Author: Emmy Laybourne
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Synopsis: *People would kill to be thin.*
Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. 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 (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.
*But will they die for it, too?*
Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.
Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz
Review: If there was a chance you could take a magic pill or drink a magic sweetener that would grant you the ability to drop pounds with ease, would you take it? That’s the premise behind Emmy Laybourne’s latest, SWEET. It’s interesting, crazy, terrifying yet hilarious.
Laybourne gave up sugar a few years back, instead opting for a gluten-free, sugar-free type of lifestyle which has worked wonders for her health and I’m pretty sure that’s part of where the inspiration came from for SWEET. She was also inspired by B-movies and I can see the influences of that throughout the story.
SWEET follows Lauarel and her best friend Viv who are travelling on the Solu cruise—thanks to Viv’s mega rich dad fronting the bill—where for seven days they will get to hang out with B-list celebrities. The cruise is mainly to promote the new weight-loss sweetener, Solu, which will follow the success of the weight-loss of those on the ship by broadcasting it around the world. It’s supposed to be the answer to obesity but those on the cruise soon realize, you should be careful what you wish for—or in this case, what you put in your mouth.
Laurel was a refreshing read. She isn’t a rail-thin girl. She has curves and doesn’t see anything wrong with them. She tagged along on the cruise to support her best friend, Viv, who struggles far more with her body image. Laurel is SUPER loyal to her friend which causes her to make some fundamentally inept self-preservation choices later in the story but I can’t blame her. I’d TOTES fight just as hard for my best friend (even if she was going all cray on me). She is sassy yet shy and creative (she plays the guitar). Like any teen, she’s just trying to figure out who she is without giving in to unrealistic standards produced by the stardom around her. I liked that she stood her ground on not just how she looked but when she thought people were being wronged.
Tom—the hot, male protagonist of the story—used to be on a comedy sitcom when he was younger. He tried to make it into the movie industry, wanting to be free of his image as “Baby Tom Tom” but nothing’s worked out for him so far. All his movies have failed and that’s why he got stuck taking on the Solu job. He is acting as host to the cruise and spends his days filming and interviewing clients. Tom gives an inside look to how the Hollywood industry works and what people are willing to do to not only get in the limelight but stay in it for as long as possible. Tom starts off as one of those people, willing to do anything to stay apart of the biz, but after he meets Laurel he discovers maybe fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I liked him. He was funny, cute, sweet and an all-around good guy.
SWEET starts off just as its title suggest: a semi-luxurious cruise with former, lackluster celebrities who just want to party and have some fun in the sun. It’s a sweet life if you can avoid paying the ticket to get on the cruise. But that sweet life veers WAY left and everything starts to go dark, lethal and deadly REAL quick! Laurel and Tom find themselves stuck on a cruise from hell because Solu is making people go from losing weight to losing their minds. In true Layborune fashion, the story is gory, violent and horrifying. People are willing to go to murderous lengths to get their hands on Solu.
SWEET is one part humor, one part horror mashup with sassy characters, heartthrobs and the corny, best parts of B-movies—classic mean girl, wannabe celebrities and all out gore.
Definitely a fun read to start your summer with!
About the Author
Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, public speaker, screenwriter and former character actress.
Emmy’s Monument 14 trilogy has earned critical praise ("Frighteningly real… riveting" - New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and has been nominated by readers to the YALSA Teens Top Ten in 2013 and won in 2014.!
Emmy’s new book SWEET tells the story of a luxury cruise to launch a new diet sweetener that goes comically, then tragically, then terrifyingly wrong. It got a perfect 10 from VOYA and hits the stands on June 2, 2015
Before her life as an author, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies "Superstar," "The In-Laws" and "Nancy Drew," among others. Emmy loves visiting school and libraries.