Bittersweet (Bittersweet #1)

Tyffani Clark
Young Adult

SCI-FI:  Earth was almost destroyed by a mysterious, planet-eating contagion, before an alien race called the Kaveesh, whose planet was similarly destroyed, saved mankind. They then settled in to live on earth with the humans. Lirabel, a half-bred Kaveesh teenager in her last year at Mother Cora’s school for the Kaveesh, is chosen to be Ambassador - an important position among the aliens.  As school begins, however, Lirabel’s ex-boyfriend Jonnas reappears after five years, causing tension between Lirabel and Solamine, the boy Mother Cora has chosen as Lirabel’s fiancé. As the year progresses, it becomes apparent that Mother Cora isn’t what she seems and neither is Jonas.  In fact, nothing is quite what it seems. Lirabel must navigate through a minefield of emotions, old and new.  As conflicts arise between the races, Lirabel faces political forces she cannot understand or control.


Ms. Kemp has created an interesting and, at times, bizarre world, both similar and dissimilar to ours today.  Her characters are well drawn, on the whole, and the reader easily finds characters to love or hate. Though the love triangle is nothing new, Lira, Sol and Jonas’ believable emotions evoke warm empathy in the reader. The cause of the rising interracial tensions needs fleshing out to avoid confusion, and it is difficult at times to believe these teenagers are at the center of earth-shattering events, even though common in young-adult fiction. The descriptions of the Kaveesh’s powers are at times confusing and inconsistent, but perhaps these flaws will be cleared up in the second book.  Overall, a fun read with relatable, sympathetic characters.


Marc Joseph