Cover Image: Wish You Weren't Here

Wish You Weren't Here

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Member Reviews

I love how this book whisks you off to Italy in such a way that you can see and hear the fair, but does it in a way that is so wordy that it pulls you out. The main character, Ava, is struggling with the loss of her mother but finds herself in the town her mom fell in love with. It’s a story about life and how having a set plan can sometimes keep you from living. Definitely worth the read!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC of this book! I enjoyed this and felt that it was a very sweet story.

Ava travels to Urbino, Italy to finish up some course work for her law degree because she promised her mother she would experience the culture. When she leaves her personal life is in turmoil and she feels like her life is up in the air. She meets James at the airport when he picks her up and takes her to where she will be staying with his family as a part of her exchange program. It's a classic enemies to lovers storyline from there and their relationship was sweet. She also discovers a lot about herself and what she wants and learns that it's okay to veer off of the course you had set out for yourself. I would recommend it and would read others by this author. Thanks for the opportunity to review it!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the descriptions of Italy and all the characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and Aclove Press for this ARC. ~I was given this book and made no commitments to leave my opinions, favorable or otherwise~

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Wish You Weren't Here is everything you expect from a romance; we follow Ava, who sets off to Italy in an attempt to make good on her promise to her departed mother. Instead of arriving engaged, she arrives with a 5 minute calling card and a lot of anger. This leaves her in the perfect position to be charmed as she never expected by Italy, and the handsome young professor she TAs for.

The best part of the book is the setting—it’s hard to do anything but fall in love with Italy, but the author paints a lovely picture of the city of Urbino, from everything to art and architecture, to the people and the food. It was a beautiful setting with rich descriptions that leant the story the perfect romantic atmosphere.

The plot and characters were too simple for this to be a standout story. Each plot point was expected and resolved easily to remove any sense of struggle or challenge for the characters, which lessened the emotion felt from their trials to be together. The characters were likeable enough, but two dimensional and didn’t feel interesting. I had a hard time believing they were falling in love, because they didn’t do anything remarkable to stand out (other than being gorgeous, of course).

Overall, this was a basic romance and if you love a simple and straightforward story that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, this could be a good beach read. I would read the descriptions of Italy over and over, but personally could do without the rest of the story.

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Beautifully written 👏 very emotional, romantic and heartwarming love story. James and Ava both are sweethearts and I loved both. Their chemistry is amazing. I loved Leo, Nina, and other Italian characters as well. Beautifully described artwork, architecture, food and Italian culture. I loved the setting. Writing is magical, which transported me to Italy. Highly recommended.

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Wish you Weren’t Here
Author : Christy Schillig

With this book, i feel in love with Italy more.. and with that said, this book is really a gem of a story.
Ava who is a budding lawyer, wants to fulfils her dead mother’s wish of studying abroad. However she is committed to Ethan who is a senator and belongs to the one of the most influential families in America. When the whole family of Ethan expects that these two will get engaged, Ethan stuns Ava by simply dumping her at the airport with a one time calling card and saying it’s a time out for their relationship.

Heartbroken and alone Ava arrives in a country where she meets James, their first meeting is hilarious and James typically Italian. He is a photographer and a professor of ARTs in the University.
Both Ava and James have their hearts in their hands and soon it’s too dangerous to stay away knowing that the Italian sun and beautiful city of Urbino is playing its magic.

James having his past and afraid of committing to Ava and Ava lost in the beauty of the historical city and uncovering unknown facts of her mother.. will both these souls find the solace in each other’s embrace?? Or will the reality hit them hard.. With each of their career choices at stake, will there hearts hold them in Italy??

The flow of the book is mesmerising as each page unfolds the story with an immersive description of the city.. it’s hard to put this one down. I loved the characters of Nina, Leo and others, as each play their own role in cushioning the story.

This story for me is like finding what makes you happy.. connecting back with self.. with family and love..

Tropes: Found Family
Love, historical city, forced proximity, friendship.

Thanks to @netgally @AlcovePress for providing me with the ARC

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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I've never traveled, unless you count Canada, which most people don't. This book, this author, has made me want to travel. This book is so beautifully written and so lush in description it's like a painting, all on its own. I'm not usually swept away by descriptive imagery, in fact, I'd say it's not really my thing, but in this book it's everything.

I almost feel like the story between Ava and James is secondary, but in the best way. Their story, individually and together, is as beautifully written as you can imagine.

I would definitely recommend this book.

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I love reading so much that is becoming an addiction. I even know how far along I am to finish a book without looking at the percentage at the lowest part of each page. Sometimes depending on the book, I’m relieved that it’s actually ending because no matter how good or bad the book is I have to read it until its end……Well, “Wish you weren’t here” is the contrary of that. I looked to the lowest part of each page praying and hoping it never ended.
The description of Urbino, its landscape, the food, the wine, the art and the characters left me craving a trip to Italy. I know the characters are fiction and all that, but I fell in love with the main characters, their friends, pet and family. I just wished I could for a change lived inside the book and not through it.
The romantic chemistry between Ava and James was magical, and the family love you experience through their family and friends is what everyone at the end dreams to have in one’s life.
Congratulations to Christy Schillig for achieving with words but she described with James’s photographs.

Thanks NetGalley for this gift you allow me to read and review. You just made me a fan of the author’s work.

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4.25 ⭐️!!!

ava is ready to embark on a trip to italy to fulfill her late mother’s wishes and complete her final credits for law school. and as she’s rushing through the airport with her boyfriend, she fully expects him to propose to her before they leave together. however, he shocks her by instead— proposing a break 😅 he wants her to go to italy and “sow all her oats” lol before they decide to commit to each other when she gets back. she is pissed to say the least!!! so she flies to italy and is picked up by an italian man, james, who is driving her back to her new place. she assumes this man doesn’t speak any english so she proceeds to trauma dump her struggles on him. however when they arrive to their destination she realized he in fact does speak english and now knows all of her woes 😂 she’s instantly embarrassed and wants to avoid him at all costs. this however, ends up being impossible bc james is the nephew of the family she’s staying with for the next 4 weeks AND he’s the professor at the university that she has to TA for. so unfortunately they’re stuck butting heads for the foreseeable future!

from start to finish I absolutely loved this book. it was silly goofy and corny at times but it was also so romantic, heartwarming and just gave the comfiest vibes!!!! I literally want to teleport to the streets of urbino RIGHT NOW i’m not even kidding 😩 the imagery and the descriptions of the town were everything. ava and james have my mf heart!!!!! I was rooting for them from the start! their meet (not so) cute was hilarious. but seeing them go from dislike to friends to lovers was 😚🤌🏼 the side characters were everything! I want to live with nina and leo and I want to be besties with all the townspeople!! truly an amazing found family!! lastly, seeing ava face her grief relating to her mother was so beautiful and had me sobbing like a baby! seeing her connect with a part of her mom’s life through art made me so emo and happy for ava. this was absolutely stunning for a debut novel. it made me miss italy so much but simultaneously gave me a the perfect fix 🤭 pls add this to your tbr! it’s such a fun read!!! available on 5/21/24 🫶🏼

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This was a pretty good debut novel by the author. I've never been to Italy, but the author's descriptions of Urbino and Venice made me want to rectify that ASAP. The supporting characters were all warm and welcoming and added lots of charm to an already charming city.

Ava has been dating the son of a Senator for a long while and expected to get engaged, but instead he sent her on her way to Urbino with a single calling card and basically told her to sow any wild oats she has. She was expecting a ring, he pushed her away instead. What she didn't expect to find in Urbino was James. I'll admit that their initial meeting was hilarious. She assumed he was just a hired driver and that he didn't speak English, so he heard a mouthful about things she would not have mentioned otherwise. She kinda hates him for this afterwards and I'll admit that I wasn't a fan of her hostility given she was the one who made assumptions about him based on him picking her up at the airport.

James was an interesting character. He was deeply loyal to his family. He was a photographer and art connoisseur, and he was even a professor. He was obviously good at what he does given the offer from The Post he kept turning down over the years. As a fellow photographer, I liked that he was also a photographer and saw the beauty in all things around him and really captured the heart and emotion behind what he was seeing (and no, I didn't find this creepy at all as another reviewer mentioned...that's what artists do, they observe and capture what they see).

There was obvious sexual tension between them and it continued to build until well into the last half of the book when they finally had time alone. So I'd say this was an incredibly slow burn romance. But I honestly didn't mind it as much.

The book was too long though about 20 chapters. It's well over 60 chapters and even though some were only about 4-5 mins long, that's still many hours of reading and dedication to one romance book. I still enjoyed it, but I did find myself checking to see how many more chapters were left the last half of the book. Had there been a lot going on during that time, I think it wouldn't have been so bad, but there isn't a whole lot of plot development going on. They meet, they fight, they have meals together with family, they decide they like each other, they have more family meals, she discovers who her mom really was before she was born, they have more family meals and invite townspeople, they explore Urbino and Venice, they break up, they get back together, the end. (Yes, they had a lot of family meals in this book lol)

I'd probably read another of this author's books because I did like the descriptiveness of the town and people and it really made me feel like I was there or wanted to be there. I think the next book should be shorter though, but I'd definitely read another.

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I really wanted to enjoy this but the characters have 0 chemistry and I couldn’t care less for the romance

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I had such high hopes for this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. Definitely a me problem and not a book problem—probably the wrong time, so I’m hopeful to try again some time. Loved the setting, just too slow for me.

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I absolutely loved this book! Wish You Weren't Here follows Ava Graham, who has always had a plan for how her life will go. Ava sets off for Italy prepared to finish her last few law school credits and keep a long-held promise to her late mother. She's expecting her long-term boyfriend to propose before she leaves, but instead, he suggests they use her time abroad as a "break." Off to a shaky start, Ava fears her time in Italy will turn out to be completely disastrous...but she just might discover what she truly wants, learn more about her mom's past, and maybe even fall in love along the way.

This was a fantastic debut! I especially enjoyed how Wish You Weren't Here was so grounded in its setting. The descriptions of everything, from the art to the culture to the food, made me feel as if I were there in Urbino, with Ava, James, and the vibrant cast of supporting characters. The romance between Ava and James was so sweet and swoon-worthy—I always love a good enemies-to-lovers story, and the dual POV added that extra bit of tension, as we could get a sense of their inner thoughts and see how Ava and James felt about each other from the start. Beyond the love story, I really appreciated Ava's journey overall, how she learned to pave a different path from the carefully laid plans she'd always had for her life, and realized that it's okay to create a new dream, to want something different for yourself than you originally might have. I did wish we got a little more insight into what Ava's life was like in Philadelphia before she left for Urbino, just to make the contrast between the two "Avas" clearer, and emphasize Ava's development throughout the story. Otherwise, I so enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it for anyone in search of a dreamy Italian adventure! Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC.

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Oh, this book! I loved it so much. I’ve been to Italy, but not to Urbino. This really made me want to visit there. It sounds just divine—- the food, the sights, the art, the culture!

Ava has come to the town that inspired her mother’s art. Her mother’s died five years before this. She told Ava to visit. Ava has expected her long-time boyfriend Ethan to propose to her before she departs, but instead he encourages her to “sow some wild oats” and enjoy Italy. She’s crushed.

Ava’s in law school, almost finished, a degree she picked in imitation of her father. She ends up staying with a family who has a history with her mother. The best part is the nephew who picks her up from the airport. James is drop-dead gorgeous and a wonderful photographer.

I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises (and there are quite a few), but I was preparing to be heartbroken close to the end of the book. I was so invested in Ava and her future! Please read this! It’s excellent.

My thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. My review is voluntary.

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I’m not a big fan of romcoms and yet… this surprised me. A lot. I found myself thinking and looking at the characters as I was there with them. Fully immersing myself into the reading. Enemies to lovers, law students, studying abroad, rivalry… yeah that’s a good cup of tea there. I enjoyed reading the book, and it gave me a new appreciation for my native country.

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Wow. I wanted to like this book. I really did. I was intrigued by the characters and the scenery. But over and over, the readers are told about how beautiful the main character is. How the golden of her hair shines in the sun. And the profuseness on the scenery. I get it the Italian city of Urbino is beautiful and the art is amazing. But it was too much. I did enjoy the few sentences in Italian and how those characters were portrayed. Overall, I didn’t like the main character and I thought that James with his constant picture taking of people was a bit creepy.

This book took me forever to read because I just knew it had to get better. I wish I had just skipped. I liked the title, cover and description. It just wasn’t for me.

I received this advanced reader copy for my honest opinion.

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RomComs set in Italy are having a moment, and Wish You Weren't Here is one of the better ones I've read lately. An enemies to lovers look at a law student studying abroad who keeps clashing with a friend of a friend of the family, who ends up being her TA supervisor. I really enjoyed the setting of this book- perfect for anyone who might be traveling to Italy and wants to bring a book along, especially Central Italy.

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Wow. This book was everything I wanted in a great novel. Engaging characters, amazing setting, and all the emotions. It was romantic, amusing, poignant, heartbreaking. Easily one of the top five books I have read this year. I look forward to more work by this author.

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Thanks to NetGalley, the author Christy Schillig and the publisher for the chance to read this book!
If you enjoy romance along with Italian food, family and culture then you will enjoy this novel.
It’s well written and I appreciated reading alternating chapters from the main characters.
Her descriptions of the town, along with the art and food led me to do some google research and it was all fascinating.

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Unexpected and unique style of writing. The author brought each character to life and her interest in Italy was woven into each page of the book. Each page is densely written, so the book will take the reader some time to get through. Enjoyable read.

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