By Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel & Friends, 2015. 272 pgs. Young Adult
By a stroke of luck (or by way of having a wealthy best friend), seventeen-year-old Laurel lands a spot on the "Cruise to Lose," a seven-day trip that promises passengers they'll lose ten to fifteen percent of their body weight thanks to a revolutionary new sweetener called Solu. But despite a ship packed with glittering celebutantes and the fabulously wealthy, Laurel doesn't feel inclined to worry about her size 14 waistline. She knows that someday, someone will love her just the way she is . . .
. . . She just didn't expect that someone to be Tom Forelli, former child star, Laurel's crush, and who happens to be the host of Solu's "Cruise to Lose." Both Laurel and Tom avoid Solu for their own reasons, and are the only ones on the ship to do so, besides several members of the ship's staff.
So when Solu turns out to be addictive enough to kill for, Laurel and Tom find themselves trapped on a ship spiraling into madness. Survival alone won't be enough -- if the teens can't find a way to warn the world of the dangers of Solu, they might find home as hellish as the ship they fought so hard to survive.
Reluctant readers, take heed. Told from two perspectives, Sweet is a whirlwind of a read, offering up enough romance, action, and zombie-like gore to please almost any reader. Laybourne wins bonus points for the inclusion of a heroine who knows her body doesn't fit the beauty standard, but loves herself anyway with no restraint. A great beach read for anyone who likes a side of satire with their sun.