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.
When I went into Wish You Were Here I was really blind to what the book was about minus the blurb. Saying that, I suggest that’s how all you beautiful awesome nerds should go into reading this book as well, blind and with an open heart (not to mention tissues). This book has the power to change your outlook on life, taking your heart into its little hands only for it to go on the ride of its life. Author Renee Carlino has written an emotional story about doubt, love, loss, hope and adventure, undoubtedly making it the best book I’ve read this year and even possibly the last 2 years.
Being a book blogger we read books and finish them, jumping into the next book needing a review. I couldn’t do that with this book. To say it destroyed my heart and bashed it into a million pieces feels cliché’, yet amazingly accurate and at the same time inaccurate. My heart certainly didn’t know how to feel and while this tale did indeed make me feel every emotion its capable of feeling, it ended feeling hopeful for its own real life.
There’s a quote that I thought of when I read this book and to me it matches how I feel perfectly, and sums up the book for me.
“You never lose by loving. You only lose by holding back”
Charlotte is one of the most relate-able characters I’ve ever read. She’s floundering switching jobs like underwear just trying to find her place in this world, and failing even harder in her love life. Charlotte has so much more to give in her life she just needed to find her muse to help her see what she couldn’t, and push her to take the risks that she refuses.
Adam is charismatic, talented and confident taking life for everything it has to offer every minute of everyday. His world is full of color, sharing his love of art with the world in unconventional yet meaningful ways. Adam is inspirational when all he’s doing is living and by living in such a bold way he brings color into Charlotte’s, gray world.
Seth…. Ha bet you didn’t see another guy coming did you…. Well there is one, it’s Seth and he’s patient, caring, considerate and undercover head over heels for Charlotte. Seth is a professional baseball player who travels, giving Charlotte the time she needs to figure out her grey world. Seth is ready to settle down and find his forever so as patient as he is, he is willing to move on with his life if he has too.
Between Adam and Seth, Charlotte’s world is changing bringing more questions than what she has answers for. Her story is ever evolving bringing doubt, courage and resolve.
This story is emotionally gripping, it’s downright heartbreaking and sewing back up your heart is hope, adventure and the possibility of love.
“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.
“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”
“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we
“We were practically naked every second of the day.”
“I like that.”
“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”
“What are they like? Our children.”
“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”
Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?
His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.
“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be.”
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com