First, thanks to Feiwel and Friends, along with Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this title. Now, I could have sworn that I had this downloaded a ways back, but maybe I had just picked it as a Waiting on Wednesday book one time, and was mistaken about that. Then it was published, and I figured I’d have to wait to get a copy to read. But it showed up on Edelweiss, at least I found it, and downloaded it. I was really excited to read this one, not just because the synopsis sounded really good, but also because I really enjoyed the Monument 14 series by her as well. While Sweet isn’t a post-apocalyptic book really, I would definitely have to say that this author knows how to write a good “teens in a deadly crisis” story. And in a way, both stories have their own zombie type of people, again, without being actual zombies in the most well known definition.
The story is told in alternating chapters by two main characters. One is Laurel, a pretty normal girl. You might call her a bit of a wallflower. Her favorite clothes include boots. Nothing really dressy or trendy. Her best friend, Viv(actually her rich, divorced father), got them tickets to be on a really big cruise event. The premiere of a new weight loss fad. It is as diet sweetener called Solu, and it is supposed to be a miracle, possibly solving the obesity problem by helping the user drop a ton of weight in no time, with really nothing else needing to be done! Laurel isn’t really worried about losing weight, she’s find with her curves, and once the ship gets started moving, there’s no way she can take it at first, because she’s experiencing seasickness to an extremely embarrassing degree. And that’s where our 2nd main character comes in.
Tom Forelli is a former child star. He’s now trying to get his career going again after a horrible movie choice, as well as trying to get out from under his child start personal of “Baby Tom-Tom”. He was a chubby kid, but now he’s grown up and has really started taking care of himself. He eats right, and works out every day. All according to what his personal trainer, and best friend, advises him to do. His publicists booked him the gig of being the host for this cruise, interviewing the passengers, promoting the Solu, etc. He also doesn’t really try the sweetener, as it doesn’t really fit his eating plan, since it is in the desserts on the boat, ones that he doesn’t really plan to eat. While the plan is for him to “hook up” with a beautiful celebrity reality star, think Kardashian with a little exotic-ness thrown in, he feels a tug toward the cute, normal girl, who he meets when she throws up on his shoes. You guessed it, that was Laurel.
The two will meet again in a few mishaps, and then seek each other out as they both are attracted to each other, as well as feeling that the other passengers taking the Solu begin to get a little wild. Not just a little wild, but obviously addicted in a short time to the substance. It all goes horribly wrong with the Solu, leading to deaths, and even killing just to get more. And once Tom finds out it isn’t all it was hyped up to be, he wants to do an expose report, even against the advice of his publicist, who is herself addicted to the Solu. All of this has to be done, hoping that they can survive the mass hysteria and melee caused by the Solu addicts.
It was a fun story, funny, yet suspenseful. Some surprises on where it would go, and what was actually causing the problem. I didn’t even get what was the final turning point at the end ahead of time, and I like it when an author can surprise me like that. I highly recommend another Emmy Laybourne book, a standalone I would think this time. Even though there is that little comment at the end, that makes you say, “uh-oh!”