Review: Sweet Thing

Author: Renée Carlino
Date of Publication: August 20 2013
Pages: 320
Source: Kobo

"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together…then you'll hear the sound of your soul."

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's café, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions-for him, for music-but her father's legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.


Books like this give me a peak into what NA will soon blossom into. A rich age category of books with new adult characters facing the next level of life’s curve balls. I’m awaiting that day because if YA walked me through my teenage years then NA is the next phase.

Sweet Thing, from start to finish, is a story of growing up and coming into oneself. Renee Carlino is true to this central theme which becomes evident from the very first page: “The big questions… what do you want to do with the rest of your life? Who will you marry if you marry at all? What career will you choose? Do you want children? It seemed like everything I knew at twenty five morphed into everything I didn’t know by twenty six, when I was suddenly hit with the realization that many of the decisions we make in out twenties, are permanent”. 

However, that isn’t all this book is. The other topics include, family, love, age, friends, status. The main character Mia is a straight up “Gap ad” kind of girl. She wear monochromatic clothing, holds a business degree from Brown and the only hitch in her perfect image is the fact that she is the daughter of a hippy free-to-life Manhattan Coffee Shop owner who taught her to live life through music. Through out the story Mia has a tough time coming to terms with her musician self and understanding that holding a desk job doesn’t make a person more worthy than a starving musician. Occupations don’t make people and love can’t be won through careful calculation and a thick pay cheque.

Many of these realizations came with the help of another very special character, Will Ryan, 29, easy going, musical genius and resident starving musician. Will and Mia hit it off on a plane ride and one thing leads to another and the two end up as roommates. I adored the moments they spent together as roommates. Their relationship developed from general interest to friendship and slowly, painstakingly, to romance. 

My heart honestly hurt for Will who so obviously pined for our confused heroine and had to deal with a lot of her issues. Mia put Will through a lot of awful stringing along and I truly respect him for still managing to stick to his feels but he also had moments when he cracked under the pressure of all the unfairness and we saw a erratic version of him. Something we all have but isn’t often portrayed in literature.

This book is a tribute to all the wonderful people who popped in and helped Mia come into herself and deal with her losses. Her father, despite being the central loss, was present in spirit throughout. There was also her mom, Jenny, Sheil, Martha and all the people at Kell’s Cafe. It just goes to show that people are very important and Mia was lucky to have many people who loved her and supported her no matter what.

Mia was a numbskull when it came to life and sometimes life needs to kick you in the butt to wake you up and that’s what Mia figures out. I hope the rest of us can do it with a little less trouble. Overall a great read.



  1. Well, this sounds like one fantastic NA read! Thanks for the great review Mari!

    1. Glad you liked it. I literally started this the day before my last exam and zoomed right through, it did wonders to my stress level. :) I hope you enjoy if u decide to pick it up.


  2. Hm, this sounds like a pretty good NA story! We hadn't heard of it, so thanks for bringing it to our attention and sharing your thoughts. :)

    1. Yeah, I hadn't heard of it either until I saw it on someone's shelf. I really recommend it.



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