REVIEW – Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino


You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.

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.

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“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.”


Whitney’s Six Star Review

I have a lot of wishes related to this story…

I wish the book hadn’t ended.
I wish I had my own Adam.
I wish I had my own Seth.
I wish Renee was a super human and could publish a book every month so I never had to wait for her magic again!

Charlotte’s story with Adam and Seth is beautiful, heart breaking and life affirming. Renee’s books have always held a bit of magic for me. The way she develops her characters, the slow burn you feel as the story come together, the inevitable angst, and of course, a happily ever after. I haven’t decided yet if Wish You Were Here will replace Sweet Thing as my favorite of hers yet. Guess I’ll have to re-read them both and then figure it out. Oh darn, another Renee re-read. Someone save me. Hopefully you can see my eyes rolling and feel the sarcasm there because seriously, we all know Renee’s books are better the second time around!

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of her books before, you will love this one too. It’s contemporary and though the blurb implies a love triangle, it’s really not. Charlotte’s journey with both of the wonderful men in this book make sense once you get to the end. You’ll just have to cry a little to get there. Or a lot in my case since I woke my husband up at 1am while crying about this book. Whoopsie!

It’s hard to express the things I most enjoyed without giving the storyline away but I will say that I was conflicted a few times regarding Seth and Adam. I was even a little conflicted on the storyline and where it was going. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, it just made me feel so many emotions that I went back and forth. I think for those that believe in Fate or that there is a reason for life turning out the way it does, this book will speak to you. When I reached the end of the story, every tear I cried and every chuckle was worth it and made sense. Charlotte goes on the journey she’s meant to, as do Adam and Seth. The connections between them all were meant to be and that really gave me a true sense of happily ever after.

Thank you, Renee, for another fabulous book! I can’t wait until the next one.


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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