In “Swear on This Life” by Renée Carlino ($15), Emiline has left her difficult past behind. As an adjunct writing instructor, she’s well attuned to the literary world. But when a mysterious debut fiction novel starts making the rounds, she begins to read it, only to discover it’s based on her very real past — which means the author must be her childhood best friend and first love, Jase, whom she hasn’t seen in more than a decade. Will she be strong enough to confront him?
This book was actually my gateway into the whole angsty, second-chance romance theme and what led me to discover “It Ends With Us” in the first place. Just like Colleen Hoover’s book, this story unfolds in present day and through flashbacks, but with a twist: the flashbacks of Emiline’s childhood are revealed as Emiline reads Jase’s novel for the first time, so she’s discovering the story just like we are as the reader. The book within a book format is different, but the feels are the same — it’s raw and emotionally wrought, and yes, you will cry.