Katrina Passick Lumsden's Reviews > Bittersweet

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
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Feb 03, 2012

did not like it
Read in May, 2012

Why is it so damn hard to find a well-written, likeable protagonist? Why?!

So this book is about cupcakes, figure skating, hockey, and irrational bitches. Hudson Avery (why does her name sound like it's backwards?) is a spineless little wimp, and her mother is an oblivious, controlling shrew. I found it hilarious that while Hudson is trying to juggle school, waitressing (something she didn't want to do, but has to do to help out her mom), baking, training, helping a hockey team in exchange for rink time, and looking after her little brother, her "best friend" is calling her selfish for never hanging out! I kinda liked Dani at first, but then she totally bails on Hudson and treats her like crap just because "girl's night" has been cancelled a few times and Hudson's running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Hello, Ms. Center of the fucking Universe. Oh, and she gets mad at Hudson for hanging out with her crushes, but then she's hooking up with one of the hockey players, too? Self-centered and a hypocrite. Lovely traits.

And yet, they make up at the end. Of course. Her previous "bestie" bailed on her, too. Me thinks Hudson has bad taste in friends. Which doesn't surprise me since she has a raging ladyboner for one boy, but dates a different one instead! Not winning any awards for her emotional IQ any time soon.

Any time Hudson tells her mom she can't do something, her mom goes all nuclear meltdown on her, the bulging eyes, the "you'd better stop being selfish right now, young lady" bullshit that we're supposed to think is somehow making Hudson a better person, but which we know is just completely uncalled for because Hudson already handles way more than most girls her age. The diner gets really good business from the sounds of it, yet they're on the verge of having to close it down...? How does that make any sense whatsoever? She put way too much on her daughter's shoulders, and didn't once, in the however-many-months the book spans, notice that her daughter doesn't have much of a social life. Indeed, she doesn't seem to notice much of anything about her daughter, ever. Unless, of course, that daughter is not kowtowing to her mother and the almighty diner. Then mommy dearest notices. I couldn't figure out where Hudson even found the time to sleep, much less do homework, but it doesn't seem to bother good old mom. When Hudson balked at the idea of filling in as a waitress, her mom got all moody and reproving, like it's somehow her 17-year-old daughter's responsibility to make sure her dreams are realized. I just wanted to scream, "You're the adult! Sort your fucking life out!"

Avery spends 95% of the book whining. I think she may believe it's her purpose in life. Piss and moan my way through these situations and just do whatever 'cause none of it matters in the end, anyway, 'cause none of our lives are going anywhere, and I'm just so put upon and my daddy left me!!

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Jesus. Fucking grow a pair and quitcher bitchin'.

Even Josh, the hunky stud hockey god love interest, is a tool most of the time. He can be really sweet, but then any time Hudson tries to tell him something important, he interrupts her and bails.

Why do I keep finding books about assholes? Is it too much to ask that the main characters aren't so dysfunctional that they make me want to do this:
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Really, is that too much to ask?

Even the cover art is a fail.

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06/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Lollie (new)

Lollie Alice in Wonderland and a Futurama gif in the same review... certainly got my attention!
Hmmm, think I'll be giving this one a miss. I can't stand pity party whinging through a whole story, a little here and there is bearable, but not if it ends up being a tedious character trait.


message 2: by Laine (new)

Laine this is the kind of review that i really like to read...i don't think ill mark this as book as to-read...


message 3: by Ambar (new)

Ambar Best.Review.Ever.


message 4: by Books are TARDIS (last edited Apr 03, 2013 05:06AM) (new) - added it

Books are TARDIS The next time I start having an elaborate pity party, I'll reread this review and it will be like a much needed slap/reality-check, a doze of good medicine if you will, to get over myself and quit my bitchin' and moanin'. Also, it made me laugh like crazy so kudos! :)


message 5: by Gina (new)

Gina To my favorite reviewer, besides Lev Grossman, give yourself a break and try some cool nonfiction like the new Sheryl Sandberg book. It will restore your faith in people, fictional or otherwise.


message 6: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Taylor Oh Kat. I do so love waking up and seeing a new review from you! You make my day dear. Please keep it up!


message 7: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas Evans Now when I find a book that is so unpalatable that I just can't continue, I find myself looking to see if you have reviewed it, just in order to check my sense and sensibility.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

If yer sick of stupid characters (like me) I recommend Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness


message 9: by Aaryanna (new)

Aaryanna Lol you are really funny, you should start a blog


message 10: by Navem (new) - rated it 1 star

Navem Lol!! Yes! Exactly. I loved your review. I cannot believe all the 4 and 5 star ratings for the book. High five to you!


message 11: by Amber (new) - rated it 1 star

Amber Fabulous review! I totally agree with everything you said, especially about her mom! Her oblivion to what her daughter was going through was infuriating. Especially trying to shove her into having her future also be the diner when it was the LAST thing in the world she wanted. I loved when you said in your review she needed to sort her life out. YES. Her expectations were totally unreasonable, especially for a teenager. If you are looking for a fantastic book with a likable female protagonist I would highly recommend Leah Reader's Unteachable, or Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan. I agree though, this one was JUST awful


Katrina Passick Lumsden Amber wrote: "Fabulous review! I totally agree with everything you said, especially about her mom! Her oblivion to what her daughter was going through was infuriating. Especially trying to shove her into having..."

I adored Unteachable. I'll have to check the other one out, thanks for the recommendation!

And so totally right there with ya. I can't stand it when there are parental figures who are supposed to be great, but are really just selfish assholes who are setting their kids up for years of therapy.


Noemie Lemaitre i know some series that like this book but really good: like confectionality yours or the cupcake girls.


message 14: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Dobson Literally the most perfect book review I've ever read. I agree with everything you said 100%.


message 15: by Alma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alma Hulbert Katrina, all of the points you made in this review are very valid and there was not a time where I didn't feel like throttling Hudson or Dani because of their vapid ignorance.

I feel the eloquence with which you presented this review was poorly lacking. It's a young adult novel so there will be ridiculous love triangles and the voice in which it is written is going to be aimed at the intended audience IE young adults.

I gave this book a 5 star rating because I looked past all of the teeny bopper ridiculousness and saw how lyrical and perceptive Sarah can write in, which is prevalent in all of her novels and even more so in Summer of Chasing Mermaids.

My biggest question is this: if you disliked the book so much why did you continue reading it? I feel as if you spent more energy hating the book, as is evident with your extensive review, that you never really gave it a chance.

I feel your input as devils advocate was well done.


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