Author: Kimberly Loth
Release Date: March 21st 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Every Sunday Savannah Ray gets an email from her dead dad. She doesn’t know how the emails work but she’s finally ready to start looking for answers. To find those answers she has to go to the one place she swore she’d never set foot in after he died—Haunted Valley, the amusement park. Once there and on the hunt for answers she is distracted by the charming Dallas and falls hard for him. When the answers she finds aren’t what she expected and Dallas betrays her, Savannah must make a choice—succumb to the insanity that destroyed her father or find the strength to rise above it.
Kimberly Loth has written Bittersweet, drawing on her own experiences, meaning she is able to create a story with a deep emotional quality. Despite Savannah’s flaws, in particular, her self-depreciation, her character is one whose story we invest in and are compelled to follow.
Bittersweet is a coming of age story in which Kimberly Loth introduces her protagonist during a time when her grief controls her. We are given the opportunity to understand that Savannah’s moods are rooted in her pain, mainly because she is burdened with the truth of her father’s death.
Savannah reluctantly agrees to spending the summer working for her uncle at Haunted Valley. For her, it is a painful reminder of the time she spent with her father at amusement parks, but yet Kimberly Loth hints at the fact that there is another reason behind her fear.
Savannah’s individual appearance already separates her from the majority of her colleagues at Haunted Valley; she has a tattoo, an eyebrow piercing and shaved her head in response to her best friend’s betrayal. Yet Savannah’s antisocial behaviour only widens the gap between ‘them’ and ‘her’. Kimberly Loth approaches this situation objectively and we can see fault on the side of Grant’s employees, but wish Savannah would break down her walls.
Savannah becomes more receptive as her relationship with Dallas develops. Kimberly Loth combines this romance with the already existing storyline and though Dallas does not always act like a Prince Charming, we sense that his support is one of the reasons why Savannah is able to acknowledge the real events leading up to the death of her father.
Savannah and Dallas’ romance is not always simple, but Kimberly Loth shows how these two characters change each other. This is why I think Bittersweet works as a clean romance; we don’t need the explicit details of their private moments to appreciate the strength of the emotion between them.
Bittersweet is powerful, moving and beautifully written. As readers, we should feel privileged that an author has opened up so honestly about a difficult time in her own life. Bittersweet wrapped its way around my heart and not only do I recommend it as a brilliant story, but I hope that readers are touched enough to donate to the fund which Kimberly Loth set up in honor of her own father: http://www.afsp.donordrive.com/campaign/bittersweet.