Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino
Standalone Romance that is mostly New Adult
Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino was one of my most recommended books of 2016. I received countless messages telling me how I MUST read it and it was a favorite. I bought it right away, but it took me two months to fit it into my schedule. Now I understand why everyone wanted me to read it so much. It was a unique story within a story, and told in such a way that there reader is involved and invested right from the start.
Emiline has always wanted to be an author. She went to college for it, and is now an adjunct writing instructor at UC where she went to school. Her friends are being published, but there is something missing from her writing–HER. Everyone tells her to write what she knows, add personal experience, but her past is just too painful. She doesn’t share it with anyone.
When Emiline’s roommate comes home one day obsessed with the hot new bestseller from a young new writer, she puts aside her jealousy to see what the fuss is about.
“It was about you… what I wrote. It was all about you.”
J. Colby wrote her story. From her point of view. When Emiline starting reading her story, I can’t tell you how sucked in I was. She quickly realized that J. Colby was none other than her childhood best friend and first love.
“His name is Jase Colbertson. He and I used to finish each other’s sentences.”
We get to read the book with Emiline, as she reads the story of ‘Em’ and ‘Jax’, two kids living in extreme poverty with addicts as parents. They lived at the end of a dirt road and spent as much time as they could in their little clubhouse they made from an abandoned shed.
“Our innocence was beautiful, impossible to capture again, impossible to re-create.”
They had an awful childhood, but their connection poured off the pages, making their lives bearable. But these kids kept getting knocked down, even as they grew from friendship to love.
“People call teenage relationships puppy love, but what Jackson and I had was far beyond that. We had a lifetime of moments that were meaningful, spiritual, and transcendent.”
We know the couple is apart from page one, but you can’t help but root for them to stay together, even as their young lives and love began to crumble around them.
“I was breathing hard as I lay the book down on my chest, right over my throbbing heart. I remembered that moment when everything started crumbling down around us. There was nothing we could do; we were just a couple of powerless, poor kids, so desperate to find a way to be together…”
It’s been 12 years since they have seen each other, but the book was written about her and for her. Throughout the entire book, Em stalls in finishing it. Everyone keeps asking her, and she is taking her own sweet time, and it started to drive me crazy. READ BITCH! I needed to know what was at the end!
I absolutely loved the entire book within a book, in other words, their childhood, but I had a little bit of trouble with present day.
“We weren’t together, but he was always there, like a part of my soul. I tried desperately to deny it and to forget, but no number of therapy sessions could take him out of me. We were a part of each other.”
With those kinds of feelings still running so deep, I kind of felt the end was a bit anticlimactic
- The emotions when she first started reading.
- Epilogue. So good!
- Creative and unique idea.
- Book within a book.
- I couldn’t put it down.
- All the feels.
- Intense story that you feel and live with the characters.
- There is something so vibrant about the writing that you really experience the story.
- How easily it flowed between the present and the past (the book).
- They were apart a little too long.
- I would have liked more together time (current).
- Got frustrating how long it took her to read!
- There was so much amazing build up that the end felt a little rushed and flat to me.
The Down and Dirty:
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 2.5 Heat
Purchase Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino