Arc Review: WISH YOU WERE HERE by Renée Carlino



Renee Carlino

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Release date: August 15th 2017

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District.

Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise.

Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

Love is a wordless secret.

Wish You Were Here is an emotional story about love at first sight. The fast pace and good writing keep the reader engaged, though it fails to sell the relationship between the two main characters. There is little character development, and while there are a few humorous scenes to balance out the heavy and painful themes, the dialogue feels too forced and awkward.

Renée Carlino and her writing sure keep readers flipping pages. It is very easy to get through the books, as the flow between chapters is done rather well, and the narration is smooth and engrossing. Unfortunately, the plot does feel rather shallow, and there is a lack of connection with the characters and their relationships. The novel also deals with a subject that is very personal and difficult for me to read, which made this rather hard to get through.

This novel has a serious case of instalove. The premise hinges on Charlotte and Adam having one night together, which sparks a connection that lasts for the entire story. The issue is that, for over half the novel, Charlotte doesn’t actually interact with Adam at all. She moves on with her life, but still stays hung up on that guy. I did appreciate the realistic approach to Charlotte moving on, but the execution is not done well, especially when Adam comes back into play.

I had a lot of problems with Charlotte. Despite being an easy narrator to follow, her personality left a lot to be desired. She is extremely scattered and indecisive, and most of her actions in the book left a bad taste in my mouth. The way she deals and interacts with people is rather selfish, as she’s only worried about her own feelings. And there is basically no character development throughout the story, which does not help.

One thing that did hit me incredibly hard, and not in a good way, is the main twist regarding Adam. It’s tangled with a subject that I have a lot of trouble reading about, due to personal experiences, and it caught me totally off-guard. I’ve listed it as a content warning, so if you want spoilers, go check it out. This means I had to skim a lot of the Adam scenes – roughly the last half of the book -, as a way to protect myself and take care of my mental health.

In the end, Wish You Were Here is a very fast read that did not sit well with me. The awkward dialogue and lack of character development impacted the emotional aspect the plot leans on, and Charlotte’s actions throughout the story are hard to swallow. Being faced with a subject that also affects me personally, and not in a good way, also collaborated with this not being a good read for me. Romance fans who like soulmate and love at first sight novels might like this, but it was not for me.



This book fills the ‘Book With a Verb in its Title’ square for my #TheReadingQuest Knight bingo sheet.


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