This book was so fantastically creepy. I just finished reading it and I’m so sad that it’s over. I fell hard with this book, struggling to set it down even the few times that I had to. I love these types of tangled stories, these forays into intricately twisted families and the hearts and minds of teenage girls.
I really related to Mabel’s character throughout the book. Her passionate wish to be a part of somebody’s life who maybe isn’t the best influence for her, her incredible thirst for knowledge, her compassionate heart, and intelligent mind. I didn’t always agree with Mabel’s choices, but they were always understandable and I loved how she consistently stood up for what she believed in, no matter the cost.
I also loved the rest of the characters — Ev, Lu, John, Birch, Tilde, Galway, Indo. There were so many characters in the book, but I never had trouble remembering any of them (which is a problem I have often), because they were all so complex with clearly defined personalities. My favorite part of this book was the characters. They were all so human, with their individual motives, backgrounds, and lifestyles. There were times when I loved each character and also times when I hated each of them as well. No character stayed stagnant in this book — they were all extremely dynamic.
The writing was also a favorite element of this book for me. It was hard not to feel like I was literally there in Winloch with these people. I could picture everything and everyone. And the atmosphere was so deliciously eerie. My heart was pounding along with Mabel’s many different times while I was reading. I felt those papers in her hands, I kissed that boy, I got my heart broken by somebody I trusted. I had so much trouble leaving this story, because Beverly-Whittemore was able to make it so that I felt like I was truly there in the story myself. I won’t be forgetting this book for a long time. It really did a number on me.
But that’s not to say it’s completely without its problems. While I do think that Bittersweet is a fantastic book and definitely a favorite of mine from 2014, I did have trouble initially connecting with the book. Although I immediately liked the atmosphere and characters, it was a little slow-starting and I couldn’t really figure out what the book was about at first and, because of that, had trouble becoming interested in the story. But once Mabel and Ev were in Winloch and the plot was more clear, at around the 30% mark, I was definitely hooked.
My least favorite part about the book was its ending. For such an enticingly macabre story, the ending was lackluster. After everything that took place, I wasn’t expecting all of the pieces to fall into place so well. Things wrapped up too nice and tidy for my tastes. I liked that all of the mystery was eventually revealed, but disliked that almost all of the players weren’t really punished in any way and, instead, are seen as kind of heroes. I would’ve liked a little bit more of a realistic ending after such gruesome events occurred.
Overall, though, I absolutely loved this book. The characters, writing, atmosphere, and mystery were all perfect examples of what I look for in books like this one. Although it wasn’t 100% amazing, I’d still highly recommend it to almost everybody and I’m so glad that I was able to read it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this one.