Wish You Were Here: A Novel

Wish You Were Here: A Novel

by Renee Carlino

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Overview

Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Renee Carlino

* USA TODAY Bestseller * Cosmopolitan September 2017 Pick * Goodreads Best Romance of August 2017 *
Hello Giggles “17 Books We Can’t Wait to Read” *

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501105821
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 198,346
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and the bestselling author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, Before We Were Strangers, Swear on This Life, and Wish You Were Here. She grew up in Southern California and lives in the San Diego area with her husband and two sons. To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.com.

Read an Excerpt

Wish You Were Here


  • Tuesdays were tortilla soup days at Blackbird’s Café. They offered unlimited refills for a lousy four ninety-five. It was awesome if you were a tortilla soup lover. It was some kind of evil if you were a waitress there.

    The restaurant’s trick was that the bowls were wide and shallow, making it appear like a massive amount of soupy goodness, when really, each bowlful amounted to just a few thinly spread ounces. The problem with said plates disguised as bowls is that they were impossible to carry on a tray; the soup just sloshed from side to side, predictably spilling over the lip each time you traipsed from the kitchen to the customer’s table, no matter how steady your hands were. Jack, the owner, and his fat “little” brother, who went by Jon-Jon (ridiculous, I know), insisted that we carry the trays up high, like waitresses on roller-skates at a goddamn carhop. It’s part of the charm, they said. The word charm was used loosely to justify the outdated décor, in my opinion.

    If you ordered the “bottomless” tortilla soup bowl, you had to shamefully raise a miniature flag on a tiny flagpole screwed to the end of your table. It was an abominable mechanism, truly, but it achieved Jack and Jon-Jon’s desired effect: no one ever, not even a three-hundred-pound man with a passion for Tex-Mex, would raise the flag more than twice; it was too humiliating.

    Unfortunately, this type of ploy to get people into the restaurant without the business losing money didn’t draw a high-tipping clientele, so Tuesdays were a bust for the waitresses at Blackbird’s. We made no money and we always went home with a healthy amount of tortilla soup splattered on our white tuxedo shirts. (Yes, we wore tuxedo shirts and bow ties in a pie-and-fry diner; more of that charm I guess.) But this particular Tuesday was the worst.

    “I FEEL LIKE I’m in hell. Have you seen the guy at table twenty-three?” Helen, my best friend, roommate, and fellow waitress, said to me in the side station.

    I peeked around the wall and spotted a gray-haired man eating by himself. “Yeah, what about him?”

    “He asked for an avocado al dente. Who the fuck uses the term ‘al dente’ to describe an avocado?”

    “You know what he means though, right?” I was laughing but Helen was serious.

    “Yes, but this isn’t Spago. He’d be lucky to get a green avocado at this place.”

    “It’s not that bad,” I said as I filled a plastic cup with Coke. The fountain dispenser started huffing and puffing little bursts of air. “Fucking shit, the CO2 is running out. Can you go tell Jon-Jon?”

    “Sorry, I have to get twenty-one’s order.” As Helen left the side station, I watched her hips sway from side to side as she breezed into the dining room. Helen knew she had a good body and that men gawked at her. She walked slowly and rhythmically, which made me think she liked the attention.

    I, on the other hand, walked fast everywhere, with my shoulders slumped and my head down. People would always say, “You’re a pretty girl, Charlotte. Why do you walk like an old man?” My response was usually something like, “I don’t know, it’s just the way I walk.” Lame, I know, but I didn’t put much thought into how I was perceived. Probably because the only thing I really liked about my entire body was my long, reddish-brown hair. I had big brown eyes that my brother called “poop colored” and freckles that, thankfully, were fading as I got older. Still, if you asked me to draw a self-portrait, I’d unconsciously add the freckles. It’s like that Freudian theory that says you’re a perpetual child in your own mind.

    “Did I hear my name?” Jon-Jon was suddenly standing inappropriately close to me as I unscrewed the large CO2 cylinder.

    “Can you fix this?” I was bent over with my ass in the air.

    “You seem to be doing a pretty good job.”

    I popped up straight. “Why are you so pervy? You’re gonna get sued one day.” Had I not been fired from two jobs already that year, I never would have put up with Jon-Jon’s crap, but I needed the money and I was not in a position to lose another job. I think it goes without saying that waitressing wasn’t my career of choice, though that wasn’t my biggest problem. I had a degree in nutrition and my real estate license, and I was a certified massage therapist. See a pattern? At one point I actually thought I wanted to become a horse jockey. I’d never even been on a horse, but repeat viewings of Seabiscuit were enough to persuade me.

    “Relax, Charlotte, out of the way.” Jon-Jon moved his tubby little body in front of me and took over replacing the cylinder.

    I looked into the dining room to see raised flags on three of my tables. It was time for some ingenuity. I found a large pitcher under the dishwasher’s station. “Can I use this?” I held it up to one of the busboys.

    “Sure, Gutterfoot,” he said. Did I mention that everyone at Blackbird’s called me Gutterfoot? Directly underneath the big metal trays where we stacked dirty dishes was a one-foot-by-one-foot drain where we scraped all the nasty food that was left on the plates. Sometimes it got clogged, and very rarely, a waitress would step in it. Some shitty Tuesday when I was in a hurry, I was that waitress, and the damn thing was practically overflowing with what looked like vomit. It wasn’t actual vomit, of course, but if ever you need something to really resemble vomit, a mixture of soup, meatloaf scraps, pie, soda, and beer is pretty much as close as you can get. The sludge went halfway up my right calf, but I just pulled my foot out and smiled, briefly thanking some higher-up somewhere. On any other day of the week, this incident would have enraged me, but it was a Tuesday. I thought for sure I’d get sent home and be relieved of my duties as soup peddler. I was wrong. Jack said we were too slammed, so I had to stay and distribute bottomless bowls of tortilla soup with a sopping-wet pant leg and shoes filled with rotting food sludge. Naturally, I got nicknamed Gutterfoot.

    I took the pitcher and began ladling tortilla soup into it when Jon-Jon found me. “Charlotte, what are you doing now?” he asked.

    “I have a bunch of refills. This’ll make it faster and easier.”

    “You know you’ve been on thin ice since the closet caper, right? We don’t serve soup via pitcher,” Jon-Jon said.

    “I’m being efficient! And, anyway, the closet stunt was Helen’s doing.” We always got blamed for each other’s mistakes because we were inseparable. A couple of weeks before, when our shift had gotten slow, she’d told me to find Jon-Jon and ask him if he’d fixed the door to the linen closet. I’d known she was up to something.

    When Jon-Jon had opened the closet, Helen jumped out and yelled, “Wah!” He’d fallen back on the floor and clutched his heart immediately; a man with his kind of dumpy little body was totally a candidate for sudden cardiac arrest. Luckily we hadn’t been responsible for his untimely death . . . yet.

    “You were part of it,” he said.

    “No, I really wasn’t.”

    Helen came bouncing through the kitchen. “Dude, you have flags up on, like, every one of your tables. People have no dignity.”

    “I’m going, I’m going.”

    Jon-Jon was right. Tortilla soup should not be served via pitcher, but if anyone asked, I would say it was part of the charm at Blackbird’s.

    After our shift slowed down, I pulled a little closet caper of my own. I knew when Helen went on break that she’d sometimes make out with Luc in the linen closet. They’d been sucking each other’s faces off for about six months. He was a French dude who had flunked out of some hoity-toity pastry school in France and now was stuck at Blackbird’s, making pies for the masses. He was actually surprisingly proud of his job, despite the fact that he made minimum wage. His pie technique was incredible, and he had the freedom to make every kind of pie he wanted. Somehow, this aroused Helen. I tried not to judge, but I could barely watch Helen’s face whenever Luc said anything. He pronounced her name Huh-leen, and every time he said it, she practically had an orgasm.

    The first time they met, he’d kissed her hand and whispered in her ear, “You and I would make beautiful babies.” Helen had turned into a pile of goo, and she was Luc’s ever since. He’d helped both of us get hired at Blackbird’s—I was between careers, and Helen hadn’t landed a substantial acting gig in eight years—so I just rolled my eyes and kept my mouth shut whenever I saw Helen throwing him seductive looks.

    But when I swung the linen closet open, it was just Helen sitting on a stool, puffy-eyed and holding a bottle of vodka she’d clearly swiped from Jon-Jon’s famous Bloody Mary bar.

    “What are you doing?”

    “Luc broke up with me.” She sniffled.

    “What? Just now? Why?”

    “He was rambling something in half French, half En-glish, so I didn’t catch it all. Something about a ship running its course, and overripe peaches. He was smiling the whole time, that bastard.” She took a swig and hiccupped.

    “How do you know he was breaking up with you?”

    “Because he said, ‘Huh-leen, it was a beautiful think, you and me, but eet is over.’?”

    She unintentionally made Luc’s accent sound Mexican, and it made me laugh. “I’m sorry, but honestly, you’re better off. I mean, those bright-pink tennis shoes and that permanent five-o’clock shadow . . . come on. I bet he wears Speedos.”

    “He does!” She burst into tears.

    I bent and hugged her around her shoulders. “Don’t worry, babe; there will be other, less stinky fish in the sea.”

    She straightened up. “He smells, doesn’t he?”

    “Like body odor mixed with pie dough. It’s offensive.”

    “I need a rebound.” Her eyes shot open and she raised her index finger to the closet ceiling. “That’s it, we’re going out tonight.”

    I shook my head. “I’m too tired, and you shouldn’t be going out tonight, either. It won’t make you feel any better. The first night of a breakup should be about Chinese food, ice cream, and bad TV.”

    “I’ll let you dye my hair tomorrow,” she offered.

    “Wait. Really?”

    Helen nodded like an excited puppy.

    “Ugh. Deal.” I had been contemplating going to cosmetology school, but I didn’t have enough people to practice on. Helen changed her hair color after every breakup—it was currently a pale shade of purple—but she’d never let me near her hair before.

    “I’m thinking chartreuse,” she said, rising from her stool.

    “Chartreuse will look great on you!” I gave her a bone-crushing hug of gratitude. “We’ll get some Manic Panic tomorrow. So, where do you want to go tonight?”

    “Ladies!” Jon-Jon barked. “Out of the closet. Do I have to remind you that this is a place of business?”

    We peeked our heads around the door. “We weren’t doing anything, Jon-Jon. We just wanted a break in peace,” I said.

    “Well, take your break outside. You two are getting phased for the night.” He made a circular motion with his hand in front of his face, which was the symbol for, Wrap up your tables because you’re going home.

    “Thank you, Jesus!” Helen shouted. Once the rush was over, every waiter wanted to get phased. You didn’t really make any money after the dinner rush, and the waiters who had to stay late ended up doing boring side work, like filling up saltshakers and ketchup bottles. It sucked.

    “Did we decide where we’re going tonight?” I asked Helen while we wiped down our empty tables.

    “How about Villains?”

    I gave her a wide grin. “Perfect.”

  • Customer Reviews

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    Wish You Were Here: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
    KDRBCK More than 1 year ago
    Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino is a stand-alone romance novel. This is a emotional read. Wish You Were Here gutted the hell out of me. Charlotte, drifting through her life collides with Adam. Adam , a georgeous painter. They spend the night together and their chemistry is through the roof high. It was one look and they clicked. But the next day he gives her the cold shoulder. Months later, Charlie is in a new relationship she meets Adam again. Soulmates that fate let collide. But nothing is as it seems, nothing. Wish You Were Here is a heart wrenchingly story, a very emotional read. Can you have more than one soulmate? More than one true love; a love of a lifetime? After I finished this book I was an emotional wreck. I needed tissues, a lot. I suffered with the characters, I cheered for them and in general I loved them. Iloved the story, I loved the writing and I loved the words. Wish You Were Here is a book that stays with you. I recommend this book and give 5 stars. Thank you Renee Carlino!
    TBR_Book_Blog More than 1 year ago
    This book brings forth ALL the emotions!! This book will wreck you. But then it soothes you. It's just a testament to the power of love. Charlotte is over her life. She's a waitress in her 20s at a place she doesn't like, rooming with her BFF in LA and just looking for her life. She meets Adam who challenges her to do things outside of her comfort zone, expand her mind and horizons. At least for the evening they talked and lived. Six months later, Charlotte meets up with Adam and he's challenging her and her ideals again. This book will definitely pull you through the wringer. But it has such a relevant underlying message that you just have to read it! I was generously provided this ARC by the author/ publisher in exchange for an unbiased opinion. No type of compensation was made. There is no relationship/affiliation between the reviewer and the author/publisher.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A truly gut wrenching story, that I couldn't put down. Beautifully written. So many emotions are felt ... that by the time the story is finished you are too. While sadness comes at times during the story, you end in the perfect place. A great book!
    Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
    Oh, this book. There were times I was SO frustrated with Charlotte and times she actually had me crying. I actually cried through several parts of this book. And, when I finished, I cried some more. This was such a heart rending story. I absolutely LOVED it. I knew something was up with Adam almost right away, but my guess about his issue was totally wrong. Yay!! The characters were so real and had me totally mesmerized and engrossed in their world. A story about love, loss, growing up and somewhat cheesy at times that I absolutely loved and enjoyed. Huge thanks to Atria Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
    readsandreviews More than 1 year ago
    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.
    tifmich6 More than 1 year ago
    What an Emotional Ride! To say this book isn't what I expected would be putting it mildly. I went from not really liking Charlotte all that much, to wishing I was as strong of a person as she turned out to be. Renee Carlino not only gives her readers a great book, but something to ponder when it's all said and done. What would you do if put into Charlotte's situation? I have nothing highlighted as I was absolutely entranced by this story and guessing how it was going to play out. This was a "can't put it down" book for me and I'm sure will be for others as well. The characters draw you in and make you want to know what is happening with them page after page. Charlotte is on an adventure of a lifetime and I am glad I got to read about it. Wish You Were Here is well written from her point of view, with others having a say every so often. Along with Adam and Charlotte, we get a handful of interesting characters to help this quirky love story along. I am also very appreciative of an epilogue in a book like this, helping to bring it full circle. Reviewed for Renee Entress's Blog.
    RedCheeksReads1 More than 1 year ago
    WOW! Now that was an emotional rollercoaster ride. I had so many strong feelings when reading this book that it is impossible to deny what an amazing writer Renee Carlino is. My emotions were all over the place when reading. At times I was in love with these flawed characters and at times I wanted to smack some sense into them But the moral is I was constantly feeling something. A sign of a great book. I can’t go into great plot detail because . . .  spoilers, but this book hurt in that way that makes you feel alive. I wasn’t always happy with where it went and I was often quite mad at the protagonist, Charlotte, and her self-centered ways but ultimately I wanted to see where she would end up. For me while there is a heavy romance aspect, that did get sexy at times, this almost read like women’s fiction. While the romance was a driving force in the plot, the real story was Charlotte’s self discovery and her finally learning to let go and love herself and love life. Wish You Were Here is a powerful story but be prepared . . .  tissues are a necessity and try not to question to much, just go along for the ride. ~miranda
    AmyBosica More than 1 year ago
    “There aren’t enough stars up there to match the reasons why I love you.” “I wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe the stranger I had met on the street hours before wasn’t just playing me. I wanted to believe he was falling for me.” “He was baring it all for me and I was going to do the same for him, even though I knew it would break me into a million pieces.” Every once in a while you come across a book that is truly epic and moving. The kind of book that will leave you with one hell of a book hangover. Wish You Were Here is a truly special book that will take you on the most incredible journey of love, missed opportunities, self discovery, friendship and family. The journey that Charlotte, Adam and Seth go on is profound, emotional and at times conflicting. With elements of insta-love, a deep and unforgettable connection and a love that will last a lifetime, their story will captivate your heart and pull you emotions in many directions. This story has left me speechless and at a loss for words at the moment. I have fallen so deeply in love with the characters, their story and their friendships. I know I that I have just experienced something so precious, that my mind is at a blank, trying desperately to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Wish You Were Here is beautiful and heartbreaking. It is brilliantly written and is a story that I know will be staying with me for a long time to come. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2017.
    bookbruin More than 1 year ago
    This book completely and utterly blew me away. It demolished my heart in the most raw and honest way, but it also slowly and surely pieced it back together. Wish You Were Here was so emotional and moving that I'm still struggling with my thoughts and feelings, long after finishing the book. There are very few books that I have read where I have loved each and every character and am rooting for them to thrive and flourish. Yes, the story centered on Charlotte and Adam, but there were also many incredible secondary characters as well. Renee Carlino has created quite the cast in this book, each with their own individual journey to embark on. The genius, however, is that this motley crew will feel so familiar and relatable to your own life. I thought of my own brothers, parents, sisters, friends, and lovers as I read this book. I'm still in awe at how accurately and honestly the author captured these emotions and experiences. Wish You Were Here isn't simply a girl meets boy love story. It's also a story of connection, understanding, friendship, growth, death, timing, and of truly living. You will cry as your heart breaks, but even through the sadness, there is beauty and hope. We watch our characters rise up and grow and are left feeling a little lighter and optimistic. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a very long time. While reading, I was often reminded of a line from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" You don't want to miss this poignant and thoughtful book! Another truly stunning masterpiece from Renee Carlino.
    Susan_7347 More than 1 year ago
    It took just one unforgettable night for Charlotte to imagine a life with Adam--just one shared night in his arms to envision all the possibilities that lay ahead. With one magical night, Charlotte fell hopelessly in love. And just as quickly as Charlotte fell, Adam’s demeanor changed, and he turned his back on all that might have been. Hurt and confused, Charlotte does her best to push past her lingering feelings for Adam. But moving forward proves difficult, when every man she meets is compared to the one that walked away. Enter the ever charming Seth. Despite Charlotte’s attraction to this sexy and attentive pro baseball player, Charlotte finds herself holding back. But just when Charlotte allows herself to open up to Seth, a twist of fate brings Adam back into her life. Armed with new information regarding the circumstances surrounding Adam’s abrupt turnabout following their one incredibly amazing night, Charlotte reunites with Adam and suddenly finds a sense of purpose to her previous lackluster life. Living life to its fullest becomes this couple’s mantra, as Adam sets out to make all of their envisioned dreams come true. While I found the premise to this couple’s ill-fated love story unique and intriguing, there are aspects of their story that fell a bit flat. On an emotional level, I fell hard for the enigmatic “lawyer-turned-artist” that is Adam. But connecting with his love interest, Charlotte, was a much harder task. As a result, I didn't feel the kind of deep connection between Charlotte and Adam that such a story should command. I wanted sparks to ignite and fly. Instead, there were only slow burning embers that made their "forever love” connection much less believable than I would have liked. As for Seth, I really liked his character a lot, but he obviously drew the short stick in this story. Virtually forgotten mid-way through this book, his character didn’t receive the type of respect he surely deserved. And while the author made an attempt to wrap up his storyline in the end, I felt it was a rushed and unsatisfactory resolution at best. Flaws aside, “Wish You Were Here” is an easy, enjoyable read with several heartfelt, tearful moments along the way. But as much as I wanted to love every single thing about it, it fell short of being the 5-star read that I was hoping for.
    JoannaDursi More than 1 year ago
    (5+++ STARS) Over the years I have written several reviews where I state that that particular story will stay with me for a long time. WYWH blew them all away as I have no doubt this story will stay with me FOREVER! I do not say that lightly. I mean that with everything I am. I cannot find the right words to do this book justice. These characters made me laugh out loud while simultaneously ripping my heart out. If you could only read one book this year make it Wish You Were Here.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I usually really enjoy an love this author books but didn' t enjoy this one. Charlotte and Adam were annoying characters to me and this is one of her books that I just couldn't finsh. It was predictable and when I skimmed the the end, I was correct and still annoyed.
    KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings When I read the synopsis for the book, I was immediately intrigued. When I heard it had some romance, I got excited. When I sat down and read it, I didn't love it. Charlotte is a flighty lady in her twenties and hasn't found her true passion. She has hopped from job to job and relationship to relationship and nothing is sticking. She has a magical night with a random guy and then he disappears. Then she starts something with another guy and then things just go all wonky!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    My only regret about Wish You Were Here is that it's over. This one tugs at your heart strings, and I imagine will stay with me for a long time. Carlino ' s writing is brilliant. I simply cannot wait for her next . My only suggestion might be that all of the profanity is simply not needed. I highly recommend every one of her novels! She reminds me of the meaning of what it truly means to love someone.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    VoxLibris More than 1 year ago
    The title of Renée Carlino's newest book makes you think of a pretty postcard: some sort of Chamber of Commerce photograph that makes you instantly want to be wherever this image was taken. Yet the "wish" and the "here" are not physical places. Rather, they are emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Charlotte, your heroine who tells you this beautiful story, does not know where she is. At all. She has tried several careers and currently works as a waitress in a place whose best feature is a bottomless bowl of tortilla soup. She's trying cosmetology and failing, a somewhat symbolic attempt to prettify the blandness encompassing her. She lacks - and dearly needs - color, or at least color aside from her childhood best friend and roommate Helen. When Charlotte stumbles into Adam one night, she discovers that missing color. He brightens everything for her. Champagne tastes better. Chinese takeout contains more flavors. Sex ignites a prism of passion. They share the sort of night and connection that you dream about having. For the first time, Charlotte feels present in her own life. And then the next morning, it's over. Adam kicks her out. The problem with experiencing color is that you spend the ensuing days and weeks and months wishing that it were here with you now. Charlotte meets Seth, a sweet and attractive baseball player, and he begins to bring color back. He begins to make Charlotte feel present again, But Adam. Those hours she spent with him are an amorphous, misty place to which she wants to return. She wants to be there, and she wishes she were. Charlotte is self-aware enough to know that she can't commit to Seth until she has closure with Adam. That path to closure, though, will take her places she cannot possibly anticipate. Carlino uses a sailing motif to underscore how the places where we wish people would be change over time. What you need today may not be what you need tomorrow. You change. Your desires change. What completes you changes. And that soul mate who helps you fully realize who you are? That friend you thought was your person? Those can change, too. Sometimes they have to change. This book made me cry copious tears. It made me think about connections. Carlino made me remember my close friendships from college and my twenties and how those women (who are still my best friends) and I had to adjust our relationships when we met our romantic partners. Carlino also made me think about my parents and how their relationship affects my marriage. She made me think about my relationship with my brother. (To some regard, Charlotte's relationship with Chuck is the defining one of her life. It is also HILARIOUS.) Renée Carlino is one of my favorite authors. Her books are automatic one-clicks for me, and Wish You Were Here is a gorgeously written, emotionally affecting, testament to why I adore how she tells a story.
    Shadowwolf36 More than 1 year ago
    The more books I read by Renee Carlino, the more I love her and her writing. She has a way of making you truly FEEL every single, angsty emotion known to man in every single book. When I started reading about Charlotte, I really wasn't sure what to make of it. Charlotte wasn't the usual, strong, tough as nails female character you generally find nor was she the total simpering girl you sometimes see. She was a mix of the two and I didn't know if I liked her or disliked her. She seemed way to wishy, washy for me. When she meets Adam, I start to see her in a new light...but it was Adam who intrigued me completely as I guess he did her as well. I could start to see small snippets of what Adam MIGHT be dealing with...and I could start to see the REAL Charlie under the aimless bluster. When months went by, I started to feel gypped because I wondered if we'd see Adam again. I also felt torn because I loved Seth so much too. When Adam is finally back in her life, we begin to find out what is behind the facade..both Adam's and Charlotte's. You begin to see the strength of character that they both have and what a large part they play in each other's lives and in each other's future. There were so many highlights in my copy only because there were so many different life lessons in this book. But the biggest one to me is to live every single day as though it were your last. I had a lump in my throat and my heart was pounding through most of this book from trying to hold back tears.
    Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
    Charlotte and her best friend Helen aren't driven to make something of themselves, they work in a greasy café while they both try to figure out what to do with their futures. They're also living together and haven't had any steady relationships. That changes quite suddenly though. Charlotte meets Adam when she and Helen are on their way home after an evening out and he gives her the night of her life. Adam isn't like anyone she's ever met before and even though they part ways after their wonderful experience a strong bond has been formed. When Helen meets someone and is ready to move forward Charlotte is being forced to take a good look at her life. Will she be alone and adrift forever? With a little help Charlotte connects with someone online. When she meets Seth she immediately feels at ease. They start dating and they have something good together. However, being with Seth makes Charlotte realize how much she still likes Adam. She starts looking for him, but what she finds isn't what she expected at all. She has a difficult decision to make, will she ruin her chance at a happy relationship with Seth for something complicated and uncertain? Will the joy of being with Adam be worth the heartache she's inevitably going to get? Wish You Were Here is a fantastic book that I can't recommend enough. I immediately loved Charlotte. She doesn't know what she wants exactly, but she tries to figure it out in an active way and she is both funny and fabulously honest. Her night with Adam is something truly magical and reading about their enchanting first meeting warmed my heart. It's a beautiful moment and he's such a special soul. Renée Carlino couldn't have come up with a better version of his personality. He's gorgeous inside and out and I enjoyed reading every single word about him. Seth is a terrific sweet guy with a great sense of humor, so Charlotte has a difficult choice to make. The men in her life both sparkle in their own way, which makes the direction the story eventually takes understandable and incredibly romantic. Wish You Were Here has many emotional layers. Renée Carlino made me smile plenty of times, I also often laughed out loud and I shed quite a lot of tears as the story progressed too. She's written a brilliant moving rollercoaster of a book. Wish You Were Here is impressive, surprising, heartwarming, energetic, captivating and charming. This novel is absolutely amazing, it's a definite must-read and one the best books I've read this year.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Such an amazing read, really did enjoy it.
    Boundlessbookreviews More than 1 year ago
    This is the first book I’ve read of Carlino’s. I do own, I believe, two of her previous books but I haven’t really gotten a chance to read them. That being said, I love a good romance. One that tears at my heartstrings and makes me feel what the characters are feeling. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t do any of those things.  One of my main things when I read, is I have to connect with a character. Or I can’t really get into the story. We have Charlotte who’s is rooming with her best friend and has a crappy job. So she’s not in the best place in her life at the moment. Then she meets Adam on the street, whose lost after getting a take out order. The whole time I’m feeling as if their interactions were more awkward than anything. But I trudged along, I wanted to get to the real part of the story.  The twist in this story is pretty heartbreaking. I felt for Charlotte in the moment. But some of the things that happen, throughout the story. Just kind of fell a bit flat. This could be one of those epic romances. But without the connection of these two love birds. It didn’t have that epicness.  Overall, I have to be honest and give this Two Boundless Stars. It was ok but could have been better. But as a reader don’t let this stop you, give it a chance and see what your opinion is.