1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Sweetbitter  By  cover art

Sweetbitter

By: Stephanie Danler
Narrated by: Alex McKenna
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Instant national best seller.

A thrilling novel of the senses and a coming-of-age tale following a small-town girl into the electrifying world of New York City and the education of a lifetime at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Manhattan. Perfect for fans of Kitchen Confidential and Blood, Bones and Butter

Twenty-two and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City”. Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships - and love - set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  

As her appetites sharpen - for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging - Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all.    

Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant - conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

©2016 Stephanie Danler (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Stephanie Danler arrives on the literary scene with a fully-fledged, original voice that's wry, watchful and wise beyond its years - acutely attuned to the pleasures of the senses and to the desperate stratagems of self-invention among young urban seekers. Sweetbitter is a stunning debut novel, one that seems destined to help define a generation." (Jay McInerney)

"I loved this novel so, so much. It's rare that a book conveys with such unerring precision what it's like to be newly arrived in New York - the story itself, but also tiny throwaway details like the sudden authority of the blue sky at dawn after staying up all night, or your bones bracing themselves for what comes next, or the exact mood of a Manhattan bar at three in the morning. I've never seen these things described so brilliantly before. Tess is a remarkable narrator: vulnerable and tough and smart, but more than that, she's inspiring and riveting. This book belongs with all the great essential young-female-in-New York classics." (Kate Christensen, author of In the Drink and The Great Man)

"Gorgeous, sensual prose and a page-turning plot line that casts a spell down to the very last sentence of the final page...tantalizing in all the right ways." (Refinery29)

More from the same

What listeners say about Sweetbitter

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    666
  • 4 Stars
    557
  • 3 Stars
    457
  • 2 Stars
    175
  • 1 Stars
    116
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    940
  • 4 Stars
    429
  • 3 Stars
    241
  • 2 Stars
    88
  • 1 Stars
    65
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    537
  • 4 Stars
    440
  • 3 Stars
    435
  • 2 Stars
    207
  • 1 Stars
    148

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Set Your Expectations Accordingly

This book is touted as one of the stellar releases of 2016, so myriad sources state. Several call it a "coming of age" story, conjuring up images of a sweet YA novel. This is not the case.

Tess, or Fluffer as she's called, is an English grad looking for a job in Manhattan because "it was the only option." She doesn't want to be an actress, Broadway star, writer, publisher, etc. A low level job at a top rated restaurant is her first experience. This is a story of a 23 year old navigating the world of excess drinking, drug use, backstabbing, and sexual awakening. Know that before you listen.

The number of negative reviews surprised me. Maybe they were disappointed the book wasn't what they were expecting? Perhaps I have bad taste? I'll tell you why I like it.

What seems like a silly surface story of a naive girl in NYC is just window dressing for the selective, succulent language. I'm a pushover for any writer who can throw in the 500 SAT/GRE word list and have it come out in a non-pretentious, effortless flow, enhancing the story. This is the sumptuous story of Tess coming alive through her sense of knowledge and taste. The condescending, arrogant, yet seductive Simone opens up a world of fine wine and introduces Tess to the subtle differences between figs, oysters, duck, etc. we never notice or take for granted. You're immersed in the life that is the restaurant world and if you've worked in this field, some of it will feel familiar. They sit down for family meal and learn about the specials for the day. The cook is an aloof dictator; the manager likes the girls; fingers are pointed when things go wrong; some will do anything to get promoted. Everyone stays up late after, go out for drinks, take drugs, and sleeps together. The customers can be arrogant, funny, or treat you like a commoner. This may not be the book for you. It wasn't what I was expecting, but the turn of phrase, analogies, and unbridled confidence with which Tess exits this story made it a great listen for me.

As for the narrator, I found her voice raspy, unsure, pouty, sensuous, and at times confident, just bringing Tess into perfect focus. Since there are several negative slams of her, listen to the entire sample before you decide. She also narrates the YA novel, "Every Day" and I enjoyed her voice there, too.




39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator ruined this book

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I had heard about this book on the radio and was intrigued by the story. However, the narrator's read was grating to my ears. I couldn't finish the audio book because I found it so annoying.

How could the performance have been better?

Less vocal fry.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Don't do it

If you are looking for a pretentious, self-important, pseudo-intellectual book read by someone who purposely has her voice sound like she smokes 2 packs a day along with a bottle of whiskey then this book is for you. Throw in alcohol and drug abuse along with abusive sex and you have a winner.
This book proves that current generation angst is just as boring as the angst of every other generation.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I felt the narrator MADE the book!

What did you love best about Sweetbitter?

I didn't love the plot as much as I loved hearing about a different lifestyle and what goes on in top tier restaurants. I like food but certainly am not someone with a "palate" it was fun to learn about all of those things along with Tess. The central relationship wasn't super exciting for me but everything else was great. The characters were fun and

I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED the narrator! Alex McKenna was perfect for Tess, the sultry and sweet and somewhat young/naive sounding voice was perfect. Not to mention she did perfect impressions for each of the other characters. I especially enjoyed Simone and Ariel's voices. They just really helped enliven the characters for me.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

How is this book getting its outsized publicity?

Would you try another book from Stephanie Danler and/or Alex McKenna?

No way.

What was most disappointing about Stephanie Danler’s story?

I saw a lot of publicity and positive hype for this title. So I trusted the many voices claiming to adore this title. It was mundane and uninteresting. I found all of the characters annoying and unlikable. Plus, where was the plot? Ugh. What a waste of time.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved Everything about this Audiobook

For anyone who's ever worked in a restaurant, this book will definitely relate to that. I loved the narrator so much. I loved all the personalities, because they are so realistic and are exactly what you encounter in this type of business. I'm really sad it's over, it was such a good book

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Total letdown

The character development was slow. There was no real middle, ending, or climax for that matter :(

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Much to do about Nothing

I struggled to finish it. It starts strong. By chapter 12 I was wondering what the point was or if there was one. It rambles on into mudane and stays there until the last 3 chapters. However the performance was excellent.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Don't bother

Would you try another book from Stephanie Danler and/or Alex McKenna?

I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for this book to get good. It was beyond boring. The only way I think this book could be interesting is if you're a college grad living in NYC working at a restaurant. I've worked in a restaurant before and I still don't find this book interesting in the least bit. The descriptions the author used for food and wine were beautiful but that's about as good as this book gets. Don't bother buying/reading it. Oh and Alex McKenna's voice is extremely whiny and annoying.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Total waste of time

What would have made Sweetbitter better?

If this book actually had a plot. Total verbal dribble. It isn't a story, it isn't anything. I thought that it would at least have an interesting foodie/wine edge, but it's ridiculous. There is absolutely no point to this book.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Zeroville

What character would you cut from Sweetbitter?

There is not one character that made me want to care. All of them were 1 dimensional and completely lacking any reason to invoke interest.

Any additional comments?

Pass on this one

4 people found this helpful