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Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

Swear on This Life Book Cover Swear on This Life
Renee Carlino
Fiction, New Adult
Simon and Schuster
August 9, 2016

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?

ARIANNA’s review

‘Swear on This Life’ was consuming, though-provoking and such an emotional read from the very beginning until the end. I loved the title, the premise of this book and even the simple, yet meaningful cover. This story was equally heart-breaking and heart-warming so be prepared to be emotional exhausted at times, to smile and most of all, to feel. I love the concept of a story within another story and Mrs. Carlino did a fantastic job with both stories, both of them being so well written and so gripping.

“It’s easy to let yourself become the burden of your own life, especially when you were given the label of being a burden before you could even reject it.”

Emiline is a young writer who is struggling to find her voice. When she picks up a debut novel “All the Roads Between” by an author named J.Colby she realizes she reads her very own story and the author J. Colby is her childhood best friend, her first love, Jase, the boy she never forget, the boy she hasn’t seen in over a decade.

“Jase had planted himself inside of my heart so deeply that when we parted he kept growing there.”

Emiline is shocked and angry Jase told her story in such a way, that he has taken the liberty to reveal her tragic past. On top that the story is written from “her” point-of-view, so needless to say she’s not very thrilled.

Reading Emerson’s story or more exactly her own story, Emiline is forced to deal with some aspects of her past. While reading the story, she learns to forgive, learning that is okay to let go of the past and eventually she starts to heal from everything she has been through more than ten years ago.

”We weren’t together, but he was always there, like a part of my soul. I tried desperately to deny it and to forget…”

‘Swear on this Life’ was such a wonderful second chance romance. One of the best I’ve read this year. The story was beautifully written, layered and like I mentioned above so gripping. Emiline/Emerson’s story was heartbreaking and really hard to read at times. Her childhood truly made my heart ache and I’m so glad she had Jase as a friend and later as something more. The way Emiline struggles with her past was wonderfully done. You can feel her pain, how much she still suffers for everything that happened years ago and of course how much she still loves Jace.

“I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”
“I love you too, Jase… I’ll love you forever.”
“Swear to me.”
“I swear I want this.”

I loved the relationship between these two main characters. They were great together as friends, but as lovers they were simply wonderful. I loved the way they cared for each other and the way they supported each other no matter what. Their bond was fantastically written and so unbreakable. As the story progresses you can feel how strong the connection between them is and how much they still love each other.

”I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”

Both Emiline and Jase were wonderful, well-developed characters. Both of them were endearing and I have to say I really sympathize with them at some point into the story.

Overall, this was a wonderful second chance romance story that will make you think, feel and fall in love with two amazing characters!

”Our story is great, maybe not all the other shit, but the story of us is perfect Em.”