The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer


August 24, 2013 by Alice in Readerland

 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.

From Robin Palmer, author of Geek Charming and Wicked Jealous, this is a novel about the most complicated relationship a girl ever has: that with her mother.

“Things to keep in mind when waiting to bail out your mother from jail. Number one: small talk in police precincts is not necessary.”

The Corner of Bitter and Sweet has the open, hilarious narration like Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries and covers some deeper family issues and the topic of coming into your own, like Sarah Dessen’s books. There are so many fantastic, funny quotes from this book. But what else did I love about it?

The Main Character, Annabelle

Annabelle had this humorous, wonderful narration that really gave a sense of who she was right off the bat. But I also loved that her character felt so fleshed out; she had quirks like making lists, she was really interested in photography, she was used to having to be responsible, she talked about having her first panic attack, she had conflicting emotions, and in short, she was real to me. She is definitely on my list of favorite YA leads.

Annabelle’s Relationship with Her Mother

I also really enjoyed exploring Annabelle’s relationship with her mother, Janie. In so many YA books I’ve read lately, the parents have either been absent, or if they are in the story, they’ve been portrayed as unloving. But The Corner of Bitter and Sweet brings out a much different aspect. Janie messes a lot up and would definitely not win the Mother of the Year award in the beginning of the book, but what I liked was how she started to turn her life around and how much she loved her daughter. She made mistakes, but she tried to fix them, and I enjoyed watching how Annabelle and Janie both had such character development throughout the course of the book, both as individuals, and as to where their relationship stood.

Here, have some gifs of some mother-daughter duos:


Cynical Cindy Says

My one complaint about the book is that, near the beginning, we’re introduced to Annabelle’s friends and learn all of their names and quirks, but (minor spoiler) we don’t really see them again as they ditch Annabelle, so I felt that learning about them could’ve been cut out of the book.

Both hilarious and heartwarming, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet will definitely be making an appearance on my end of the year Best Books of 2013 list!

What are some of your favorite fictional mother/daughter relationships?

4 Teacups

4 out of 5 teacups

16 thoughts on “The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer

  1. Book Blather says:

    I wasn’t really that interested in this title untill you compared it to a Meg Cabot book. Now I have to read it, darn you! :-)

  2. I like mother-daughter stories, too. It wasn’t a favorite of mine, but you might also like the Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding — it has a lot of the same themes as this book.

  3. DoingDewey says:

    Like Book Blather, I hadn’t really been interested in this book before reading your review. I also liked the Meg Cabot comparison, but what caught my attention most is the well-rounded protagonist. I love characters that seem real and the recent discussions of “strong” female characters vs well-rounded ones ( has me looking for female characters with a little more depth.

  4. This sounds really interesting. I’m not usually into contemporary, but for some reason have been itching to read some lately. I like that this talks about a complicated mother/daughter relationship (as I have my own complicated relationship with my mom. who doesn’t, right?). I think I’ll be checking this one out. Great review!

  5. Yay, I’m so glad you liked this one! Annabelle’s quirks was one of my favorite parts, too. The friends thing didn’t bother me too much. I thought that their absence was just part of Annabelle’s growth as she lets go of the poisonous things in her life, but I can see why you didn’t like it.

    Love your review!!

  6. Bella says:

    I love Robin Palmer’s other books, so I will definitely read this one! The main character sounds awesome.

  7. Sunny says:

    I love that the beginning is like Meg Cabot’s books. I love the quote you put in. I love the sound of this whole book. I love the view of the daughter of an actress. I love the dynamic between the two. I LOVE the Once Upon a Time gifs you put because it really seized my heart considering that I always loved the Emma and Snow scenes. Basically, I love your whole review. I swear, I always find more books to read on here than anywhere else. And we have so many similar tastes! Thank you, Alice ;)

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