Published by Atria Books on August 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.
Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.
Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.
Some books you pick up because they sound entertaining, and some books you pick up because you’re already a fan of the author. I’m a relatively new reader to Renee Carlino, have been curious about her writing and kept seeing all of the buzz for this book, so it was definitely on my radar. But then I started and was granted so much more than just a story about two people falling in love. It’s about finding yourself, even when you don’t know where to start looking. It’s about embracing life with a sunny outlook, no matter the amount of rainy days. It’s about stealing Chinese food from a stranger on the street at midnight and discussing the merits of dancing wolves. It’s about love, life, hope and happiness. Acceptance, perspective, and the importance of dreaming about, and creating your future.
There are some authors that come along and you fall into reading them by happenstance. You are entranced not by their fancy words or worldly plots and characters, but their tone and their voice. The realness that they inject into their writing and the vivid imagery that they can create. This is exactly with Carlino and Wish You Were Here. Her voice was what drew me in, the story was what kept me. It’s an extremely visceral feeling to read a book like this with such potent intensity. This story can, and will change someone’s life.
I went in to this story completely blind and I seriously suggest you do the same. I didn’t look at any other reviews, I didn’t ask friends that I know have read it, I just turned to page one and dove in. Having no idea why to expect, I didn’t even read the blurb. Isn’t that part of the fun of reading though? Experiencing a story as it was meant to be read, not by finding hints or seeing biased reviews beforehand. Though who am I kidding, this review is biased. But I’ll also do my best to not actually tell you anything about the story other than how it made me feel. We read books to escape, don’t we? To meet other people and places and see the stories that we might not get to see. To feel. This book accomplishes all of those and more.
Wish You Were Here swept me up in such a whirlwind of emotions, it was anything but what I expected. I had no clue how this book would go but I never could’ve imagined what we actually got. I don’t know how I would’ve felt if I knew any details going in, and it was so raw and powerful to experience all of this without any outside whispers of what was happening. I feel like this book changed something in me. Even two weeks later, I can’t even reread my notes and highlighted quotes for this book because I FEEL ALL OF THE THINGS that I previously mentioned. I fell in love while reading and embraced the emotions as they came. I only hope that you can do the same.
I’ve had several people ask me about certain content in this book, but I really don’t want to tell you much about it. Just read it because this hurts so good. The only advice that I can give though is that with everything you read, file that away. Once you finish, think about the different perspectives that this gives you. Step back from the book and look at the bigger picture of everything you just read. THIS, in my opinion, is how I think the story is meant to be experienced.
Ultimately, I agree with this story and love how it was done. I thought that there was 10% near the end or so that I wasn’t totally sure on, it almost felt a little bit callous to me, but by the time we got to the epilogue, there was a giant lightbulb that went off in my head. I had a quiet, “I understand now” moment, and just had a minute of calm and reflection for what I just read once that happened.
So with that being said, I’ll leave you with this little sound bite: Beautiful Life by Nick Fradiani was on repeat in my house for several days while I danced, sang, and lived with these characters in my heart.
*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.