Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

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Summary
“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
Sometimes in life, we think we know what we want. The grass is much greener on the other side, anywhere is better than her and the list goes on. But home is where the heart is and sometimes you are already home, your heart just needs to catch up. Bittersweet is a book about chasing after our dreams and leaving behind “good enough” and complacency. This book is also about discerning what really are our goals in life to obtain and not outlandish fantasies that are just delusions of grandeur.  

Wishing that what she had seen was a delusion, Hudson finds herself face to face with a cheetah bra that isn’t hers or her mother’s and the proof of her father’s infidelity. Feeling slapped in the face, Hudson decides to strike back and forfeit her chance at a skating sponsorship and a life of winter wonderland fame and fortune. Yet, it she and the rest of her family who get slapped when her father leaves and she realizes he had checked out long before now.  

Forced to pick up the pieces and put herself back together, Hudson finds solace in baking creative cupcake creations. She makes new friends, helps her Mom out in the diner and spends more time with her brother.  She actually is happy until a blast from her past comes delivered in the mail.  

A chance at the $50,000 scholarship from the Lola Capriani Foundation, a foundation set up to help potential winter athletic teens by the family of her former coach Lola Capriani. Hudson now sees a second chance at the life she could have had and possibly her golden ticket of the frozen wasteland of Watonka, New York.  

Upon planning her escape, Hudson crashes, literally, into a cute, hockey jock named Josh Blackthorn and sparks begin to fly. And she gets roped into not only helping him improve his hockey skills but also her entire high school hockey team, the Watonka Wolves. Getting quality training time alone in the rink as well as getting to spend some extra time with the boy she is falling in love with, Hudson doesn’t see this as a bad trade off.  

However, now she is getting more invested with the team and creating more ties to stay in Watonka than to leave. Plus things at work are getting more hectic and she is finding it harder and harder to juggle all the things in her life, thus suddenly realizing how hard her dream is becoming to grasp. Leading Hudson to wonder, is it all worth it?  

Bittersweet is exactly as the title suggests. That sometimes in life, what we think we want ends up really being a fantasy or a delusional we have trained ourselves into being the cure-all answer for our crappy lives; a way to disrupt the complacency or head for greener grasses. But the desire we posses sometimes ends up hurting others in our wake and thus we begin to realize what we wanted may not be what we really wanted. In short, it was a shot at better things but better isn’t where you’re going or what you’re doing, but who you share it with.  

I would recommend this book for teens whom seem to want greener pastures and find home life to be . . . well hell. I was that girl once and I still want better but I learned that better doesn’t have to mean glits and glam; that you can have it all without having to give up your old life for the new one. There is room for it all. That you can reach for the stars but you are still earth bound and that’s okay.  

Reviewed by Camia Rhodes

Book Information
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 12/4/2012
Pages: 400