I don't know why, but I just love this word - bittersweet. Although it is defined pleasure mingled with regret, it is often the regret that lingers the most in my mind, as this often reminds me that life is not perfect and that we should always treasure what we have and grab any opportunity
that comes knocking your door.
Hudson Avery, the protagonist in Sarah Ockler's Bittersweet, is a talented ice skater. Before she competes for a competition, she learned that her father has been having an affair with another woman. And the sad thing is, her mother chose to live in denial, thinking that things would turn out better. Unfortunately, Hudson didn't think so and her father's affair has shattered her wish of becoming a professional ice skater, for he is the one who presented a pair of ice skate to her when she was young and offered her all the encouragement she needs. Thus, during the competition she intentionally performed like an ordinary ice skater instead of giving her best and thereafter, not to ice skate anymore.
Three years later, she found herself inventing and baking scrumptious cupcakes at her mother's diner in Watonka, New York. The dining business is the only thing that keeps her mother going ever since she has split with her husband. After all, she is now the breadwinner but business isn't doing well. It is at this time that Hudson decides to skate again after she has been invited to enter a skating competition to win a $5,000 scholarship.
However, she needs some practising and plus, she has to go to the rink if she really want to win the competition. Luck is on her side as Josh, co-captain of the school's hockey team asked her to secretly coach his team on the finer points of ice skating in exchange for some ice time at the rink. She agrees but the challenge now is aside from practising hard for the competition and coaching the team, she has to face Will, whom she had a crush on years ago and he is also the captain of the hockey team. While she is flattered that Will is attentive to her, she isn't sure if his feelings towards her is genuine or is he using her for the sake of the hockey team. To complicate matters, she finds herself attracted to Josh but will he reciprocate her feelings? And, would she be able to keep the competition under wraps from her mother since it reminds her so much of the past? Finally, would she dare hope to win the scholarship after all these years?
At its core, Bittersweet is more of a story about friends and family, commitment and dreams than pleasure mingled with regret. Sure, there is a dose of those but I was more glad that Hudson has come to realise what most matters to her and follow that direction. Bittersweet is not entirely a bad experience after all, if you have learned something from those experiences and become a better person. Now did I mention why I like the word - bittersweet?