Sweet Thing by Renée Carlino
Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief
When words fail, music speaks. Sweet Thing by Reneé Carlino is a book about loss, discoveries, unexpected love, and of course music. Mia Kelly is an Ivy League graduate who has been classically trained on the piano. She has spent her whole life running away from her passion and using her business degree as a scapegoat. Unexpectedly, Mia’s father dies so she leaves Ann Arbor, Michigan and heads to New York City to get his affairs in order and run his café while trying to figure out what to do next with her own life.
Her father’s café is a beloved establishment where locally undiscovered musicians can perform their music to a non-judgmental audience. It’s also the second time Mia finds herself face-to-face with Will—a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist—who gives her a thrilling and unpredictable taste of the musician life she has denied herself for years. Mia and Will become friends, all though when you read the first chapter of the book you know there is no way they’re just friends because Renée Carlino gives the two characters palpable chemistry and builds up sexual tension right from the very beginning when they spontaneously meet and have a witty exchange on the airplane flying to New York at the beginning of the book. Mia and Will become roommates and she tries desperately to suppress her passions for him and everything he stands for—music.
If it is one thing that drives me absolutely crazy yet at the same time I get so emotionally invested in when it comes to New Adult romances, is their stubbornness to actually surrender to love and happiness. They’re always holding back from the man of their dreams or their talents and it makes them miserable. It makes the readers miserable, too! On several occasions I wanted to reach an arm into Sweet Thing and strangle Mia to make her see that Will is crazy about her and wants to love her and help her pursue her passion in music. But no. She just wants to be “friends” but secretly gets insanely jealous when Will starts dating after she has constantly rejected him. It doesn’t help at all that they live together while all this is going on. But in a way, it forces Mia to realize her own feelings for him.
What makes this book so special is seeing the forgiveness of wrong doings and learning from those mistakes. I think what touched me about Mia is that she didn’t want to feel out of control. Music made her feel happy and loosened her up to enjoy the everyday experiences of life. However, it’s unpredictable. This fear of giving in to her passions stems from the fact that her father was a musician and left her and her mother to go to New York. Until Mia discovers the truth behind her parents separation that threatens to tear her apart. Mia has a lot of regret for the thoughts she had of her father and how she avoided him for no good reason at all. She pushes Will away when he only wanted to love her. She has anger towards her mother for lying to her. This is a novel about forgiving yourself so that you can forgive other people. Renee Carlino’s novel poses a crucial question: how do you love someone else when you don’t even love yourself? It is questions like these that make me love Renee Carlino! I loved finding a little bit of myself in this novel. It reminded me that there are so many people in my life rooting for me and loving me every step of the way. I have to learn not to push that kind of love away even if it terrifies me.
I hope you enjoy this story beautiful story like I did. It will wrap itself around your heart and hold on tight even after you finish the novel. I still think about it till this day and if I had more time with my crazy English major school schedule, I would love to go back and reread it again. This complicated love story wrecked me. I know you’re wondering: Taylor how could you be so dramatic? I just am and you would understand the emotional struggle and tears I have shed because of it if you read the book. I have written a previous book review about Renee Carlino because she just has the juice. Meaning, I couldn’t put the book down because she has you emotionally invested in the plot and characters by the first couple of pages. To my utter shock and excitement, Renee Carlino wrote a companion novel to Sweet Thing as a novella called Sweet Little Thing. I cannot reveal anything about it without giving the whole story away. All I can say is that your heart will melt like sweet, sweet, milk chocolate when you delve into both novels.