Thursday, August 10, 2017

REVIEW: Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino


Shel: The truth of the matter is that I've become one of those fans--you know the ones that don't even need to read the description of the latest Renee Carlino book to know that I'm definitely going to read it? Yep, that's me. Guilty as charged. Court: Her gift of writing is unmeasured and we literally are in love with her I think. Superfans, I think they're called. 

Shel: So, of course, when I had a chance to read and review it, I didn't even hesitate...and I had no clue as to what this novel was about. (See synopsis below because this review is more about my reactions than retelling the plot). The first moment I had to read this novel, I did, and truth be told, at first I was a little disconnected from Charlotte--her character seemed so aimless and it was a little off -putting. Trusting Renee Carlino as I do, I kept an open mind and decided to just trust that it would all come together for me by the end. As I continued to read, I puzzled through a strange one night stand with Adam and fell for Seth. Court: I love reviewing with you because as we analyze the characters our reactions end up being so fluid but different too. I love it! I loved Charlotte because I found another character that is pretty much describing my twenties. I wouldn't say I'm as aimless per se due to things in our lives that our different, but our overall feeling of w t f am I doing where I am at a particular moment...yeah, that. She's unsure of taking a risk, that leap into the unknown...that the scariest step of all is the first one that really gets us going in a completely different direction than we are on. I get that, and I think at any given time every one of us has felt that way. And event, or person or place hit us like an earthquake and shook us out of that rut and bounced us on our way to another path. That happened to Charlotte. 

Shel: Things were off for Charlotte which meant they were off for me--I wanted something for her character that her character didn't want for herself and I was getting frustrated. Ugh! But then, Renee Carlino did what I knew she'd do--she started connecting things together for me in a way that made me love and respect Charlotte, Adam, and Seth. There was a method to her author-madness that wasn't clear to me at first, then it started clicking in place and  I got it. Totally got it. And I appreciate so much of the wisdom offered through the conversations of Adam and Charlotte and what was shown with Seth and Charlotte. Court: It's like she laid out the puzzle pieces, and even though we couldn't see what would happen...she had the idea of how she wanted to put it all together. Thinking of how she put the book together, plotting and planning, makes my heart race because the actual craft of writing is fascinating and beautiful. The fact that Renee is so dang good at it...well....she's a household name for us. This one is an immediate paperback on the shelf, y'all and I think these characters journey is one that you'll want to go on as well. It's a wonderfully realistic novel with just enough fantasy that we love in our romance that rounded out a great book. 

Shel: I should also point out that throughout all of this, I cracked up with Charlotte's interactions with Chucky, Helen, and her family. They (those characters) were my voice to Charlotte, many times, and many times what they were saying made so much sense but in retrospect, many times what they had to say was rooted in misplaced motivations, I think. Thankfully, Renee Carlino knew better than me and Helen and Chucky and the parents and allowed Charlotte to have the journey she absolutely need to have. And what a journey it was--it was quirky and funny and enlightening; it was sweet and sad and joyful...and at times frustrating. It was exactly what I needed and I didn't even know I needed it. Isn't that the best? Court: Sometimes finally figuring out your stuff and getting off your butt and letting your wobbly legs is what a girl needs to get it together. Her family is hysterical. Chucky and Helen are my favorites. Adam is a poetic and beautiful addition to the story, and I really loved Seth. He's my underdog character and I felt a lot for him a lot of the time and just knew my heart was going to be ripped to shreds over these characters. It's a hard one, but gentler than I expected. Instant favorite for us, y'all..

Shel: I really think you are going to enjoy this novel--but if you're a little disconnected at first, like I was, trust me when I say that it really all comes together, just wait; be patient. Court: I know! I get that, totally. Be patient. Charlotte is disconnected and confused and we feel everything she feels right along with her. 


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.


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