When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's café, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions-for him, for music-but her father's legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.
It’s been too long since a book totally engulfed me the way Sweet Thing did. Renee Carlino just transports you to the East Village in New York where it’s easy to fall in love with the people, the music, and the artistry that shape the city. From the writing to the setting to the relationships, everything about this book is gorgeous. The story itself is even set up in its own frame, giving you context and a window into a different life that serves as its own piece of art. But even better than its beauty, is the way these characters just drove me crazy in the best way possible.
Heroines who have a cynical view of love are just easier for me to relate to. Still, Mia’s practical view of love and relationships was maddening. It got to the point where almost everything out of her mouth made me want to throw the book out the window. But then…I stopped a moment and realized that I would say the same thing, or I would have made the same decision, or I would have totally ran in the other direction, too. And that was the moment where this book just totally won me over. Because I was so invested and Mia was so in my head that I didn’t even realize how it turned a mirror on my own life.
Honestly, I haven’t been so caught up in the drama of two characters that can’t seem to figure things out since Travis and Abby in Beautiful Disaster. But where Travis makes a point to be a part of Abby’s life, Will just shows up for Mia at exactly the right time and lets the universe do the rest. Will’s patience and kindness is so refreshing; I don’t know that a good boy has ever made me so crazy before. Will is probably the ideal man: he’s artistic, he’s smart, and life just seems to flow more vibrantly through his presence.
I’ll say this over and over again. I adore stories where best friends fall in love. It’s so much more real and exciting to me than love at first sight stories or the stories that turn from just-fun to serious. There’s something exciting about being the one person who knows all the history, habits, and passions of someone important to you. And then to realize you love all of those things that make that person who he/she is, is probably the most powerful feeling. This is the kind of relationship Mia and Will have, although she fights it every step of the way. I love that we get to witness their friendship and how they come to know each other. I love that she knows what he needs and he knows when she needs him. It’s amazing.
This book is borderline New Adult, in my opinion. The characters are a little older than I would generally like them to be when reading NA. Mia is 25 and just out of college, which kind of marks that NA divider. However, this book explores a lot of the questions that surround the NA age group. Mia is really figuring out what she wants out of life and what it means to choose security over love. She also gets a good dose of the consequences of making decisions based on reason over passion. She’s still really finding her way and building a life for herself.
Sweet Thing came along at the perfect time in my life and I’m just enamored with it. It has an ideal blend of realism and romantic storytelling that makes it stand out from the other books in the genre. I’m going to keep this one on my shelves for a long time and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to revisit these characters often. I’m crazy in love with this book.