ARC Review – Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

22718736Title: Sweet

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: 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.

Huge thank you to Macmillan and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review:

Holy wow omg this book was insane. And I loved it! I looooove Laybourne’s books! She hooked me with the can’t-look-away-train-wreck-wtf-is-happening-horror amazingness that was Monument 14 and when I found out she was writing a new book I HAD to have it. And I am SO happy I was able to read this because damn. It was good. And crazy. And I loved it.

Laurel and her BFF Vivika get to go on this historical cruise where people are promised that they’ll get an exclusive taste of the new diet supplement SOLU. It’s guaranteed to help people lose weight while basically doing nothing. Viv’s father pays for them to go on the cruise a long with a bunch of other rich people and celebs: movie stars, reality show stars, and “Baby Tom-Tom” a washed up kid actor trying to reinvent himself by hosting the cruise. Both Viv and Laurel are a little overweight, but they aren’t obese or anything. Laurel actually doesn’t have a problem with her weight, but Vivika grew up with a father who is always harping on her mother’s weight and Vivika feels a lot of pressure to be a certain way.

The cruise is basically a Jay-Z music video come to life. Parties, champagne, sexy women, sexy men. Everyone starts to use SOLU in their meals and they DO start to lose weight. Laurel doesn’t eat it because her first few days on the ship she’s sea sick and then by the time she is able to eat she’s starting to get worried about what SOLU is doing to people…

The story is told in alternating POV with Laurel and Tom speaking. This didn’t bother me that much because Laybourne’s other books are like this and she’s able to create clear enough voices that I don’t get confused about who’s doing what. We learn that Tom used to be a fat kid and that he now trains hard and eats clean to maintain his new, healthy, body shape. So he also is unaffected by the SOLU.

And what does the SOLU do to people? Besides make them lose weight?

It makes them crazy. Insane. Cannibals.

This book was such an interesting take on dieting, body image, and healthy living. I loved that Laurel was viewed as a “big” girl but really she’s just a normal girl, and that she was comfortable with herself. I loved that Tom was so healthy. I think both of those are important topics when it comes to body image because so often focus on just getting thin, and not actually being healthy. I’m a naturally thin person and I get a lot of shit for it. I’ve been accused of having eating disorders, asked if I have cancer, and called a ‘skinny bitch’ more times than I can count. I don’t gain weight. I also have no bust and look like I’m 12. I’ve always HATED it when people would tell me that I’m lucky or that they wish they could be my size. Thanks but I don’t try to be this way. I just try to be healthy. My mother is much bigger than me, but she’s healthy. I think that size does NOT matter and I’m so sick of everyone caring about their size when they should be caring if they’re HEALTHY or not. So I really, really liked that health was an important topic in this.

Annnnnnd last but not least, the romance in this was cute. What, romance on a ship full of crazy people jacked up on this weird diet supplement? Yes. And it was cute!

If you are a fan of Laybourne’s earlier books, definitely check this out!

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