Book Review

Book Review

“Sweet” by Emmy Laybourne

                “Sweet” by Emmy Laybourne is about a wonder drug which helps with losing weight and keeping it off.  Solu (short for ‘solution’) is billed as a sweetener which causes the consumer to lose five to ten percent of their body fat in a week, just the right length for a cruise.

                 Solu is released to the public on a celebrity-studded cruise. Told from the viewpoints of a Ryan Seacrest-like character, Tom Fiorelli, and Laurel Willard, a teen who is reluctant to use the sweetener, “Sweet” moves quickly with short chapters and lots of action.

                The cruise is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic.” The passenger list is studded with B-level celebrities and wealthy folks who all want to lose weight the easy way. As we learn, there is no easy way. Laybourne is an expert at creating horrible situations and letting her characters sort themselves into rioters, avoiders and leaders. The main characters are likeable. Here is a bit from one of Tom’s chapters.


“Tonight’s dinner is Black Tie Optional. Optional for everyone except me...

‘I think you are forgetting how lucky you are,’ [the publicist] scolded me. ‘Solu selected you, and you alone, to do the media coverage for this cruise. I mean, this is the exclusive of the century. You’re it, Tom. So if Rich asks or if I ask you to show up in a tux, I expect your question to be ‘Zenga or Armani?’...

I wore the Armani.

And I’m glad I did.

Because as the maître d’ leads me to my table in the Aurora Restaurant, I see he’s going to seat me right next to Sabbi Ribiero.

Sabbi’s dressed in a glittering green cocktail dress. She kind of looks like a boa constrictor.”

                “Sweet” explores society’s complex relationship with weight, the passengers run the gamut of those who need to lose weight to those who don’t, but believe they should. Is losing weight the easy way better than either loving yourself as you are, or working hard to lose it?

                I enjoyed “Sweet” but  the two main character’s voices get muddled sometimes. I also thought the romance built too fast, but I can see where clinging to the other sane person in a crisis seems like a good idea.  I would definitely read another book by Emmy Laybourne.

                 “Sweet” is a teen summer read, but it would appeal to fans of the horror genre as well.  Laybourne has written a number of teen books.