Genre: YA/It's a surprise.
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: I snagged a free ARC at ALA Midwinter. This didn't affect my honest review. Thanks Feiwel & Friends!
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
Goodreads Summary: Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly wrong!
The luxurious celebrity cruise launching the trendy new diet sweetener Solu should be the vacation of a lifetime. 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—the hottest guy ever!—and she's too sick 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 former-child-star image. His publicists have even set up a 'romance' with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when the hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it's Laurel that he's determined to save.
Right After I Finished Reading: I seriously can't believe what I just read. What did I just read? Seriously. How do I even begin to rate this book? Ahhhhh!!!!
My dear friends, obviously this review is going to be a little crazy. I both liked and disliked Sweet a great deal. It was brilliant and a little dumb and frustrating all at the same time. Let's start from the beginning.
When I first started reading Sweet I was intrigued. I thought the author did a nice job at tackling body image issues in a unique way. Then the book also starts touching on issues that celebrities face. Okay, that is cool. The next big issue talking point? Big corporations doing what they want. Anyway, I didn't mind all of this because it was central to the story, but at times I also felt like it was a lot of messages thrown at us all at once. It was all just a little bit too in your face at times. It wasn't a big deal though so let's move on.
I liked the characters a lot. It was an interesting bunch of famous people and non-famous people on the cruise of a lifetime, and the ones I got to know were pretty sweet. The only problem I had with the characters was the lack of character development. I understand that with the book taking place on a cruise that there is a limited amount of time for character development, but I was still sad that it was lacking. I still liked the characters though (even if slightly stereotypical), especially Tom (the hot celebrity) and Laurel (the average girl that isn't average at all), our dual POV narrators.
What about the plot and setting of Sweet? For the most part it was spot on. I loved the cruise setting, and I loved the exciting plot, even if it was a little unbelievable. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. I just had to know what was really happening on that ship! From the slow build to the crazy ending, I was hooked.
The Bottom Line: Do I recommend this book to others? You bet. BUT I will say that it is a pretty unique book so not everyone is going to like it, and I'm not even sure I can predict in advance who will or won't like it. I liked Sweet. It was a horrifyingly awesome page-turner for me. My biggest complaint... THAT ENDING!!! I had to rush online just to make sure there was a sequel. Thankfully there is.