Reviewed: Bittersweet, a novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

The last few days have been spent on the road, which means ample time for plowing through some advance copies we’ve received from Spring 2014. Where has the time gone?!


This trip’s read was Bittersweet, an upcoming release from Crown Publishing by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. Billed a suspense novel, the opening line immediately hooks the reader. Unfortunately, that sense of urgency and mystery gets lost around the 45% mark, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here….

Bittersweet is the story of plain, under privileged Mabel Dagmar (what a fantastically drab name!) whose life is turned topsy turvy by her college roommate, the beautiful and petty Genevra Winslow. Vain and from a very wealthy background, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ev is moody, determined to get her own way, but yet “damaged” in an endearing way. During the course of the school term, Mabel and Ev form an odd sort of friendship which culminates in Mabel’s invitation to spend the summer at her family’s estate in Vermont.

Upon arrival it is very clear that something is not right.

This is where the book goes off the proverbial deep end. What starts as a plausible coming-of-age/suspense novel, quickly turns into a rushed and convoluted tale that ends in a way that is too bizarre to even properly comprehend. Characters quickly turn into predictable stereotypes, and in an effort to avoid the usual cliches, Beverly-Whittemore creates outlandish twists and turns.

That said, I’m not sure if I would totally right off Bittersweet. Is it totally unbelievable? Yes. But at the same time, if you accept it for what it is, I think some readers could still find it enjoyable. It sort of reminded me of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series (remember those teen horror novels?), entertaining yet totally removed from reality. 

Available for pre-order, this book hits shelves in May 2014.

xo The Book Bird

Disclaimer: We received an advance galley of this book via the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.