Bittersweet

First Lines: It was the biggest competition night of my life, but all I could think about was the cheetah bra.

I have put off reading anything by Sarah Ockler for years, even though I have 3-4 of her books on my to-read list.  It all goes back to Twenty Boy Summer, which was her debut novel and a book I didn’t particularly care for.  But when I saw this on the shelves at the library, I decided it was time to suck it up and give her a second chance.

Hudson used to have the kind of life little girls used to dream about.  As a really good competitive ice skater, her future was wide open.  Until her family fell apart.  Now she spends most of her time hiding from the spotlight by baking cupcakes in the back of her mom’s diner.  Then, her future starts to look up when she has a second chance to reach her dreams.  Of course, this is the moment when a really cute boy decides to walk into her life.  It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants and what she’s willing to sacrifice to get there.

This was super cute.  I mean, the whole cupcakes thing had me (which reminded me a lot of the TV show 2 Broke Girls), but I really like watching ice skating too.  Probably because it looks so amazing and my ice skating looks something like Bambi on ice, all flailing limbs and graceless falls.

I think part of why I liked this book a lot is that I related to Hudson really well.  Hudson’s had a lot of bumps in her 17 years.  And those bumps took a strong, confident girl and turned her into a quiet mouse with silent dreams.  She’s also incredibly hard-working and driven, even though she rarely seems that way to those around her because she’s always doing thankless jobs on the side.  There’s just something about that kind of attitude that I’m incredibly drawn to.

I loved how many topics were dealt with in this.  On the lighter side, we got to see competitive ice skating, cute cupcakes, and the wonderful world of hockey (courtesy of our delightfully delicious male hunks).  It’s really fun to read about those topics.  But on the heavier side, we deal with topics like what it means to be a friend or part of a family, what dreams are worth chasing, finding yourself, and the destructive nature of secrets.  I loved that there were so many levels to this story.

It was just darling.  There were a few parts in the middle that seemed to stall out action-wise, but the beginning and ending were totally worth it.  It evened things out.  And I’ll definitely be willing to try another Sarah Ockler novel again.

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