Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Drama
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!~
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