Here are the basics ...
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Publication date: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library
Summary: Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like once. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. So when 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 it’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…The good: When I was younger, I was a HUGE fan of figure skating. I even had a Kristi Yamaguchi poster hanging up in my room. To borrow a description from the book, it was like ballet on ice and I loved it. And well, you all know my love of cupcakes - baking and eating them. So putting those two things together in one book equaled instant win for me.
Hudson is a former competitive figure skater who had dreams of going pro but now works as the resident "Cupcake Queen" at her mother's struggling diner. The truth is, she still loves ice skating so when a second chance presents itself, she decides to go for it. But following those dreams isn't everything she thought it would be, in good ways and bad. It makes her re-evaluate her past and her future, old/current/new friends, family and what she really wants. I loved Hudson's voice as a main character, particularly in the first half. A lot of her thoughts would make me crack up or nod my head in understanding at her confusion. I think we all want to be upfront and honest about what we feel and want all the time - but actually doing that, is never easy. I admired her determination to skate again, even when it meant making painful (occasionally wrong) decisions. And the way the author would describe Hudson's feelings on the ice made you understand why she had a hard time letting it go.
(Some) reservations: As I said, I loved Hudson's voice in the first half of the book but towards the latter half, I started to lose a bit of my connection to her because of the decisions she made. She was so focused on ice skating to the point where she started treating some people pretty crappily and she really needed to speak up (communication goes a long way people!). But I understood that she's a confused teenager with a lot going on. We all make mistakes. There's also a bit of a love triangle in the book which I could've done without. To me the choice was pretty obvious and I think it was to Hudson too, so the flip-flopping between guys didn't feel necessary.
Do I recommend?: I do! It's a cute, fun book with poignant moments about friendship, family and following your dreams.