Bittersweet: Sarah Ockler

Despite my excessive clumsiness I’ve always wanted to be a figure skater.  Of course because I was clumsy, live in Texas, and don’t like waking up at the crack of dawn these dreams were short lived.  However, I still am an ardent fan of figure skating and like to watch or read anything about it.  Almost as much as I like cupcakes.  Well, Bittersweet  is about both so it should be my ideal book, was it?

General Summary: Hudson is stuck working at her mom’s dinner when she’d rather be skating her heart out.  Why?  Well, Hudson’s mom is a passive aggressive control freak and her father ( a deadbeat dad) walked out on her and her ultra cute little brother.  However, when a Hudson learns about an upcoming skating competition she decides that she’s going to once again go for the gold.  But is it what she really wants?

Review: My feelings for this book were mixed there were parts of it I loved and parts that were a bit meh. I guess I should start by disclosing that I think this book sort of triggered some issues for me.  Hudson’s story was similar to something I, myself, experienced, so I think some of my negative feelings for the book were probably related to those events in my life. I’ll start by talking about the good.  There’s actually a lot of good things about this book.  I think Ockler’s story was really realistic.  It was really bittersweet.  While there is a definite ending at the end of the story, it’s not a happily ever after and I appreciated that.

The characters were also very well written.  I didn’t like a lot of the cast, case in point Hudson’s mom but I understood her motives.  This is a parent whose bad parenting was actually realistic and you could arguably make the case that it wasn’t bad parenting.  But I’m going to say it Hudson’s mom=bad parent.  I get that Mrs. Avery’s heart is in the right place, but I think she’s so busy with work and everything that Hudson just got taken advantage of.  And it just seemed like this was the accepted norm.  Also (this is me being an extremely nit picky realist ya’ll) if Hudson’s mom was in such a dire financial condition she should’ve sold the diner.  Yes, I know it’s the Averys’ livelihood but do you know how expensive the restaurant business is?  Just watch a couple of episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and you’ll get the answer.

As for Hudson, herself, she’s another character I had mixed feelings for.  I really liked her in the beginning how she had this dream and she was working for it.  Then she met Josh and Hot Hockey Boys and then  well…she became your typical ice princess cheerleader.  Once again, very realistic but it made me a little bit aggravated with her.


While my distaste for the characters didn’t affect the actual quality of the book for me, the pacing did.  This book is long, almost four hundred pages, and I felt like it could’ve lost a good fifty or so pages.  I appreciate how Ockler digs into various moments of Hudson’s life but I’m an impatient law student and sometimes I just don’t want to savor things.  Also, I thought that some aspects of the plot were a bit of a let down.

While the plot left me down at times the cupcakes didn’t.

Best Feature: Cupcakes and Figure Skating: This book involves cupcakes and figure skating.  Two of my favorite things in the world.  The execution of the cupcake element though was done a lot better than the execution of the figure skating element.  And okay, I sort of see where Ockler is going with the whole lack of figure skating plot line, but being a competitive person it sort of rubbed me the wrong way.  Although, I never competed in figure skating or any competitive sports when I was a kid I was into music and competed in lots of music oriented competitions (i.e. I made the All State band on piccolo when I was in high school, which  earned me a scholarship).  Music required a great deal of time, disclipline, and practice.  Something that has transcended into other aspects of my life as well.  I can only imagine that figure skating would be the same-requirng practice.  I mean, there’s no way you can do a triple whatever without practicing.  That’s just not the way life works.  And while Hudson does practice some, she doesn’t practice the amount she should for such a big competition.  Grant it, girl has other things on her mind.  But I seriously, didn’t get her motivations (cute boys and naggy mom) because I’d still be freaking out over practicing.

For those who are morbidly curious: a  piccolo. 

Worst Feature: Doormat Main Character.  Hudson is a doormat.  Pure and simple.  Okay, so the whole book is about her being unsatisfied with being a doormat.  But guess what guys, she doesn’t really do anything to stop being a doormat.  Okay, I guess given your perspective on the book you could argue otherwise.  But really, there were some choices that she made that just had me pulling out my hair.  I felt like a lot of the time, Hudson put herself in misery.  Not to mention the fact that I think deep down inside she felt satisfied with the rather depressing life she lives, but that’s me being all Freudian.

Appropriateness: This book does talk about some heavy real life issues, but it’s pretty clean.  I do wish Hudson would’ve been a bit more assertive than she was though.  I didn’t like the way she was pretty much satisfied and learned to be satisfied with being a doormat.  However, I think you could easily argue that she’s not a doormat.  It’s just depends on your perspective.

Blockbuster Worthy: Sure, I love figure skating movie. Blades of Glory is one of my favorite movies.  Okay, so this wouldn’t be a Blades of Glory type of movie it would be more like The Cutting Edge with maybe a little Ice Princess (without the ridiculousness) thrown in for a good measure.  But still it would be cute.  Here’s who I’d cast

Hudson: Sasha Cohen.  I actually picture Hudson looking a lot like US figure skater Sasha Cohen.  I know she’s a little too old for the role but for all intents and purposes she could easily play Hudson.

Josh: Nathan Parsons.  Isn’t it odd how much you’ll hate someone on General Hospital, but love them on a little show called Bunheads.  Oh Nathan would have to lose the accent and keep the shorter haired look he has now, but still there’s Josh potential there.

Will: Freddie Stroma.  Once again a guy with an accent, but as long as he doesn’t pull a Greg Sulkin I think he’s good to go.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten skates.  I really liked this book.  But I think my own personal life made the experience a little less than enjoyable.  I still recommend it though, it is a cute read.


2 thoughts on “Bittersweet: Sarah Ockler

  1. I love figure Skating!I didn't love this book.I read it a while ago (or tried to) but I couldn't get very far, I didn't Like hudson and the book feel unrealistic to me in the skating aspects. Now I'm a hard core fan of FS, so maybe that affected the whole thing. I also have a problem with Ms. Ocker's writing: I don't like her characters. Like in Twenty-Boy summer, everyone was going ga-ga over it a couple of summers ago but I felt her main character was doormat, the swoony guy who died and whom I had to believe was awesome, was actually inherently selfish and so was his sister. Ice Princess was unrealistic, I thought the original plot of the story was better (the girl was supposed to be a hockey player, who moved to a new place so her brother could play at a better team, so she already knew how to skate), but at least it was entertaining. Oh and I'm like you, all I know about hockey comes from Mighty Ducks 1, 2 and 3 😀 Anyway, 🙂 Sasha Cohen was awesome, too bad her injuries got in the way and she always did seem to crumble in the big comps – I don't think I ever saw her skated both the short and free programs solidly in the same comp.Who are your current faves? I really got into Ice-Dancing lately, with Virtue and Moir – they have such good chemistry together. And I love Asheley Wagner in women's singles -'cause she always looks so happy to be on the ice-

  2. Yeah, a lot of my friends on Goodreads liked it and I really don't get the hype. The summary was great but Hudson and the rest of the cast sort of drove me up the wall. Well, her waitress best friend was sort of cool and so was Bug, but that was about it. I really think a big par of my problem with it was how the situation was handled. Not only the scatting, but the split, and the way the parents reacted to the split. Some of the dynamics just seemed off here and it just got annoying after awhile. I'm sad to hear that about Ockler's books because I am on the look out for some good realistic fiction right now-sort of burned out on paranormals. I might try her other works still, but definitely delegating her to library reads only right now. Yes, I really wish they would've kept the original Ice Princess story as well, but at it was mildly entertaining. Always a good one to watch when it's on ABC Family.I'd say I agree with you that ice dancing seems to be the big thing right now. I really like Davis and White they're routine last year was pretty amazing. I'm also interested in seeing how the US men's team is going to fare up given the fact that Evan Lysacek is planning on returning. And I really do like Asheley Wagner too she seems so determined. Really, I can't wait for the season to begin especially since the Olympics are now over.

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