Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly wrong!
The luxurious celebrity cruise launching the trendy new diet sweetener Solu should be the vacation of a lifetime. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host Tom Forelli—the hottest guy ever!—and she’s too sick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.
Tom knows that he should be grateful for this job and the chance to shed his former-child-star image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when the hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.
Special thanks to Feiwel & Friends and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!
I must admit that I’ve changed my rating for Sweet around a couple of times. I found it to be a book that was extremely difficult to rate, as there is just SO MUCH jam-packed into a somewhat short book. Hence, this review may come out to be a little bit conflicting, because, well, that’s how I feel about this book.
I was originally drawn to Sweet from the synopsis. I mean, what a cool and different sounding book, right?! While Sweet was cool and different, I found some parts to be way over the top, and others to be really worthy of some eye-rolls.
Sweet starts out as a pretty good, funny, contemporary book. It’s told from two points of view: Laurel, a nobody who’s overweight but happy in her body, being dragged along by her rich best friend, and Tom, child star now grown, attempting to be known for something other than his nickname “Baby Tom Tom.” The beginning of the book is really like reading a reality TV show, which I really liked. It was comical and amusing, like I find all reality shows to be.
But then, about 3/4ths of the way through the book, it took a turn for the worst, in my opinion. Things got crazy weird… Enter new problems of addiction, people turning into zombie-vampire things, and an insane evil mastermind and you have the last 1/4th of Sweet. I was almost like The Biggest Loser on a cruise ship meets The Walking Dead. So basically, it turns into a post-apocalyptic novel masquerading as a fun-filled contemporary.
While the writing and story flowed from the contemporary story to the crazy one, I still felt like something didn’t seem to fit with the second part of the book. But, when I met Emmy Laybourne she immediately described Sweet as a huge conglomeration of genres. The way she described it made me feel like she wanted it to be a little crazy, out there, and over the top. This is why I felt kind of conflicted, because if that is the case, she delivered!
Overall, Sweet had a cool concept and was definitely unique and different, but I think it may have been taken a little too far, to too unrealistic lengths. That being said, a part of me really enjoyed Sweet in a odd and crazy way. It was a super quick read, and definitely perfect for the summer. But don’t read it on a cruise!