Sweet is the second book in Erin McCarthy’s “True Believers” series. It was the first book, True that actually introduced me to Erin’s writing and the new adult genre. And, I’ll say it again: there is something magnetic about Erin’s writing. I have had this experience with every book of hers that I have read since picking up True and Sweet was no different.
The story, at face value, seems simple and even something that has already been told. But Erin McCarthy puts a fresh face on it and really hooks her readers. In Sweet narrator Jessica Sweet is facing a difficult summer and kicking everything off with a big lie. Rather than go home, she tells her parents that she’s rehabing houses for the disadvantaged in West Virginia. That gets her out of one mess, but into another. With a gap of one week before her summer rental is available, Jess needs a place to stay. When her first choice doesn’t pan out, she accepts an offer from her best friend’s boyfriend Tyler to stay at his place. The catch is that his older brother, Riley, who doesn’t like Jess and whom Jess doesn’t like, either, will be there, too. Out of options and feeling desperate, Jess accepts. Over the course of a week, Jess finds out that spending time with and around Riley might not actually be all that bad. A tenuous friendship develops into an attraction that neither one of them can deny or refuse.
What I love about the story in Sweet is the character of Riley. On the outside, he’s tough and hard core. Muscled and tattooed, someone who you would want to avoid. But the more the reader gets to know Riley, the more we can see that his exterior appearance isn’t at all the person Riley really is. Jealous, sure; explosive, definitely; but also fiercely loyal and trustworthy. Also: he’s pretty darn funny. I found myself laughing several times while reading the banter between Jess and Riley.
This second book in the “True Believers” series is a touching and memorable story. I love learning more about the Mann brothers, and I love even more how devoted all of the brothers are to their family and those who they love.