Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer

Monday, July 8, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Speak
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Website
Source: Bought
Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Jacobs never asked to be famous, but as the daughter of Janie Jacobs, one of the biggest TV stars in the world, she is. Growing up is hard enough. Having to do it in public because your mother is a famous actress? Even harder. When your mom crashes and burns after her DUI mug shot is splashed across the internet? Definitely not fun. Then your mom falls for a guy so much younger than she that it would be more appropriate for you to be dating him? That’s just a train wreck waiting to happen.
This is Robin Palmer's first YA book that isn't a fairy tale retelling, but her fans have no reason to worry. Everything that makes her books so great is still here, including her addictive writing style, quirky sense of humor, and the story's strong sense of heart. What is different about The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is that the subject material is heavier, though it doesn't always feel that way. Some books that deal with Tough Subjects tend to border on melodramatic, but TCoBaS manages to be realistic, without being depressing (which is why the title is so perfect).

The book's protagonist, Annabelle, makes a ton of mistakes, and understandably so. One of my favorite things about her is that she's real. This is shown in the details, too, from her Play Dough sniffing to her lists. A lot of book characters don't have idiosyncrasies like that, but seeing Annabelle's gives more insight into who she is and into her situation. We also get to see her interests, especially photography, which really contributes to the plot (unlike some books that throw in a MC's hobbies and it just feels like, "Look! Random characterization!") That to me is an honest character.

The mother-daughter relationship is so tangled and messy, but then there's a side of it that's touching and sweet, too. Even though Annabelle's mother is coping with mental illness and is also largely self-absorbed, she does really love her daughter. Their relationship is the crux of the book, of course, and it's just shown perfectly, in all of its good and bad.

There's romance in this novel, too, though it's not the focus. In fact, there's no chance of romance until about 200 pages in, which is actually a really, really good thing. Annabelle needs to work out her own issues before she gets into a relationship, which would make any earlier love arc an unnecessary distraction. Waiting until later in the plot ensured that it is not only meaningful, but also super sweet and fun, too.

Ultimately, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is everything that I hoped it would be. Definitely giving this one...
*5 stars*
Other Books by Robin Palmer: Cindy Ella, Geek Charming, Little Miss Red, Wicked Jealous
What do you feel makes a realistic character?

20 comments:

  1. I like when there's a romance but it isn't the main plot of the story (of course, I do love a great romance but sometimes you need something a little different). Annabelle sounds like a great character -- she's a Play-Doh sniffer? Definitely quirky!

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    1. Exactly! I love romance but sometimes it's overdone or forced. The Corner of Bitter and Sweet did it perfectly! :)

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  2. This book sounds so good, I'll have to read it soon! Annabelle sounds great, I love the fact that you said she feels real and has idiosyncrasies. The relationship between Annabelle and her mom sounds really interesting too! :) Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

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  3. Awesome, so glad you liked this, I was wondering about it! So nice to see a character who makes mistakes and is refreshingly real, will be checking this out!

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    1. Annabelle is a great character, and the supporting cast is just as good! I could have gone on and on about so many of the characters, but I figured it'd be better for other readers to meet them for themselves! haha

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  4. Ah, I just love this cover! I really like it when the romance is well done and NOT the main focus of the novel. I think I will enjoy this one. Great review!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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    1. Right? I'm not crazy about covers with real people on them, but this really captures the mood of the book. Hope you like the book! :)

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  5. Hi Sara, I just noticed this review and wondered if you would like to link it in to the current monthly collection of books that people loved on Carole's Chatter. This is the link There are already over 25 great books linked in that you might be interested in. It would be super if you came on over. Cheers

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    Replies
    1. I checked it out and added my link. Thanks for the heads up! :)

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    2. Sara, thanks for stopping by. I am now signed up to follow you. Hope to see you again soon. Cheers

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  6. Ooh, I may just have to add this to my TBR. I love books about mother/daughter relationships, even when they're dysfunctional. Great review!

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    1. Mother/daughter relationships are definitely not seen a lot in YA books. It's a nice change! :)

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  7. Sounds like a GREAT book! I'll have to get my hands on it :)

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  11. This kind of publication appears so excellent, I am going to must examine that shortly! Annabelle appears fantastic, I enjoy the fact an individual mentioned the lady can feel genuine and contains idiosyncrasies. The partnership among Annabelle and also the girl mommy appears actually intriguing also. read more

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