SWEET by Emmy Laybourne


Age Range: 13 & up
Email this review


Celebrities, romance, and carnage on the high seas.

It’s pretty skeevy for a meet-cute, but when 17-year-old Laurel vomits on 19-year-old Tom’s shoes, it’s destiny—and foreshadows flavors to come. Laurel’s on this luxury weight-loss cruise to keep a friend company; Tom’s there as a television host, trying to wrangle his child-star career into something more serious. The ritzy cruise is sponsored by Solu, a sugar substitute and weight-loss catalyst that’s supposedly a “solu”-tion for fatness. Tom declines Solu because of his strict “clean eating” diet; Laurel declines from seasickness and wariness. At first, Solu’s effects are merely preposterous, causing a 13-pound weight loss in two days. But soon passengers become walking, tooth-dropping cadavers, so addicted—think heroin times meth times vampires—that they’re rioting and committing frenzied murder to drink one another’s Solu-filled blood. With former competitors from Survivor and The Bachelorette aboard, the who-will-survive plot works well, fast-paced yet farcically cheesy. (Tom can identify someone’s “schizoid break” because “I did a guest star on Criminal Minds”; then again, according to Laurel, he’s “so frickin’ manly.”) Tom and Laurel alternate narrating, their first-person voices indistinguishable. The wealthy passengers’ superior obliviousness seeps into the text, as when Laybourne calls the multiracial ship crew “a walking United Nations” and a black girl “strong and angry.”

A glitzy bloodbath with the most ironic title ever. (Horror. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-250-05519-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2015


ChildrenREALITY BOY by A.S. King
by A.S. King
ChildrenBLUE BLOODS by Melissa de la Cruz
by Melissa de la Cruz
ChildrenBEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray
by Libba Bray