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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 


Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler To see full review click here: http://yalbookbriefs.blogspot.com/2012/08/bittersweet-sarah-ockler.htmlDespite 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?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 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.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.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.