Emmy & Oliver | book review


Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 2015
Rating: 4.5 stars

Opening Line:

The last time Emmy sees Oliver is on their forty-third day of second grade.

This is it, guys. This is the last book of 2015 right here. I am at a friend’s house blogging on my Kindle, so I apologize if this review is lackluster; I tend to do my best work on my laptop. I’ve spent the last couple hours trying to finish reading this novel because I shudder at the thought of starting a book in 2015 and finishing it in 2016. I know, I’m a weirdo. The point is, I have succeeded, so here you go, my last recommendation of the year: Emmy & Oliver.

When Oliver is seven years old, he is kidnapped. His father picks him up from school one day and never brings him back, leaving his mother terrified, helpless, and alone. Emmy, Drew, and Caro, his three best friends, spend the next ten years wondering where he is, if he’s okay, and if they’ll ever see him again. The only thing Emmy has left of Oliver is a silly note on a little piece of paper from the day he went missing. Then one day when Emmy is seventeen, Oliver suddenly returns, and everything is different now. He is different, and so is she. Can they possibly resume their friendship after a ten-year gap?

Guys, this one gave me the feely-feels, AKA the fuzzies — in other words, it was cute. Like, really cute. I probably say that about a lot of YA books, but seriously, Emmy and Oliver were downright adorable. The novel is told in first-person with Emmy as our narrator, occasionally interrupted by some flashback mini-chapters. Part of me wishes Benway included chapters narrated by both Emmy and Oliver, but I think she handled the single POV narrative well enough. Emmy had a lot of insight to Oliver because she apparently knew him so well, even though he just reappeared after ten years, but whatever, it was convincing enough. Emmy is a great narrator — she’s very relatable, being a teenager heavily over-protected by her parents and struggling with the decisions that come about being a high school senior. She has all the typical young adult issues – parents, grades, friends, college – plus the difficulty of rekindling her relationship with her kidnapped best friend. She handles it all pretty well, honestly. Emmy is quite likable and doesn’t really make any bad decisions.

Emmy’s renewed relationship with Oliver is adorable. Oliver himself is witty, intelligent, charming, and, though complex, very endearing. His interactions with Emmy are the best part about the novel; luckily, the whole novel pretty much consists of these interactions, being the whole point of the story. Though you can pretty much predict how the story is going to go, it’s still fun to read. There are a couple times when the plot slows down a little too much, but for the most part, it’s carried on through engaging dialogue — like I said, best part of the novel. The dialogue sounds natural and believable, which is a really important aspect to me. All the characters sounded like legitimate teenagers, and not in the cheesy way some authors end up conveying them. Emmy and Oliver’s banter was the best, though, being super witty, sarcastic, and cute. I fell in love with their love. Like I said, the feely-feels.

What can I say — I’m a sucker for cute YAs. I can’t help it. I know a good one when I read it, though, and Emmy & Oliver is certainly one of the good ones. The plot is interesting, the characters are real, and the romance is cute. What more do you need? The writing was great and I truly applaud Benway on her realistic portrayal of young adults. I related to Emmy and her parental situation a little too deeply. I admit to tearing up a bit during this one, but I tried real hard to hold it in so my friend wouldn’t laugh at me. I’m happy that my last read of 2015 was a success, and I hope many of you will pick up Emmy & Oliver sometime in 2016; start the new year off with a cute YA romance!

Favorite Quote(s): “That’s when I first learned about true frustration, that wrenching ache when the thing that matters most to you barely makes a ripple in other people’s lives.”

“Sometimes love isn’t something you say, it’s something you do.”

“The world continues to spin even when we want it to stop. Especially then.”

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