My Favorite of 2017: 5 Stars for Renee Carlino’s Wish You Were Here

My Favorite of 2017: 5 Stars for Renee Carlino’s Wish You Were Here

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.



Every once in a while I’ll read a book that just leaves an imprint on my heart. Wish You Were Here is one of those books. I don’t care where you are in your life-your twenties like main character Charlotte or your 50s like me-this book will speak to anyone who has ever taken a breath. It’s about living and loving and being grateful for the people in your life. Most importantly, it’s about finding confidence in who you are and allowing yourself to believe it when someone tells you how wonderful you are.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I read Wish You Were Here. Renee Carlino’s characters are incredibly engaging from Charlotte to Charlotte’s mom. I saw each one as someone I could easily find in my life. Even as I was connecting with Charlotte as someone who is just like me, I was looking at her parents and their obvious love for each other and their children and thinking “that’s me and my husband!”. I even recognized my children in Charlotte and Chucky’s relationship, especially in their awful pet names for each other. How can I not love a book that’s just so personal?

At the heart of this story are the relationships Charlotte has with the people in her life and two men that she meets. Both Adam and Seth play important parts in her story as they help her learn to live outside of the tight little box she’s put herself in. Charlotte’s been bouncing from thing to thing, not to find her way, but to avoid doing so. She’s got a degree in nutrition, a license to practice massage therapy, and she’s thinking about cosmetology school, all while working as a waitress. Her dating history is as quirky as her job list and proof that she’s just skimming by, letting life happen to her. Unless your superpower is being incredibly focused, there isn’t anyone who can’t relate to Charlotte.

It’s always the books I love the most that are the hardest for me to review and it’s hard to talk about Wish You Were Here without giving away spoilers. Just know that Charlotte’s journey from start to finish is familiar, funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. You won’t be able to resist falling for both Adam and Seth, two men who bring light and love to Charlotte’s life, changing it forever. And, you won’t be able to forget this book.

5 stars for Wish You Were Here. Heat level: 2.5

I received a copy of Wish You Were Here from NetGalley and InkSlingerPR in exchange for honest feedback.

Wish You Were Here was published in August 2017 by Atria Books.

Wish You Were Here







“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.

“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”

“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we

“We were practically naked every second of the day.” 

“I like that.”

“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”

“What are they like? Our children.”

“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”

Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?

His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.

“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be.”

I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”



Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. 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. Learn more at


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