Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino

Sweet Thing
Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino
April 14, 2013
324 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Contains mature language and sexual situations
Source: Won ecopy
Book Blurb:
Mia Kelly is a twenty-five-year-old walking Gap ad who thinks she has life figured out when her father’s sudden death uproots her from slow-paced Ann Arbor to New York City’s bustling East Village. There she discovers her father’s spirit for life and the legacy he left behind with the help of an old café, a few eccentric friends, and one charming musician.

Will Ryan is good-looking, poetic, spontaneous, and on the brink of fame when he meets Mia, his new landlord, muse, and personal heartbreaker.

A story of self-discovery and friendship, Sweet Thing shines light on the power of loving and letting go.

My Review:

What I liked about Sweet Thing is that it is more than a romance book. It's more than girl and boy meet and fall in love. While the book does follow Mia's often frustrating relationship with Will, what I really appreciated about this book was the journey that Mia takes to find herself. You see, Mia starts the book returning to her father's home and café to run things and figure out what she's going to do next with her life, because her life has been turned upside down since her father's recent death. Insert the past and present she has to deal with; the confusion she feels at who she thinks she is, who she thinks she should be, who she really is, and who she's trying to figure out she wants to be; her assumptions on what her future looks like and who should be part of that future; and you are facing down a 25-year-old girl on the cusp of finding herself, but with many mountains she still must climb to get there. I think the prologue (which I loved and found very unique) sets up Mia's story wonderfully.

I'll be honest. Mia frustrated me at times. Mia frustrated herself at times as well. But that is something I can relate to. Have you ever done something or said something that you've regretted, even instantly, and yet had been too prideful or immature to apologize and rectify the situation? Particularly when you were in your teens or early twenties? If not, I commend you. If so, then you can relate to Mia. And while the reader may want to knock some sense into Mia and help her make the right decisions and stop being blind, this is a journey Mia must make on her own. Yes, she has wonderful friends who try and help her along the way, but just like the saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," this saying holds true for many human decisions as well, and Mia is no exception. Mia had to make her own choices, and suffer her own consequences, in order to find what was right in front of her. But Mia also has many redeeming qualities, and there's a reason that Will and others love her and can see past the hurt she's living in.

Will is a wonderful character as well, and I genuinely liked him. I love that we get to see many sides to him, and he's one of those guys you instantly like, especially the way we are introduced to him in the novel. But Will isn't perfect, and I think Mia's faults tend to diminish Will's faults at times, distracting us from the reality that he's this secretive, enigmatic character whom I spent much of the novel trying to completely figure out. But Will is also this amazing, artistic, patient, musical, charismatic guy, and I love that Renee showed us Will's struggles and also his beauty from afar. He really is a fascinating character and I liked how Renee spread bits of Will throughout the novel. Will is also taking a journey in this novel, it's just not as blatant as Mia's. Will must decide what he wants, who he wants to be,  when to let go and wait, and when to go out on a limb. He and Mia have a sweet chemistry musically as well as in friendship and budding romance. Will is worthy of all the swooning that has been sent his way.

Bottomline: This is a beautifully written story of self-discovery, emotional healing, tender friendship, heart-breaking angst, and sweet romance. I didn't want to put Sweet Thing down. This is a couple you will root for individually as well as together. And the prologue and epilogue are icing on the cake. Amazing debut from Renee Carlino!


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