Cover Image: Wish You Weren't Here

Wish You Weren't Here

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Member Reviews

I loved and devoured this debut book. The Italian descriptions are cinematic and the slow burn relationship was perfect. If you love romance books, Italy and food, grab this ASAP!

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this book made me want to run away to italy and sip a cocktail. truly enjoyable and fun. the characters were fun and gave me some hearty laughs.

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Loved everything about this book. The Italian setting, the characters, the romance all of it was perfect. Romance in Italy what can be better?

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“Wish You Weren’t Here” by Christy Schillig is a delightful romance novel set in Italy, following the journey of Ava as she fulfils a promise to her late mother and completes the last credits needed for her law degree. The book is a super atmospheric and adorable read, with a captivating storyline and well-developed characters. The novel is set in Italy, where Ava embarks on a journey to fulfil a promise to her late mother and complete the last credits needed for her law degree. From the very beginning, Ava’s carefully laid plans are thrown to the wayside, leading her on an unexpected adventure. The book is filled with humour, quirky characters, and an intriguing plot, making it a compelling read for those interested in romance and travel.

The author’s writing style and the dynamic between the characters contribute to the book’s appeal, making it a promising start to a new series. The novel is 304 pages long and was first published on October 7, 2021. The story is filled with humour, quirky characters, and an intriguing plot, making it a compelling read for those interested in romance and travel.

instalmentOverall, “Wish You Weren’t Here” is a delightful and engaging romance novel that offers a fresh perspective on personal growth and self-discovery. The book’s captivating storytelling and well-crafted characters make it a promising introduction to the world of Ava and her Italian adventure. Fans of lighthearted romance with a focus on personal growth and self-discovery are likely to enjoy this book and look forward to the next instalment in the series.

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This book is simply incredible! The slow burn love story is just perfect and so beautiful and lovely!! I loved the vivid descriptions of the Italian setting. There’s a bittersweet beauty to how the author so skillfully portrays grief and how people cling so desperately to plans and expectations that no longer fit. This book truly was so wonderful, and I wish I could read it again for the first time.

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As an art historian who has studied in Urbino, I adored the setting of this novel. Schillig’s descriptions of the scenery, cuisine, and art of this charming town really made the book for me. The romance is a classic enemies-to-lovers tale that starts with a bang and develops into a satisfying story. However, while James is a delightful character, Ava is hard to love. Aside from a few unrealistic elements—would a law student ever be assigned as a teaching assistant for an art history course?—I did enjoy the book and would strongly recommend it for readers looking to indulge in a summer romance with Italian vibes. Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

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This was a totally transportive story and it made me crave all of the pasta, pizza and swoony Italian men.

I loved the dynamic of mother/daughter, tied together through art. I loved the way the story was written woven togehter. This totally transported me all over the world and made me lose complete track of time.

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Loved the story and how the mother/daughter connected through art. The descriptions of Italy made me want to visit.

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Ava Graham has the perfect life, but at the wish of her deceased mother she heads off to Italy to complete her final law school credits.

But her perfect life begins to unravel when her equally perfect boyfriend turns out to not be so perfect.

A change of plans once she arrives in Italy further unsettles Ava, but this change could just bring her the chance of an Italian romance.

This book is gorgeous: the Italian life is vibrant and I just wanted to step straight into the book and absorp the countryside, food, art and culture first hand.

As someone who has spent time in Italy, Ava is living out some of experiences I wish I had.

The subplot of reconnecting with her mother through the paintings and people adds another layer of complexity that helps the story shine.

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I haven’t heard anything about this book before requesting it as an ARC and went purely off the description and I am so glad I did - it was amazing! The book really transports you to Italy as someone who has been there a few times it was so accurate and made me nostalgic for those times. The main character Ava is so great and relatable. Loved the romance in it as well - romance + Italy is just a perfect combination. The romance had ups and downs but the ending was so satisfying! I would highly recommend this.

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I had to think a bit about how to describe this book, because it has so many layers, it is so good. It is a story about a girl, Ava, who travels to Italy to fulfill a promise made to her mother, who recently passed away. You learn that Ava quit her art study to spend more time with her mother, but she eventually died after fighting cancer. Ava has put up emotional walls to protect her heart but only discovers they are there when her time in Italy slowly but surely peels away every layer.

The book overflows with the Italian way of life, where the pace is a little bit slower, less hectic and more relaxed. In true Italian fashion, many plans need to be readjusted because things aren’t perfect, which is not a problem at all for any Italian. It takes Ava a while to readjust but she slowly relaxes, and lets her guard down that she has put up after all that she has been through.

The way the book is written, it feels like you are in Italy with the characters. The book paints a beautiful picture of the city Urbino and it is so beautifully written with so many details that I started to look up this city to see if this little town and various places that are mentioned in the book really exist. And they do! I even found some of the historical figures that are mentioned. Of course the story is fictional but I like that you can really look at a picture of several spots and historical figures. There’s also the use of some Italian phrases of which you can guess the meaning (but I used a translation app) which only adds to the feeling that you’re truly in Italy. The chapters are even numbered in Italian, which I liked a lot. (We’re in Italy, after all.) Maybe a little dictionary would be appreciated by some readers but hey, as an English tourist you won’t know every Italian sentence either, while holidaying in Italy.

But besides the beautiful Italian scenery the story is so incredibly well written! The flow is easygoing but realistic and you just feel for both Ava and James. You see them fall in love and feel the predicament they’re in; he doesn’t want to leave Italy and she needs to go back to the States. And both have to face their struggles. But every issue is amazingly well taken care of. The ending is very satisfying.
The secondary characters truly add to the story and I liked that the book keeps you guessing as to what will happen and how everything will work out.

This book has so much: Romance, depth, inspiration, art, drama, food, fun, joy, love, loss, grief, guilt, build up walls, heart ache, dreams, family, friends, the past and the present, finding yourself, finding art and finding friends that live in your heart forever - finding it in Italy.
It is definitely a book that I will recommend as it will appeal to many people. Go read this book! Five stars.

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This book hit way too close to home for me. Not only did it deal with a woman in her late twenties still grieving over losing her mother to cancer (which I, sadly, went through early last year), it also dealt with the exploration of Italy (which, again, sadly, was where I was exploring last summer when I found out I'd also lost my dad). So basically, this was truly an enemies to lovers romance set in Italy, but to me, it felt like a whole lot more.

Was it perfect? No - there was some pacing issues and parts that I thought were maybe too in-depth, but because of how beautiful I found the overall story, and how I connected to it, I'm not holding that against this author.

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Without a doubt, Ava's story is one with which one can easily feel represented. Her life takes an unexpected turn and everything is changed, which is a clear example of what life is all about.
James was a marvel and I loved it, the dynamic of these two is great and worth reading.
Reading this book has been like travelling back to Italy and it has made me very envious. Without a doubt, totally recommended.

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In "Wish You Weren't Here" by Christy Schillig, Ava Graham's carefully planned life takes an unexpected turn when her long-term boyfriend suggests a break instead of a proposal before her summer in Italy. As she navigates the chaos of her upended world, James Massini, a charming and carefree companion, enters the scene as her TA. Determined to show Ava a different perspective on life, James introduces her to the beauty in spontaneity and chaos, challenging her well-organized approach.

As the reader, I was right there with the characters. I could picture every sunset over the rolling hills, I could taste the wine and fresh basil, I could see the historic and beautiful artworks. This is truly a multi-faceted love story between not only two people, but Ava and herself, her mother, art, and Italy The messages were clear at the end of this beautiful book: life is too short to follow plans and never say no to love. I can't wait for people to read this!

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opini0n.

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The Italian setting is as much a character as the actual characters! What a sweet book. Charming, predictable, feel-good — I loved this one and am ready to plan a trip of my own to Italy!

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Wish You Weren't Here
by Christy Schillig
Pub Date: May 21, 2024
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opini0n.
In this transportive debut, a woman spending a summer in Italy finds her world completely upended–but it may be the kick she’s needed to figure out who she truly wants to be, perfect for fans of Rebecca Serle and Tessa Bailey.

Ava Graham's ducks are in a row as she heads off to Italy to complete her final law school credits and fulfill a promise she made to her late mother five years ago. Ava expects her long-term boyfriend to propose before her trip, but instead of giving her a ring, he suggests they use her time abroad as a “break” before settling down.
I found this debut author refreshing. Good story and message.
4 stars

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This debut novel by Christy Schillig was an absolute treasure! It will easily become a classic romance novel that gets remembered with the likes of Christina Lauren and Emily Henry. Ava Graham is a type A main character who has her life meticulously planned out. She never strays or wonders from her plans. Just as she is about to depart to Italy for her study abroad program, her hopes of an engagement to her long time boyfriend Ethan get squashed. This sets in motion a roller coaster experience in Italy. Upon arrival, she meets James, a handsome but rough around the edges man. Immediately we are introduced to a witty, hilarious enemies to lvoeres dynamic. Over the course of the next few weeks, Ava discovers what it's like to be part of a family, reconnect with her love of art, learn to grieve her mother, let go of her plans, and far in love unexpectedly. Written in both perspectives of Ava and James, the descriptions in every chapter of the Italian setting and culture was completely immersive. As the reader, I was right there with the characters. I could picture every sunset over the rolling hills, I could taste the wine and fresh basil, I could see the historic and beautiful artworks. This is truly a multi-faceted love story between not only two people, but Ava and herself, her mother, art, and Italy The messages were clear at the end of this beautiful book: life is too short to follow plans and never say no to love. I can't wait for people to read this!

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Wish You Weren’t Here is like reading a Hallmark movie, but rated PG 13 due to the sex scenes. Cute, predictable, feel good vibes.

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This book is dreamy. It takes you directly to Italy. The descriptions and the characters are fully imagine and whole. You can fall into this book.

Just as Ava is leaving for a month in Italy her boyfriend suggests taking the month apart. She is rightfully upset and it doesn’t help that her ride from the airport is a hour late. James, the driver, is instantly taken with Ava just as she is annoyed with him.

Their lives in Italy intertwine and they both see something in each other they didn’t see coming. I liked how prickly Ava was and how charmed James was by her. They were very cute.

Thank you NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC.

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Thank you for the opportunity to read Wish You Weren’t Here. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I was surprised by how much I loved it. It was so much more than a typical romcom. I found myself looking up Italian foods and finding Urbino on a map. I thought Ava was a great character who actually made me tear up at the end. I highly recommend this novel!

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