Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Simon Pulse
by Sarah Ockler
5 Scribbles
Let’s face it, relationships can be tricky. No one knows that better than Hudson Avery, whose dad split a few years back to hook up with a female Elvis impersonator. If it weren’t for the strong relationships Hudson has with her mom, her bother Bug, and her best friend Dani, she’d have cracked long ago.  Thing is Hudson is a talented figure skater—but her dream of professional figure skating disappeared with her dad.  Now, she bakes bangin’ cupcakes at her mom’s diner as a form of therapy and to keep her mind off of the ice, but her future looks frozen in the present. Is Hudson doomed to serve cupcakes and cantankerous customers forever?  Ockler leaves the warmer settings of her two previous novels and takes readers into the frigid Watonka, New York winter to explore themes that are layered and sophisticated.  Readers will adore the tight friendship and quirky dialogue that Hudson and Dani share, and they will appreciate the close and protective relationship between Hudson and her baby brother, Bug.  At the same time, they will groan at Hudson’s self-serving attitude, will air-nudge Hudson in the right direction time and time again only to see her (ironically) risk repeating the mistakes of her past, and even the mistakes of her father.  Couple that conflict with Hudson’s physical attraction to the hockey team captain Will, and her more natural attraction to his co-captain Josh, and you have tension that threatens not only to melt, but to boil the ice.  This novel is anything but cold—-it reflects the values of loyalty, honesty, friendship, and communication--all mixed up with a batter of steamy attraction. Most of all, it reveals the truth in that old saying, “wherever you go, there you are.” 
The only thing missing is an actual cupcake on the cover--what gives with that?

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