Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler

Three years ago, Hudson was on her way to a professional career in figure skating.  And then she threw her skating competition.  Her teammates thought that she had just choked from the pressure, but the truth was that she and her mother had just found out that her Dad (her all-round biggest fan) was cheating on them.  And, in that moment on the rink, she realized that she wanted nothing more to do with him.  Since skating was the thing she did with him, she vowed that she would never do it again.

Now, with her Dad long gone, and Hudson, her little brother, and Mom trying to make ends meet, Hudson realizes that she misses skating after all.  A rare opportunity to skate in a competition again presents itself with a tantalizing offer:  a college scholarship that could be her ticket out of her dead-end life.  But in order to get practice time at a local rink, Hudson finds herself coaching the high school hockey team, which in turn leads her into the arms of not just the team's captain, but his smoldering co-captain as well.

If you get the sense that there is an awful lot going on in this story, then you would be right.  The nearly 400 pages of this novel are full of a dozen overlapping plots.  It seems that Hudson's life is complicated and complex.  Normally, I'm not a fan of such a busy story (I'd rather a writer choose a story and focus the novel around it), but it works in this case because much of the book's point is that Hudson's life is complicated and complex.  I'm not such a fan of Hudson herself (she's a bit spacy and not very responsible with her friends), but she's brave and fearless and I give her kudos for what she accomplishes in the story.  The ending is all a bit too over-the-top cheery and pink fluffy bunnies, but Hudson grows a great deal over the course of the story, so I was satisfied overall.

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