I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
Published by Atria Books on August 9th 2016
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Also by this author: After the Rain, Wish You Were Here
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.
Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.
That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.
The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?
This book was completely unexpected. I wasn’t sure how I was going to take the way it’s narrated. It’s like a story within a story. And I really appreciated that.
You get what is happening in the present from Emiline’s perspective and pieces of the past from J. Colby’s book. I liked seeing how each chapter pertained with things Em still struggles with. She’s a very closed off person when it comes to her past, and I don’t blame her at all. But it starts to become a roadblock in her relationship. And now things may be even rockier.
Some of the scenes were hard for me to read. I could never imagine being in the positions that Emerson and Jackson, the characters from the story inside Swear on This Life, find themselves in. I would break down at some of them. The things those kids go through are horrible, and would definitely have long lasting effects on how they live their lives.
I also appreciate that even through the anger and pain that Emiline is compelled to keep reading the book. It seems like it could be therapeutic to go through all the emotions to make her feel, and mourn, and deal with things she’s locked away.
Overall this is an amazing book. I finished it in a day, and was up until the wee hours of the morning because I couldn’t put it down.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: