Wish You Were Here: A Novel, by Renee Carlino
Publication: Atria Books; August 15, 2017
About the book:
You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.
Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.
Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.
Who, What, When, Etc.
This is the story of Charlotte (Charlie) as she sort of stumbles through her twenties, unsure about what to do with her life. She is roommates with her best friend Helen and they also work together at a local diner. She’s never quite figured out if she wants to be a massage therapist or a hair stylist and certainly hasn’t had meaningful relationships with men.
Soon she meets Adam and is immediately drawn to him, but when things abruptly end, she meets a baseball player named Seth. Thus begins her indecision about whether to find Adam and try to make things work, or to give Seth a chance.
In the meantime, Helen falls for Seth’s friend and fellow ball player, Roddy, prompting Charlotte’s adorably aggravating brother, Chucky to move in with her and help with the rent. Helen, Chucky, and Charlotte’s parents all try to support her, but she really has to go on this journey on her own.
Thoughts and Reactions
I absolutely adored this novel. Wish You Were Here grabbed me from the first few pages and didn’t let go. Without giving spoilers, I warn that this novel requires ample Kleenex in your immediate vicinity while reading! There are such devastating moments in this story, but this novel is also packed full of love, commitment, and self-discovery.
Honestly, I struggled with Charlie as a character in general at the beginning of the novel. There wasn’t anything really unlikable about her, however, I struggled relating to her. As the novel progressed, so did Charlie. She went from not knowing what in the world she wanted or who she wanted to learning how to completely love and how to behave selflessly. Her relationship with her brother and parents strengthened, and although she and Helen had some struggles during the novel, theirs also grew by the end of the book.
The plot was engaging and paced perfectly, but I felt that the character development fell short compared to the novel as a whole. Besides my initial struggles with Charlie, it occurred to me that although I just finished this novel last night, I cannot tell you what any of the characters looked like. What I did learn about them felt somewhat superficial, but even with this drawback, I loved this book.
Wish You Were Here is a tearjerker, but it includes such important themes about love and life in general. I highly recommend this to lovers of new adult & women’s fiction.
*Many thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Learn more about Renee Carlino by visiting her web page!
Pre-Order Wish You Were Here on Amazon!