Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse

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...  -

As much as I love the "sky is falling," "I just discovered I have magic," "I so want my poor tortured vampire but he's forbidden" type stories, there is so much to be said for a good, simple, heartfelt little romance.  Bittersweet delivered.  One of the things I fell in love with in in this story is how the characters are the main focus.  There's an external conflict, of course, as Hudson attempts to help her mother to save their business, but all of this is secondary to the change and growth that takes place amongst the characters, especially Hudson herself.  A character-driven story really touches your heart because although you know the characters themselves aren't real, their circumstances are.  You can relate and sympathize, and this brings them to spectacular life.

Hudson gave up her dream of being a skater to save her family, and it is a decision that she carries with her ever since.  How many people have the opportunity to achieve what they've always worked for, especially at so young an age, but then sacrifice it?  She spends the following years harboring a secret resentment, even while she begins to channel her talents into baking amazing cupcakes.  She still skates in secret though, where she meets a guy.

This guy was great.  He was sweet, a good guy, but not sugary.  He had some definitely sex-appeal to him.  Hello, he's a hockey player!!  How much sexier can you get?  Yes, I'm a hockey fan.

The building relationship between these two, and Hudson's involvement training her high school hockey team to skate, was so endearing.  And during the course of this, she begins to change.  It was such a sweet journey and I loved watching Hudson change and grow.

The author crafted a beautiful story here that was simple, beautifully written, and heartfelt.  I loved it and felt so good when it was over.  I love it when a book gives you such a sense of peaceful satisfaction.  Great writing, great story.  I've read other stories by Sarah Ockler and this one solidified me as a real fan.

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