Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino

Swear on this Life
by Renee Carlino

Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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?

Kritters Thoughts:  A story within a story and done so well!  Emiline has been trying to write and has yet to find the right subject to write about as she is instructing students on how to write!  A childhood friend has written a story and she comes to realize it is her story.  But does he have the right to write her story.  

First there is Emiline's story and the reader gets to see where Emiline is now and the spot in life that she is at - spoiler alert, not a great spot.  Then instead of flashing back to her childhood like most books do, Renee Carlino geniusely includes the fictional tale that her childhood best friend wrote.  We, the reader, don't know what of this fiction is true or false until Emiline starts reacting to the story, but it was such an inventive way to put a story within a story.  

There were some definite flat moments and maybe even sometimes when I didn't love Emiline as the main character, but they weren't enough to make me put the book down or completely hate it.  I think I just wanted her to learn her lesson just a little bit quicker.  I would still recommend this to readers because just the format is interesting to read. 

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BookSparks PR.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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