Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

{BOOK REVIEW}
Title: Wish You Were Here
Author: Renee Carlino @renayz
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

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.

Grace Review

Ugly cry books can be a tough sell for me. I’d actually pick up a a dark book to read before an ugly cry book. But when this author writes it, I knew I had to give it a chance, I knew she would deliver a story with meaning. Because if any author makes me cry, she/he better have a message behind it. Something to give me hope and not drown in a sea of my own tears. And that’s what this story delivers.

The best way to describe the heroine of this story is that she’s a HOT MESS!! She can’t decide on a career and can barely hold a job once she gets it. On top of that, she has shitty taste in men. Her string of past relationships is funny yet embarrassing. And despite the trail of breakups, none of them truly left her heartbroken, just lonely. Enter Adam.

“I’ve learned lately that I only have so many fucks to give.”

From the get-go, it is clear that something isn’t quite right with Adam. He’s lost, confused, and impulsive. Scenarios were running thru my head throughout. But it’s how he handled the next day that really threw me for a loop. And then poof, he’s gone. Leaving Charlotte lost and heartbreaking after feeling true emotions for another for the first time.

There is part of the book following Adam’s brush off, that will likely frustrate readers the most. Or it did with me. Charlotte is given another chance to find something special. What bothered me was how focused on the past she stayed without seeing a good thing in the present.

There were sparks, for sure, but something was holding me back from feeling fireworks. I wished I felt worthy of him.

It is not until later that I actually looked back on Charlotte’s actions with admiration. She doesn’t use someone else to overcome her pain. She’s upfront about what is holding her back and doesn’t hide her feelings. So, while my romance reader brain was desperate for her to move forward, in the long run, her actions were more true and therefore more meaningful.

“I want to hold you up, not the other way around.”

What is most remarkable in this book is the growth that Charlotte goes thru. I know her family thought she was completely nuts making such extreme changes in her life for someone else, but I think for the first time, she was finding her direction, and part of the direction was undoubtable selflessness. Whether the ticking timeline prompted her, or she just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend more time with someone who marked her soul, she did the right thing. And you could see how much that sacrifice changed her. For the better.

“You’re a good person and you see the good in other people. You care. You brightened the darkest time of my life.”

What I also loved in this story was how Charlotte’s sacrifices impacted her family members, particularly her Dad and her brother. Given Charlotte’s past waffling, neither really showed her much respect or support. When she decides to upend her life for someone else, and then embraces a new plan following more heartbreak, her family finally saw a new side of her. One they greatly admired, and it made them reevaluate their own lives. I loved their new support and how they didn’t try to hold her back.

As a blogger, I often finish a book and immediately start up the next one. While I didn’t go into full hangover mode after this book, I didn’t read anything else that day (which is big for me). The story is one you can reflect on and the more I did so, the more I appreciated it. This was a beautifully written story with a message that resonates. Yes, you might cry, but I promise that in the end, you will feel that the tears were worth it.

– Grace

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon USAmazon UKiTunes

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