Who doesn’t crave the easy way out? What if you could take a substance that would make you lose an incredible amount of weight in a short amount of time…all without having to eat like a rabbit?
Laurel should never have come on this all-expenses paid trip with her friend Viv. Sure, Viv’s dad can spare the money, and Viv has always been trying to lose those extra pounds that her mother is always pointing out. But since she’s never been on a cruise, and Viv has basically begged her to go, Laurel grudgingly trudges up the gangplank, invisible to the reality shows stars, famous and rich who are eager to try the latest weight loss Holy Grail: Solu. She has no interest in losing any LBs herself and plans on spending her time enjoying the on-board attractions and taking tours at the stops. There’s no shortage of entertainment, which includes the host for the cruise, former child star Tom Forelli, who is no longer the fat kid actor he once was.
The trip has had massive amounts of publicity, and the Solu founder and chief scientist are eager for more. This cruise will introduce the product to the first users, with a world-wide launch once they return. There are cameras everywhere, as Solu wants to capture the event for the world to see. They even weighed the ship before leaving so they can tell the media how much total weight was lost during the trip. Fun!
What starts off as an amazingly fast weight reduction turns into a nightmare. Everyone who is using Solu slowly becomes addicted – like heroin-level addicted. And once the stores start getting low, there is an all-out melee as people are trying to get their hands on more of the product. Fortunately, Laurel never took any, not wanting to lose weight, and Tom, having lost weight with the help of his trainer, has been forbidden to take it. They slowly realize what is happening, watching helplessly as the people around them slowly abandon their humanity and succumb to all-out violence. Is this merely a product that wasn’t sufficiently tested…or something more sinister?
To be honest, this was not the book that I thought it was going to be when I set out to read it. I assumed there would be some intrigue, some bad guys, a lot of drama. Though it started out pretty light-hearted, I never imagined the level of violence and depravity that was within. So, to say the least, the last third or so of the story was a free-for-all of viciousness and degradation that was pretty vile. While I think it was a great idea for a book, it was as if the beginning of one story was attached to the ending of another story. Plus, it may have put me completely off of cruises. Forever.
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne is published today, June 2, 2015 by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance Thriller
Ages: 14 and up
FYI: Sexual situations; profanity; underage drinking; violence