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.
Sarah Ockler has secured herself a place on my must-buy author list. I really enjoyed her previous two novels Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah but I think her third release, Bittersweet, is my favourite.
On the surface, there is not big drama or conflict in the book: it is a coming of age book involving ice skating, friendship, cupcakes, hockey boys and family. Yet, Ockler masterfully builds tension, in a quiet and compelling way the whole way through (with an achey mess of a climax, poor Hudson). It's not just the tension that kept me reading all night long (I finished at 4am), it is the way Ockler writes: her prose is gorgeous, rich but never overbearing, her sentiments so beautifully expressed it is easy for me as a reader to get swept up in the characters lives.
But for me, my favourite part of this book is, by far, the characters. Each character, whether major or minor, was so nuanced, so lovingly crafted, that the whole book springs to life. The relationship between Hudson and her mum and her brother so perfectly depicted. The friendships, their good times and bads, so real and achey and fun and true.
The whole book feels incredibly vivid ~ from the people to the winter-y setting, to Hudson's emotions ~ all of it, just truly wonderful.
For those who know my reading taste ~ this book completely delivered for me. Compelling characters, vivid setting, engaging drama (without being melodramatic) and gorgeous, envy-inducing prose.
And I saved the best until last (because loving a book is not just about falling for the boy...): Ockler knows how to create her love interests. There's plentyof swooning and aching between Hudson and Josh, co-captain of the ice hockey team. Josh has made it securely onto my swoon-y hall of fame - loved all of Josh's scenes ;)
Oh, how I love this book ~ this is one for all fans of contemporary YA at its finest.
Bittersweet @ goodreads