Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino

Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino
Series: Standalone
Published: April 14th, 2013
Publisher: Formerly self-published, now published with Atria Books
331 pages (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary new adult
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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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.

I have really mixed feelings about Sweet Thing. The synopsis piqued my interest, as did the gorgeous cover (which was changed when the book was picked up by a publisher). Between that and the fact that reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, I went in with high hopes. While I liked the story itself, I hate to say that I had some pretty big issues with it.

My main issue was Mia. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a main character more than I disliked Mia. In the prologue and the first chapter, she seemed like this strong, capable girl who had her act together, but from there, she completely fell apart. She was fickle and judgmental, she made (mostly wrong) assumptions about nearly everyone, but especially Will, she constantly jumped to conclusions, and she spent a great deal of time feeling sorry for herself.

The relationship between Will and Mia made me angry more often than not because of Mia’s attitude. She lead him on and was forever giving him mixed signals. She didn’t want him but didn’t want anyone else to have him and would get jealous if he so much as looked at another girl. She claimed Will was her best friend, but she didn’t seem to know him at all, or know that her ridiculous, judgmental assumptions about him were wrong.

As for Will, I liked him well enough. He was a different kind of male lead, which I liked. He was comfortable with himself and who he was, and he didn’t make excuses or apologies for his actions. He was affectionate and exuberant and spontaneous, and while I didn’t fall for him, I could see how some girls would. I didn’t understand what he saw in Mia, but I liked how loyal and patient he was while she didn’t know what the hell she wanted. 

About 90% of the way through the book, something magical happened. I stopped hating Mia. She finally got her shit together, pulled her head out of her ass, and stopped being a whiny, self-destructive girl. I won’t say it was too little too late, because she did mostly redeem herself, and I absolutely loved the ending, her song, and the epilogue. Loved. It saved the book in my opinion.

One thing I did love about Sweet Thing was the setting. I love books set in New York City, and I enjoyed getting to see bits of the city, the café, and Mia and Will’s apartment. The music aspect of the book was great, and I really enjoyed that. I also liked that there was quite a bit of humour to offset the serious, dramatic, and often-emotional aspects of the book.

I really don’t know how to sum up this review. It’s hard to like a book when you hate the main character. The fact that Mia redeemed herself and that the ending was good enough that it actually made me tear up says a lot, but it wasn’t enough to completely redeem the book for me. However, I will say that I enjoyed Carlino’s writing style, and I won’t hesitate to read books from her in the future, even though I didn’t love Sweet Thing. I also wouldn’t hesitate to tell people to give this one a shot, because I seem to be in the minority with my feelings, and I know many people have loved this book, so hopefully you will too!

2.5 stars
The first cover is the original cover; I liked its simplicity, and once you read the book, you realize it was really fitting. The second cover is beautiful and I love it. It's so completely different from the first, but it's unique and I like how everything ties together. The third cover is the new cover that the book got when Atria Books picked it up, and...I really don't like it. The first two were so fitting and this one is just...meh. It could be about almost any book. I do appreciate that it's different from other NA covers which tend to be all the same, but I think it's a shame they had to change it from something great to something so generic.

 Have you read Sweet Thing? What did you think? What do you think of the cover changes? Which one's you're favourite?



  1. I agree that it is hard to enjoy a book when you cant connect with the main character. But i'm torn. The summary of this book looks so good!

    Thanks for the thoughtful review Marie

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  2. I've been curious to see your thoughts on this once since we talked about it. When you dislike the MC, it's so ROUGH reading a book and really trying to get past the MC. It's good that Mia sort of redeemed herself by the end of Sweet Thing. I MIGHT read this one at some point.

  3. I've been on the fence about this one and your review has definitely left me more curious. Thank you!


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