Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 with 1 comment
Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Emmy & Oliver was kind of a difficult read, especially being a parent. It takes an unbelievably difficult situation -- the abduction of a child by one of their parents -- and explores not just how the child was affected, but how his friends, family, and community were changed by his disappearance. The story is told from Emmy's perspective, but she's very close to Oliver -- always was -- and it's through her interactions with him that we really get to see how Oliver is handling the situation.

But as it's told from Emmy's point-of-view, we also see how Oliver's kidnapping has caused real-life struggles for Emmy, especially as far as security and personal space and her parents are concerned. Seeing the child of a close friend go missing like that, it was hard for Emmy's parents, and it resulted in them becoming some of the strictest parents I've ever encountered in YA. I understand, I do, but at the same time, life is made of risks, and if you never take a chance, you're not really living. Emmy had to hide a lot of who she was and what she enjoyed doing from her parents because they wouldn't approve...wouldn't feel safe with her choices, even if one of them resulted in her getting accepted to a great college. Most parents would be thrilled at that, but not Emmy's overprotective mother and father.

I wasn't sure if I should expect a romance out of this novel or not, all things considered, but I had hoped that Emmy and Oliver would find their way to each other once again, even if it was only as best friends. After everything they'd been through, they found solace in one another as they got to know each other again, and even if he didn't really remember her from childhood, it was clear that Oliver was drawn to Emmy and vice versa. Their love isn't foremost in this novel, but it does help them both to gradually recover from the toll Oliver's absence has taken on them both.

As I said, though, Emmy and Oliver weren't the only ones affected by his abduction. Throughout the novel, you get to see how not only Emmy's parents were changed, but how Oliver's mother had moved on -- but not really -- and how Oliver and Emmy's other friends adjusted. While everything happening with Emmy and Oliver was more on the serious side, with a little flirtation thrown in for good measure, Caro and Drew provided much-needed comic relief. They were there for Emmy when Oliver was gone, and I think because of that, the threesome were tighter than they might have otherwise been. They tried to make room for Oliver again, but it was a big adjustment for all of them.

And essentially that's what the whole book is about. Not what happened while Oliver was gone but adjusting now that he's back. Emmy & Oliver was so complicated and messy and beautiful and sad. My heart hurt while reading this and yet I found myself smiling quite a bit while reading it, too. I felt like a ping pong ball, where one paddle was happy and one was sad and I never knew how long I had on either side of the net. But I enjoyed my time with this book immensely.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

I'm the author of "Audrey, Wait!", "The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June", and the AKA series. My latest book "Emmy & Oliver" will be released on June 23, 2015. I live in Los Angeles with my extremely stubborn shih tzu, Hudson. I like cooking, puppies, and coffee, but not in that order. We should be friends.

Find Robin:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram

1 comment:

  1. Happy crying is good. I'm really pumped to read this novel, so I'm glad you liked it.


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