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....
Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Simon Pulse
Four Stars: Grab a cupcake and curl up with this wintery read.
Hudson Avery is feeling trapped and frustrated. Three years ago when she was fourteen, in a moment of anger and annoyance toward her father and his adultery, she threw her ice skating competition and gave up on her dreams as a figure skater. These days, Hudson works in her mom's struggling diner, trying to help keep the doors open. Hudson is known as the Cupcake Queen, as her delicious cupcake confections have helped keep the diner going. When Hudson receives an unexpected invitation to compete in an ice skating competition for a scholarship, she can't help but wonder if she can still seize her dreams or is it too late? As she prepares and trains, Hudson learns a thing or two about life, family, romance and friendship. Will she realize her skating dream?
What I Liked:
- Bittersweet is a book that is perfect for winter. I loved that this is a feel good read, that takes on some realistic teenage issues, but it remains on the lighter side. This is a novel that explores life, love, dreams, friendships, and family. Grab this book, a cozy blanket, a hot drink and a cupcake, and settle in for a delightful read.
- Even though Hudson was at times a trying character, I ended up appreciating that she came across as realistic, and I liked that she had flaws and made plenty of mistakes, especially when it came to her friendships. At seventeen, Hudson is caught in that tumultuous period of adolescence where she is preparing to take those first big steps into adulthood. She dislikes working in the diner, and she feels trapped in her small time life, so she reaches back for the dream she gave up on three years ago. As she struggles and makes a mess of her relationship with her friends and her mom, she learns a thing or two about roots and wings and love. At the end, I liked how Hudson had grown and matured, and I liked the way everything settled out.
- I loved that this book had such a strong focus on family. Hudson is still not over her father's betrayal and his absence, but she does what she can to keep her brother safe and happy. I thought the relationship Hudson had with her eight year old brother was adorable. The mother daughter relationship was one of ups and downs, and at times, it was prickly and strained, but it felt genuine. I thought the author did an excellent job with the familial relationships, and I liked that family was a strong focus throughout the novel.
- Friendship was another important part of the novel. Hudson ends up making a mess of things with her current best friend, and she is forced to examine the end of her previous friendship. She is also making new friends with the boy's hockey team, and she finds her friendship with one boy in particular makes her heart beat a little faster. Just like with the familial relationships, the friendships are up and down, and they have their moments when they stumble. The author did an excellent job with all the friendships, and I liked that they felt genuine.
- The romance is one that is a tiny bit frustrating, and the reader is clued in all along as to whom Hudson should be with. It is romance that takes its time building into a friendship, and there are doubts and hesitation, before it gets to that sweet blossoming moment. It was worth the wait.
- The ending is bittersweet. Not everything works out with a fairy tale happy ending, but isn't that the way real life works? I appreciated some things ended on a positive note, and other things didn't work out as Hudson hoped, but after it all, she seems to have found her path. A sweet and satisfying read.
- I loved the diner setting and all the cupcake references. This book will have you craving cupcakes, especially since there is a sweet snippet at the beginning of each chapter, describing some decadent cupcake creation. Don't read this while you are hungry, you have been warned!
And The Not So Much:
- While I liked the strong focus on family, I couldn't help but feel disappointed that there wasn't any type of movement in Hudson's relationship with her father. I was expecting something on that front.
- The romance was a bit of a struggle for me because it develops into a bit of a love triangle. Hudson clearly has feelings for one boy, but due to a misunderstanding/ lack of communication, she starts a relationship with another. As a reader, I was frustrated because I knew all along she was with the wrong guy. Luckily, it smooths out, so be patient.
- While I appreciated that Hudson made lots of mistakes, there were plenty of times when I questioned her judgement, especially at the end. I especially didn't like the way she treated both Kara and Dani.
Bittersweet is a sweet and satisfying read that explores friendship, family bonds, romance and the trials of adolescence. I appreciated that this was a novel about growth and change, and that it had a strong focus on relationships. This is a perfect book for winter, one I would recommend cuddling up with on a cold day with a sweet treat and a hot drink.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.