Monday, January 23, 2012

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

BittersweetBittersweet by Sarah Ockler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yays! For a while there I was worried that the YA contemps would be bust this year, what with my last two picks being so non-stellar.  But my 4-hour read to 3 in the morning with BITTERSWEET proves otherwise. And while my back says Ouch, Josh and Bug were worth it. I’m half tempted to bring out my fangirl gif.

Picture me thoroughly charmed because I liked all of them. Hudson Avery in particular is big surprise because I don’t normally go for girls her type… the sad on purpose type, the solo flight type, the one friend in all the world type. Yet, there’s just something, (a couple of somethings) about her that cracked me up. She’s sassy. She’s hilarious. And while her life might not have been all roses, she retained her humor and made do. It was just the all the making-do that led to some of the drama (and I do stress the ‘some’ part.) 

So, Hud is hilarious and sensitive… and did I mention funny? While there were moments of her broody  with her parallel Hudson fantasies of ‘I want out of here,’ I found myself rooting for her because she kept things light:

"I wave, forgetting all about the cool-man nod I practiced in front of the mirror. Josh smiles at me from the line. Oh. Is the pancreas on the left side? Because I think mine just twitched."

"I check the roster and count the boys three time to be sure, looking at them in the eye as I do. It’s a thing I learned from that show where the guy gets dropped in the jungle with nothing but a pillow case, a pack of gum, and a tampon applicator: make eye contact with wild animals to claim your territory and avoid a beat down."

What’s better is she’s not alone in being funny because there’s Dani too. Dani who is of the same feather, only more out there and a little more loud. I love that she’s a romance novel reading, life living funny girl. I enjoyed their BFF dynamic. I liked that they each had their thing, yet had time for the other. But what I liked even more was how Dani was friend enough to call Hud out on her behavior.  They held each other up, but pushed each other as well… pushed each other, because really HUDSON could be so unsure and held back by the past. Again DESPITE all of Hud’s flaws, I found myself, like Dani, rooting for the girl.

Then Bug! Wasn’t he just darling? He’s positively precious. I liked that he was the one constant POSITIVE thing in here… because there was drama, which wows me a little more because the drama that was present never went over the top; everything going on in it, read quite possible: the struggle to make ends meet; the tiny resentments and feelings of being overwhelmed, even the losing sight of what’s good and fun… all happen, all the time.

This is what I was hoping for when I picked up The Sweetest Thing a couple of months back. Because in this is a girl who's got problems but doesn’t drown in them or over dramatize, a girl one who keeps it together, tries to make things work and still laugh at the funny things. Now, if there’s one thing to complain about, it’d be her indecision~ over the boys. It’s not incredibly annoying or anything because that ending has me grinning a little (a lot) as I recall it. 

This reads real, and possible… and yes, Bittersweet. 

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