relaxes me.” I pull my cupcakes out of the oven and arrange them on wire cooling racks. “How sad is it that the crack of dawn in the Hurley’s kitchen is the only time I can get any peace and—”

“Morning, girls!” Mom rushes in through the back door with my little brother and a blast of cold air. “I just heard the weather report—we’re expecting a storm later.”

“Snowed in at the diner! Yes!” Bug pumps his fist, voice muffled by a thick red scarf. His tortoiseshell glasses are all fogged up, so I can’t see his eyes.

I kiss the top of his fuzzy blond head and tug off his backpack and jacket. “Winter in Watonka, Mom. Not a big mystery.”

“No, just a busy night ahead, and we’re already short-staffed.” Mom pulls off her hat, her gray-blond hair crackling with static. “Marianne’s out of town till tomorrow, Nat’s studying for finals, and I’m not sure Carly’s ready for more than two tables at a time.” Her trademark sigh is laced through every word, and I sag when it lands on my shoulders. That blue-and-white sign with the picture of the fork and knife on the I-190, just before the Watonka exit? Well, that’s us—first fork and knife off the highway. Bad weather hits, and all the just-passing-through folks in the world end up in our dining room. There goes my Saturday night.

“Nothing we can’t handle,” Dani says. “We’ll just—”

“Mom, can I inspect the mail?” Bug asks. He fingers the envelopes sticking out of Mom’s overstuffed purse. “I brought my lab gear.”

“Sure, baby. Use my office.” She hands over her purse and hangs their coats in the staff closet as Bug skips into the windowless room at the back of the kitchen. “Where’s the omelet setup?”

“Already done.” Dani hops up from the counter and shows mom the veggies, right where we always put them.

“Ma, chill. We’re fine,” I say. “It’s not even time to open.”

Dani and I follow her to the dining room. In flawless, unbroken succession, she pours herself a coffee, starts a fresh pot, checks all the sugar dispensers, and gives the counter an unnecessary wipe-down with a wet paper towel.

You can take the waitress out of the diner … but then she comes back and buys the joint.

“Know what you need?” I ask.

“A winning lotto ticket and a vacation? Preferably someplace tropical, no kids allowed?” She sits on a maroon leatherette stool next to Dani, rests her elbows on the counter, and sips her coffee.

“We’re fresh out of lotto tickets.” I take one of my experimental cupcakes from the case and put it on a pink-trimmed plate. “New recipe. As the owner, you’re obligated to try it.”

“They’re amazing,” Dani says. “She’s on a roll lately.”

“Don’t have to convince me, darlin’.” Mom smiles and carves out a piece with a fork. After the first bite, she loses the cutlery and dives in with her fingers, just the way you’re supposed to.

“They’re called Cherry Bombs,” I tell her after she inhales the last of it.

“Baby, you’re some kinda genius. Love them. And you.” She pecks my cheek and drops her dishes in the bus bin underneath the counter.

“I have a bunch more cooling,” I say, untying my apron. “I’ll be back later to frost.”

“You’re going on break? But the snow, and—”

“Ma, I’ve been in the kitchen all morning. I’m just going for a walk. I’ll be back before the rush, then I can help wherever you guys need me. Okay?” I grab the bus bin with her dishes and bump open the kitchen doors with my hip.

“Okay,” she calls after me. “Say bye to Bug first. Mrs. Ferris is picking him up in an hour.”

“Hudson!” Bug flashes a gap-toothed grin from behind his makeshift crime lab in Mom’s office, a pair of sandwich bags zipped over both hands. In one, he’s holding a white envelope; in the other, a half-eaten candy cane with a cotton ball rubber-banded to the end of it.

To my early morning eyes, it appears he’s dusting our mail for fingerprints, but you can’t always tell with Bug.

I set my backpack on the floor and plop down in the chair across from him. “Looking for evidence?”

“Nope.” He slides the glasses up his nose with the back of his wrist and rubs the envelope with the candy cane. “Anthrax. I’m at a critical juncture.”

Critical juncture? Sure. What eight-year-old isn’t?

“Find anything interesting?” I ask.

“No powdery residue. But definitely suspicious. Smell.” He slides a makeup catalog from beneath a microscope made out of a plate, a toilet paper roll, and an intricate arrangement of pipe cleaners. “Any ideas?”

I take a scientific whiff. “Gardenia. Looks like those Mary Kay terrorists are at it again.”

“Don’t laugh. Your stuff is on the ‘highly suspicious’ list, too.” He pulls a bright yellow, junk mail–looking envelope from the stack and busts out his game show face. “Hudson Avery, You’re Future Is Closer Than You Think.”

“My future? Hmm. Working at Hurley’s is pretty dangerous.”

Bug sighs. “Don’t be so literal. They spelled ‘your’ wrong. It’s one of the signs.”

“Of stupidity?” I’ve asked Mrs. Ferris—our downstairs neighbor, landlady, and chief Bug-sitter—not to let him watch the news. Ever since they busted that terror cell a few blocks over, it’s like CSI Watonka in our house. Last month he told me he was installing metal detectors for the bathroom and that starting this summer, I’d need a government-issued ID just to pee. “Hey, I’m sure Mom appreciates your vigilant counterterrorism efforts, but try not to waste the Ziplocs. They’re expensive.”

“It’s cool. I recycle.” He flings the anthrax-detecting candy cane into the trash along with a red envelope from the gas company. Miraculously, my grammatically incorrect letter and Mom’s makeup catalog get a pass.

“I need this.” I dig the bill from the trash and slit open the envelope, even though I already know what it says: THIS IS YOUR FINAL NOTICE BEFORE SHUTOFF. Mom made a partial payment last month, but technically the gas bill’s mine—trade-off for keeping the cupcake profits—and there’s still a balance due. I’ll have to stop by the service center again this week. They probably have my picture on the wall, like those people in department stores who write bad checks. Beware of Hudson Avery, master groveler and avoider of late fees great and small!

“What are you doing now?” Bug asks as I slip the bill into my backpack. “Wanna play Special Victims Unit? You can be the victim this time.” He’s out of the chair before I can answer.

“Sorry, bud. I have to run out for a while.”

He frowns, tiny glasses slipping back down his nose.

“Don’t be sad.” I kneel in front of him so we’re the same height and squeeze his shoulders. Beneath my hands, his bones feel small and hollow like a bird’s; I resist the urge to zip him up in my jacket.

“How about we hang out tonight—just you and me. I’ll bring home some extra cupcakes.” I push his glasses back up and lower my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I’ll let you stay up late, too. Sound like a date?”

“Hmm.” He considers my bribe. “Four cupcakes, and I stay up until midnight.”

“I was thinking two and ten thirty.”

He hefts my backpack off the floor and hands it over. “I was thinking three and eleven, and I won’t tell Mom you’re ice-skating again.”

What? I’m not—”

“I saw you cleaning the skates in your room last night, Hud. I’m not stupid.”

Like I needed the reminder.

I swing the bag over my shoulder, skates kicking me hard in the back. “Three and eleven it is, Detective Avery. Just remember the number one rule of good police work: Never rat out your sources.”

His eyes go wide. “Don’t say ‘rat’! You’ll give Mr. Napkins a complex!”

I grab his arms. “Please tell me you didn’t bring your hamster to the diner.”

“He’s at home, but that’s not the point. Just don’t say the R-word. It offends me.”

“Sorry. Don’t narc on your sources.”

“No narcing. Got it.” He pulls a pen and a spiral notepad from the piles on the desk and makes a note. “Hey, don’t forget your letter.” He stretches to reach the yellow envelope and gives it a closer look. “What’s a foundation, anyway?”

“Oh, like a charity. Some gajillionaire sets them up to help a good cause. Why? Rich old uncle Mom forgot to mention?”

He inspects the return address. “Not unless his name is Uncle Lola.”

“Uncle who?” My throat goes dry, and I cough to clear the knot from it.

Bug scrunches up his face and checks again. “Lola Cap … Cap-something.”

“Capriani?” I whisper. It can’t be her.

“Whoa—you know a gajillionaire?”

“Yes. I mean, no. I used to … I knew her before. A long time ago.” I take the envelope from my brother, ignoring the tremor in my fingers. My stomach twists when I see her name, all fancy black script on canary-colored paper.

“Who is it?” Bug asks.

I crush the letter in my hand. “Lola Capriani was my skating coach.”

© 2012 Sarah Ockler

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2012

    Must read!

    Hockey, cupcakes and a love story! What's not to like?

    I loved this book. It was my first Sarah Ockler novel and I have to say I cannot wait to read the others she has written and whatever else is to come. Great story and better yet great cupcake ideas! If you plan on reading this book get some cupcakes first because with a recipe at the start of every chapter you will sure want a little dessert with your love story. Now usually my favorite part of any story is the romance or love story. However in this novel the relationship that captured my heart was between Hudson and her little brother Bug. Probably because Bug is what I call my son. There relationship reminded me somewhat of my son and I. Baking is our thing. Also my son is a huge hockey fan. This book just seemed to have so much more in it for me than just the love story. I would highly recommend reading this book. However like I stated before make sure you have some cupcakes to go with your love story!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A cute book!

    Hudson was such a likeable character for me. She was witty and sarcastic, and she wasn't afraid to stand up to the hockey team (although she was afraid to talk to her mom about stuff).

    My heart broke for her in the first chapter when she realizes that her life is going to change due to her parents' divorce. Her thoughts were the same ones I had when my parents decided to split.

    I also really understood her feelings of frustration at having to step in to be the "parent" with her little brother and also remembering to pay bills. I imagine it's so hard to be a single parent, and having a teenager who is mature can almost feel like having another adult. But I felt like Hudson just had so many responsibilities that she shouldn't have been in charge of, such as paying the electric bill and the babysitter.

    I absolutely adored Bug, Hudson's little brother. He was geeky and smart and just super loveable.

    The romance in this story was cute and wasn't insta-love, which is always a huge plus. And again, loved Hudson's ability to stand up for herself and not be a doormat.

    If you're looking for a quick read that's the perfect book for winter, then you need to read Bittersweet!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    More sweet than bitter

    So I will willingly admit that i am a lover of cute romance books, but this one had me smiling through each chapter and seriously craving cupcakes The book is cute fast and really relatable Hope you enjoy : )

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Amazing book worth the buy!

    Amazing book worth the buy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book reminded me of Disney movies.  It was full of moments

    This book reminded me of Disney movies.  It was full of moments that could have been scripted for a T.V film.  There was a familiarity to the story line that reminded me of a couple of films, 'Ice Princess' and another Disney movie, 'Go Figure' They both dealt with ice-skaters and 'Go Figure' had both an ice-skater and a ice hockey team as well, only the plot with 'Bittersweet' is definitely different in this case.

    'Bittersweet' is a kind of feel-good book, even though the main character, Hudson, is going through the worst moments of her young life.  Funnily enough, she hides her pain in cupcakes.  I really liked how this story progressed.  It took me from the incident that made Hudson turn her back on everything she knew, to Hudson finally realizing what made her happy.  I enjoyed her persona and even felt a little sorry for her mother seemed to hassle her.

    The other characters in this book was good too - including an adorable love interest in Josh.  The relationships between the characters felt real.  It was also hard to see how some of the friendships changed and evolved as I was reading.  I was annoyed, angry and a little sad at how Hudson was with some of them.  But, at the same time, I also resented Hudson's mom a bit, even though I came to understand why she was that way.

    The writing was fun and flowed nicely.  This is the type of book to read if you've just finished a book that was intense or if you just want to relax after a hard day where you don't really want to think about anything. 

    So it's fair to say that even though I don't have anything really bad to say about 'Bittersweet', it didn't have the 'oomph' that made me fall in love with it.  I didn't go on to remember anything about it, except that Hudson made cupcakes and she was an ice-skater.  That being said though, I did like it and I would read it again if I had the option.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Disney films or is looking for a light read.  

    Book review written by Sandy from Magical Manuscripts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Amaxing !

    I love this book it has a great ending!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    I dont know????!

    K, im 12 and dont know if i should read this book i really want to but dont know if it contains older reading material, so should i????!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    A tale of self-discovery, friendship and shifting relationships,

    A tale of self-discovery, friendship and shifting relationships, Bittersweet utterly captivated me. When Hudson Avery botches her chance at professional ice skating, and her parents separate, she becomes the cupcake-making queen of the town. However, despite her success with her tasty, inventive cupcakes and her efforts to help her mother in their diner, the ice continues to beckon her. 

    The main character, Hudson Avery, is the kind of strong yet realistically vulnerable female lead that I like. Throughout this story of self-exploration, this skillfully crafted character shows natural, and often painful, growth. Her inner dialogue is extremely witty and definitely makes for numerous laugh-out-loud moments.   

    Although I generally dislike love triangles, the relationship between Hudson, Will, and Josh moves the story along rather than provide the reader with pages full of romantic angst. Both Josh and Will seem to have a hidden agenda throughout the story and it is only close to the end that the truth about these boys are revealed. The relationships between Hudson and her mother as well as that between her and her best friends, are described in an in-depth, but still entertaining, way. Ambition and corruption play a major role in this book and have a profound influence on all the relationships.

    The lively, quirky dialogue, enhanced by Hudson's imaginative, dreamy thought patterns, kept me smiling. A wonderful book to relax with, I highly recommend this story of friendship, important choices, exciting moments on the ice and tastefully written romance. (Ellen Fritz)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    River.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    In this novel by Sarah Ockler, Hudson Avery is a seventeen year

    In this novel by Sarah Ockler, Hudson Avery is a seventeen year old girl
    struggling to help out her family after her parent's divorce tears it
    apart. She bakes creative cupcakes for her mother's diner and helps out
    as often as she can but she can't help thinking about everything that
    she has left behind in her old life... Before her father cheated on her
    mother and walked out. Hudson used to know exactly where she was going.
    She was going to be a professional figure skater that would be able to
    travel all over the world and enjoy her dreams, but now she is stuck in
    her small town taking care of a diner she never wanted to have to be in
    charge of. One day she crashes into the hockey team's captain, Josh
    Blackthorn, while practicing ice-skating and things begin to take a
    turn. She is tempted by starting over and having a second chance at her
    long remembered dream but as she struggles to find time, she begins to
    split herself too thin and risks losing people along the way. Hudson is
    a delightful main character whose sense of humor makes the novel. She
    has hilarious alternate realities in her brain and her creative cupcakes
    are so charming and inspired. I really loved her as a main character
    and found her easy to relate to, even when she was doing things that I
    didn't approve of. Out of the other characters that are introduced in
    this novel, I think that Hudson's little brother, Bug, is probably my
    favorite. He is adorably cute and I love his take on the world. Him
    and Hudson are presented as this great team and I love their
    interactions. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and could easily
    relate to Hudson and the problems she was having and thought her friends
    and family were treating her a little harsh throughout the novel. But I
    really understood the confusion Hudson was having over what to do and
    could easily relate to her problems. I'm giving Bittersweet 4 stars
    because I flew through it and was completely absorbed in the story but
    towards the end I was starting to get frustrated with everyone's lack of
    communication and didn't really see a point to a large amount of the
    conflict. But overall, I really enjoyed it and wouldn't mind reading it
    again in the future. I enjoyed how the ending turned out, but for
    awhile I didn't think it was going to end in a good way so I was nervous
    for the last couple chapters of the book.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I really thought Bittersweet would continue on the streak of lov

    I really thought Bittersweet would continue on the streak of loving
    every contemporary I've been reading lately, however i'm sad to say that
    it did not. I am disappointed by Bittersweet since I was expecting
    something as good as Twenty Boy Summer. However I did enjoy it but I had
    several issues with it. Hudson, the main protagonist gave up competing
    professionally in ice skating when she found out her father was cheating
    on her mom. 3 years later Hudson isn't happy being in her hometown, only
    making cupcakes at her mom's diner. She secretly starts practicing ice
    skating for a competition but Josh sees her and asks for her help to
    teach technical tricks to his hockey team. Now instant sparks fly when
    Josh and Hudson meet, then insert love triangle. I hate how now every
    single book is forcing love triangles that make little sense. Also, I
    really didn't like how Hudson kept on nagging, ignoring her best friend,
    saying she can't wait to leave her town. I was fooled in thinking this
    book would be like Ice Princess (2005) movie, however it barely had any
    ice skating, not even her teaching the hockey team, also not much
    cupcake making, but a whole lot of whining and complaining. However I
    really liked Hudson's 8 year old brother, Bug. He was hilarious and a
    genius! I also really liked how some chapters began with a phrase and a
    corresponding recipe for a cupcake that matched the mood of the chapter.
    Bittersweet was a cute but cliched contemporary. I do recommend it to
    contemporary fans, but just don't compare it to Twenty Boy Summer.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    This book is fantastic! I enjoyed every minute of reading it Af

    This book is fantastic! I enjoyed every minute of reading it
    After blowing the biggest skating competition of her career Hudson Avery's parents divorce and she hides herself behind a bowl of cupcake batter. After receiving a letter that could get her out of Watonka (Buffalo) NY she begins training for competition again she ends up skating in to Josh (literally), the hockey team Captain. In exchange for needing private ice time she secretly becomes special techniques coach for the high schools loosing hockey team. Short lived romance with Will the Josh's co-captain leads Hudson to figure out who she really has a thing for. READ THE BOOK to find out the ending!
    ♥ Cate

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    "Sweet" Read :P

    Love this book. Perfect book to stay up all night reading. <333

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    A sweet, heartwarming book

    I loved this! I admit, I wanted to strangle the main character at times, but altogether a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    LOVED!!

    This book had th eperfect combination of funny, romantic and thrilling! If your a teenage girl thisnis the perfect book for you (:

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Amazing book. Left me serioulsy craving cupcakes. Loved Twenty B

    Amazing book. Left me serioulsy craving cupcakes. Loved Twenty Boy Summer by her too! Can't wait for another book. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Whoa

    Loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Best book ever

    This book is amazing totally read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Amazing!!!

    Loved this book along with Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Deliah.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    : b

    Cupcakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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