Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

Summary:  This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning first novel. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, she’s come to New York to look for a life she can’t define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a “backwaiter,” on duty and off. Her appetites—for food, wine, knowledge, and every kind of experience—are awakened. And she’s pulled into the magnetic thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman she latches onto with an orphan’s ardor.

These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story of discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment. (From Goodreads)


This book should have been called, “Assorted Vignettes of Working in the Restaurant Biz with a Very Vague Plot.” Because that’s what it was. I’m currently a server and it was hard to read this book on my days off because it’s pretty real. Now, maybe the way the restaurant business is portrayed in this book isn’t very groundbreaking, but it is authentic.

The plot is almost non-existent. I honestly did not give two shits about the romance/pseudo-love triangle. In fact, the love interest was such a douchebag that I was WAITING for Tess to get over herself and dump his ass.

I enjoyed this book. I think, though, to enjoy this book, you have to be a wayward 20-something who isn’t really sure what’s going on in life.

Rating:  ★★★☆☆

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