By: Melanie | July 18, 2015 | (64) Comments

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin BenwayEmmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Drama
Pages: 352
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

I’d firstly like to point out that Emmy & Oliver is a really misleading title. While the title screams a romance-dominated story, I would say it’s anything but that. Sure, there is a hella adorable romance… but at it’s core, Benway’s story is one about friendship, growing up, making your own path in life, and more importantly, family. 

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

At it’s surface, this book is about Oliver who is finally found 10 years later after being kidnapped by his father at the age of seven. And now he’s trust back into his hometown and surrounded by these people that he has no recollection of, but everyone seems to remember him. And in particular, Emmy. Emmy and Oliver used to be the bestest of friends when they were younger – they share a birthday and are next-door neighbours, and while Emmy wants to go back to how they used to be, she isn’t sure that’s possible since they’re both not the same people they were 10 years ago.

I fell in love with Emmy almost instantly. She’s grown up for the past 10 years with a leash held ever so tightly by her parents since Oliver disappeared. And all she wants to do is follow her own dreams and make up her own mind. Surf, go to the college of her choice… She’s undeniably independent and also a wonderful friend. I loved how thoughtful she was, but also sarcastic and embarrassingly awkward at the same time. After 10 years of not seeing her childhood best friend, and the first thing that she does? Pokes her tongue out and crosses her eyes. Honestly… what’s not to love?

The world continues to spin even when we want it to stop, I thought. Especially then.

I really appreciated how this book highlights the importance of friendship. Despite Oliver disappearing, Emmy has always had Caro (Caroline) and Drew. They’re both wonderfully complex characters that are each explored with so much detail, I feel like I know them enough to be my best friends. I seriously ADORED their dynamic, and it’s one I envy. No joke.

I think this book deserves an award for just how brilliant family is portrayed here. And not just Emmy and Oliver’s families. But also Drew’s and Caroline’s. Family is never going to be perfect, and that’s why it is so special. I think it’s about dealing with each other’s shit, fighting and arguing but still caring for each other at the same time. I think it’s about loving each other for the good and the bad and the worst parts. So thank you, Robin Benway, for such an honest reflection of what it can really be like.

“Mom,” I groaned, covering my eyes with my hand. “People don’t really date anymore, they just… I don’t know, hang out together.”

“Is that the same as ‘hooking up’?” my dad asked.

“Oh my God!” Now I covered my ears with both hands. “Am I grounded? Can you just ground me? Hearing you two talk about ‘hooking up’ is cruel and unusual punishment.”

Of course, I cannot finish this review without dedicating part of it to just fangirl over the cuteness that is Emmy and Oliver. Their romance takes the backseat in this one and reading it was like cotton candy. There’s no instalove or stupid drama, thank God! Also, those flashbacks that were inserted every now and again? MY FEEEELS. I just felt like jumping into my kindle, to be honest.

I did cry reading this book. Surprisingly, most of the time it was just because how sweet and heartfelt this book was. But also sometimes because it was truly heartbreaking.

Emmy & Oliver is a highly important novel that zooms in on all the important things about growing-up, family, friendships and everything in between. It’s incredibly bittersweet and honest, which is effortless in it’s storytelling. And it’s why I know it’s a story I’ll never forget. *hugs book* Cannot recommend this one highly enough, especially if you want to feel all the emotions.

~Thanks HarperTeen for sending me this copy for review!~

4.5 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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64 Responses to Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

  1. Nara says:

    Emmy was a brilliant character! And I completely agree, at its core, this book was about all the friendships and family rather than being mainly about the romance (which was fantastically done). The friends were so awesome- seriously some of the best I’ve seen in YA.
    Nara recently posted…Coffee Book TagMy Profile

  2. Nara says:

    Emmy was a brilliant character! And I completely agree, at its core, this book was about all the friendships and family rather than being mainly about the romance (which was fantastically done). The best friends were so awesome- seriously some of the best I’ve seen in YA.

  3. Yes, thank God for no drama!! That was such a relief and refreshing change of pace. I loved this book so much, especially the characters and all the different relationships.
    Great review, Mel!
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Summer of Series: Kristen Simmons Interview + Giveaway!My Profile

  4. I adored this book, I really loved the refreshing concept to this contemporary as well as the style with the flashbacks into their childhood lives. Friendship romances are the best in my book. I’ve got an interview on with Oliver… I felt that it lacked his side of story a little. Great review. 🙂
    Emma @ Never Judge a Book by its Cover recently posted…BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY- EMMY & OLIVER: Q&A with OliverMy Profile

  5. Enjoyed this one a lot! 😀 Glad you did too!

  6. The fact that there was no drama between Emmy and Oliver was one of my favourite aspects. I’m still thinking about this book. “Reading it was like cotton candy” is the perfect description! I also experienced some happy tears :’). It was so lovely!
    Sarah @ The Reading Petal recently posted…Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone [Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1] – Laini TaylorMy Profile

  7. Naban says:

    I guess the title is a bit misleading. I kept brushing this off thinking it was going to be another romance novel but it’s lovely to know romance actually takes the backseat here. And Emmy sounds absolutely lovable. ^_^
    Naban recently posted…Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie RyanMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, I really wish this book had a better title, but I can’t imagine what they could call it, y’know? Emmy and Oliver has stuck, so eh, not complaining tooooo much.

  8. Vane says:

    Awww, this book looks cute and realistic and me wants. Great review, Mel. Also, I hate that the cover and the title might be misleading – it can repel some non-romance fans!
    Vane recently posted…Review: The Queen of the TearlingMy Profile

  9. YAY!!! I’m so happy that you liked this book <3 It's definitely a favorite for me so far this year. I just can't get over how REAL the relationships were and how at ease all the characters were around each other. I want a reread already and it's only been two months since I read it!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…The Shelfie TagMy Profile

  10. Jasprit says:

    I have heard such amazing things about this book, so I’m glad that I was able to grab a copy when I did, now all I have to do is squeeze the time in somewhere to finally read it. I hope I end up enjoying this as much as you did Melanie! Lovely review! 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Author Event Recap with Sarah AldersonMy Profile

  11. I REALLY REALLY WANT TO READ THIS 🙂 I absolutely adore friendships and family in YA, and this sounds like it has both of those in abundance. Plus, everyone is raving about it.
    Emily @ Loony Literate recently posted…It’s a Loony Life (18) – Back to School For My Last Term!My Profile

  12. This sounds like a wonderful story! Already added it to my to-read shelf. I haven’t read that many contemporary romance books, so this will be a big change but hopefully a good one.

  13. Valerie says:

    YES YES I AM SO GLAD YOU LOVED THIS MEL. I AM SO HAPPY. This was another amazing 2015 read for me, and mostly because I loved how it focused on the different perspectives one can have on a situation, and just EMMY AND OLIVER IN GENERAL. They were perfect. Also, this was the one book where the MC never really whined or lashed out to her parents.

    AWESOME REVIEW MEL. I’m so glad you loved it <3 <3
    Valerie recently posted…ARC Review: MagoniaMy Profile

  14. OMGGG I NEED IT. Seriously I was thinking of skipping this one because ugh, I never do well with totally romantically dominated stories. BUT IT’S ABOUT FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP? OMG SIGN ME UP. I CANNOT EVEN RIGHT NOW. I NEED IT SO MUCH.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Weekly Fury #53 // I Am A Knight, I Read an INCREDIBLE Book, and Edits Ate My BrainMy Profile

  15. Yes, yes, yes to all of this! I agree- the title made me almost want to not read it, and then throw in the heart on the cover and well.. I was sure we were headed for sappy romance town. But no! I mean, the family stuff was incredible, and so very realistic. And the friends. I want those friends in my life! This book was so, so lovely! Glad you enjoyed it too 🙂
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  16. I’ve heard so many great things about this book! I seriously can’t wait to read this book, great review! 😀
    Kristin @ Simply Bookish Things recently posted…Review – The Scorpio Races by Maggie SteifvaterMy Profile

  17. Jules says:

    This book sounds awfully cute and awesome! From the quote with the parents, I’m already sold! Gosh, it has been a long time since I read something that really stuck with me. I hope I get to read this soon! It sounds like something that would make me cry as well haha.
    Jules recently posted…HI GUYS. I’M ALIVE!My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      It is just the best, Jules. Haha right? I couldn’t stop cracking up over Emmy’s convos with her parents. They’re just so heart warming and realistic.

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  19. Aww such a cute book with a cute cover! I love your review♥ Definitely on my to-buy right now. Thanks for sharing!

    Jumana @ Books by Jay

  20. Wattle says:

    This sounds good! I’ve not heard of it before, but it’s definitely going on my TBR straight away 🙂
    Wattle recently posted…Showcase Sunday #29My Profile

  21. Hilary says:

    SERIOUS REGRET OVER NOT BUYING THIS BUT BECAUSE I WAS BEING A CHEAP-ASS, I DECIDED NOT TO BECAUSE I DIDN’T BRING MY GIFT CARD.
    Hilary recently posted…Top Ten Books That Have Wandered Foolishly Into My Greedy HandsMy Profile

  22. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I had a hard time with it, unfortunately.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 152My Profile

  23. Lyn Kaye says:

    If nothing else, we need this content in today’s books. A lot of children are kidnapped by their parents every year, but it isn’t as published and covered as stranger kidnappings. I honestly believe one of the things about YA is to include the different stories from the perspective of a young person. Not only does this give the victims something to relate to, but it also opens the door for discussion and empathy from those on the outside.

    Lovely review! Everyone is so happy with this book, I might have to pick it up as well. And, like you said, the title is so misleading. I brushed it off for the longest time because the title made the book sound so gushy and sappy.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The FoldMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, we certainly do need to see more of these books! I found Oliver’s side of the story very insightful, and it makes it so important for others to read.

      Thanks, Lyn <33

  24. Olivia Roach says:

    I have actually got a copy of this book and it really is just a matter of me getting around to reading it, which I hope to do at some point. I can’t wait to get to know the wonderful characters and hope I can enjoy it as much as you did!
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Review)My Profile

  25. I have heard nothing but good things about this one. I can’t wait to read it!
    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted…Beach Reads: Recommendations NeededMy Profile

  26. Awwww Mel Emmy sounds so cute! For it to make you cry and I see how emotionally invested you were. Love the sound of this one! Great review hun <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Read Play Blog #13 – Geek ConventionsMy Profile

  27. Johanna Richards says:

    Wow, gorgeous review, Mel! And I am totally loving the sound of all these characters here. I must agree that the title was misleading but i planned on reading it anyway. Love the importance of family and friendship in this one.

  28. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I loved this one a lot. I think I gave it 4.5 stars too 🙂 It’s a gorgeous story! And the friendship is amazing.
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews recently posted…Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon | Our ProgressMy Profile

  29. Super excited about this one- it’s been getting lots of great reviews.
    I’m happy that it isn’t just about romance, but also puts a focus on friends, family, and growing up.
    Looking forward to reading it, and great review!
    Daniel @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 242: Waiting by Ha JinMy Profile

  30. Danica Page says:

    I also adored this one. It was just so cute. Great review.
    Danica Page recently posted…Review: Model Misfit by Holly SmaleMy Profile

  31. I really love the friendship in this book. The story was told well, even if there’s the issue of kidnapping. I like how it somehow feels ordinary, but it’s really not.
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 243 : Emmy & Oliver by Robin BenwayMy Profile

  32. Ksenia says:

    It looks like there are a lot of misleading covers and titles lately, it’s so annoying. I see so much love for this book around and I’m looking forward to read it. Beautiful review, Melanie!
    Ksenia recently posted…Mini-reviews: On Dublin Street and Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha YoungMy Profile

  33. SO many people have written super positive reviews about how adorable and awesome this book is, and it wasn’t even on my radar, to be honest! But now I am thinking that I might just have to read it because it sounds so lovely and heartfelt <3

    I love that even though there is a super cute romance, it's more about the other relationships that people have in their life. I love romance as much as anything, but it's always super good to see family and friends play a role in a book!

    Lovely review, Melanie <3
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