Swear on This Life
by Renée Carlino
Published by Atria Books
on August 9, 2016
Genre: Romance Contemporary
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.
That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.
The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?
I should have known better than read a Renee Carlino novel right after I finished a Colleen Hoover novel.
For some of those who don’t know, Hoover published a romance novel at the beginning of August. It Ends With Us. I read it in one-sitting. I regret nothing after a finished that life-altering novel. But Atria Books had the great idea to publish Carlino’s novel, exactly, one week after IEWU.
I was barely getting out of a reading slump after finishing IEWU when I started Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino at my bedtime that night. Needless to say, I sleep nothing that night. Another regretless one-sitting reading.
And the book hangover?
Oh, it felt like a really hangover with a constant headache and swollen eyes from all the sleepless crying. I was a mess, and not a hot one.
I fell in love with Carlino’s writing from the moment I read my very first novel of hers, Before We Were Strangers, and that love intensified when I read Nowhere but Here.
Weeks ago, the last month I read After the Rain and for a moment I had this theory that an alien had usurped Renee’s body and written that novel instead of her. It’s clearly that I didn’t like it, but then again, I can’t love everything she writes and consider myself human at the same time.
Swear on This Life is a poignant, tender overwhelming and sweet story about two former best friends who found themselves after a decade thanks to a recently published novel about two kids with a rough childhood trying to do the best they can with the little life has given them.
I think SoTL is the kind book you would prefer to go blind, the synopsis is a bit of a spoiler, but if you want to know a bit more here are some facts: the characters are young writers just starting their careers, there’s jealousy and envy, broken promises on a dusty road and a childhood that will teach you to take nothing for granted.
A perfect reading for anyone who reads. Period.