Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
A cruise to die for...
Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled Cruise to Lose is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised — dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days — it would be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!), and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.
Tom knows that he should be grateful for this job and the chance to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a “romance” with a sexy reality-TV star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.
Emmy Laybourne takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.
Sweet is a book that you're going to want to get your hands on when it releases this summer. It's the perfect summertime book because it reads quickly, it's set on a cruise ship, and who isn't worrying about their size in bathing suit season? And the best thing about Sweet? It handles weight loss and body image very tactfully and presents quick fixes as a less than ideal way to go around it.
Laurel, one of Sweet's main characters, isn't a skinny girl, but she doesn't hate her body. She's comfortable within her own skin, and only agrees to go on the cruise to accompany her friend Viv, who is the same size and not happy with her body. I mean, who would pass up a free cruise? I really liked that the story was told from her point of view on the female side because the entire book isn't focusing on weight-shame, despite it being set on a weight loss cruise. Tom really digs Laurel and her curves, and that was refreshing to read. (And yes, girls and boys, men like curves.)
The action part of Sweet was also handled really well. I consider the book to be horror, but it's not to the extent that I wouldn't think younger teens should be kept from reading it. Most of the grody stuff happens behind the scenes, and that helps create the tension that makes the story so good. I read the entire book in one sitting, which is rare for me lately.
The only negative things that I would say about Sweet is that I wasn't too sucked into the plot, and the secondary characters weren't the best. I liked the characters a lot and loved the pacing, but I had almost everything figured out fairly quickly. I was detached from the events going down on the ship because I knew where we were heading. Laurel's best friend, Tom's crew, and the fellow cruisers were pretty much stock characters that you could pick up and drop in a lot of novels or movies. That's a fairly common thing in horror because the focus is on the action, but the simplicity of the plot made the other holes in the novels visible.
Though I had a few tiny issues with Sweet, I still think it's going to be the book of the summer. Teens are going to connect with the characters and be thrilled by the story. I have no doubt that I'm going to see lots of people carrying Sweet in their beach bags.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.