Book Review: Swear On This Life – Renée Carlino

Swear On This LifeDate of Publication: August 9, 2016
Genre and Themes: Romance, Contemporary
Format: 320 pages, ebook
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: 9781501105791
Cover Artist: Rodrigo Corral Design Inc
Characters: Emiline, Jase, Trevor, Cara

Blurb: 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 is going to be a very quick review because I just don’t want to say things this and that mightily justifying my reason for giving this book such a low rating. There, low rating so I didn’t like it.

Below are a ‘number’ of reasons why it just didn’t work for me.

1. Promising start but when she started reading ‘the book inside this book, ‘ it became increasingly predictable.

2. Jase – seriously? That’s your lame-ass way of reuniting with Em?

3. That reunion? I mean, that’s the reunion? Like seriously, THAT’S IT?

4. Em unable to finish the book like a normal book geek – jeez, this isn’t Lonesome Dove or House of Leaves love’.

This isn’t the Lord of the Rings trilogy either…ugh.

I mean, I get that she’s emotional and shit because that’s her life story but seriously? Again – awfully predictable and annoying AF.

5. Staying with Trevor is cruel, tbh.

6. Jase is nothing like the ‘book inside the book’ – Well, Em said it best – it’s not them.

This is the author’s most YA’ish work and it just didn’t work for me. It’s nowhere near the Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain and that super lovely Before We Were Strangers…

One star for the story and another star for that awesome cover.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels and new adult fiction. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.


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