Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino
Published: August 20, 2013 by Atria Books
Source: Purchased from B&N
"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together…then you'll hear the sound of your soul."
Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.
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.
A "heartbreaking and romantic" (Aestas Book Blog) debut, Sweet Thing explores the intensity and complexities of first love and self-discovery. [goodreads]
Every once in awhile a story will come along, as though it's been written just for you and only you. The story will pull you into a place where the rest of the world fades away. It becomes just you and a streaming confession of words hand picked and delivered right into your very soul. Time slips away, your world has now become immersed in the trials and tribulations of these characters. Their voices are now inside your head. Their hearts have taken control of the beating of your very own heart. Their story is flooded through your veins. Losing all inhibitions to the power of literature is one of the greatest gifts one can receive, and in this case, one of the sweetest things I have had the privilege of experiencing.
Mia has just boarded a flight to NYC, to take the reigns of a life her father left suddenly too soon. While going through the responsibilities of running her father's beloved cafe in her head, a young man occupies the seat next to hers. Immediately she notices his charm, but also sees a vulnerability about him due to his fear of flying. In an effort to ease his mind they spend the entire flight talking to one another. What began as just a nice gesture from Mia to Will, evolves into the starting point of the rest of their lives.
There is a common thread woven through out this story and it revolves around music. Both Will and Mia are musicians; while Will is headstrong on wanting to make a career with it, Mia is more reserved and uncertain of the place it has in her life. As the fates would have it, Will ends up becoming Mia's roommate, moving inside her space and inside her heart.
Will's character demanded my full attention. His unashamed honesty and willingness to open his heart and deliver it to Mia took my breath away. There was a soft confidence that seeped from his pores and was projected through his music. I yearned so badly to hear him pluck the strings of his guitar. Mia's character is one I fought with, constantly inside my own head, through out the entire novel. She had just lost her father, buried in grief and the realization of not knowing what her future holds. Should she follow the safe, comfortable path? Or venture down a winding road full of uncertainty and dangerous risks? The relationship between Will and Mia was a very slow, painstakingly beautiful burn.
The emotions I conjured up while reading this novel took me by surprise. I found myself crying out along side Mia when the choices she made led her to the darkest place she'd ever visited. Pages later I was elated with the gift of a song, from one of my most favorite artists, and thought... how perfect can this moment be? My heart had front seat tickets on one of the most emotional rides this contemporary fiction fan has ever been on.
SWEET THING is more than just pure, sweet, goodness. It's the essence of story-telling that causes me to fall in love with contemporary adult romances. This particular story reminds me why I love to read so much and how the beauty of writing can pull me in and release me with experiences that go so much deeper than just words on the page. It's the most amazing feeling, ever. And it's something I want to experience again and again.