cover image Bittersweet


Sarah Ockler. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4424-3035-8

Ockler concocts an appetizing blend of personalities, drama, and passion in a story of bitter disappointments and sweet successes. Hudson was a champion ice skater until she learned a terrible secret about her father and hung up her skates. Three years later, her greatest claim to fame is baking scrumptious cupcakes for her mother's failing diner. But when Hudson is invited to enter a skating competition with a $50,000 scholarship prize, she's tempted to take a second chance at stardom on the ice. There are complications, of course. She has little time to practice and, in exchange for access to the local rink, Hudson has agreed to help her school's hockey team overcome their losing streak by teaching them some moves. Then there are the two handsome hockey players vying for her attention. Offering a non-glamorized depiction of competitive skating, Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer) expresses Hudson's anxieties as she tries to prioritize her commitments and dreams. Her love of the sport is deeply felt, and her regrets about the past and her fears about the future are heart-wrenchingly real. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (Jan.)