Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.  Today’s eagerly anticipated book is Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler, to be published on May 24.





Synopsis: You will develop a palate. A palate is a spot on your tongue where you remember. Where you assign words to the textures of taste. Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed. You will never simply eat food again.

These are the words that introduce us to Tess, the twenty-two-year-old narrator of Sweetbitter—and you will never again read a debut coming-of-age novel as stunning as this one.

Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.

Stephanie Danler intimately defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. She deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, relationships only partially revealed. And she evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, the fragility and brutality of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy. A lush novel of the senses—of taste and hunger, seeing and understanding, love and desire—Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter.


I have been hearing such good things about this book, and haven’t yet managed to get my hands on an ARC.  But if I can’t get one of those, I guess I can wait until the release date.  But it will be hard to do!

What do you think?



  1. Diana

    The book does sound quite interesting. I already like the protagonist just based on the synopsis. I hope you get the ARC.Fingers crossed, good luck.


    1. Thanks for visiting, Sydney, and I love the sound of this character, too, who resonates with me…as I was from a small town, swept up into the sophisticated city life (SF, CA), but in different ways. Transformation is breathtaking, no matter what form it takes.


  2. Patty

    So…read it…loved it…it is intensely infatuating…my husband is reading it now and loving it…as much as I did…my review is at Goodread’s as well as Amazon…it’s a book you won’t soon forget! I tried to help you grab it Rain!


  3. I have never seen this one before and it definitely sounds like it would be interesting. It doesn’t sound like something I would normally pick up, but if I see it at my library when it releases, I will now know what it’s about and probably grab it. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Definitely sounds good- the protagonist is obviously going to be in over her head and it should be interesting (and perhaps heartbrteaking) to see her journey. Hope it’s great when you get it!


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