Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

GENRE: 

Young Adult, Contemporary

PAGES:

394 pages

PART OF A SERIES?:

Standalone Novel

RELEASE DATE: 

March 27th 2018

PUBLISHER:

Simon and Schuster

SOURCE:

Physical Owned Copy

YOU CAN FIND THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE/LIBRARY OR THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

GoodReads

IndieBound

Amazon

Audible

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Author’s Website

GOODREADS SUMMARY: 

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

MY REVIEW

I’ve been wanting to read this book for over a year now. I went to a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books last year in April and Mary was one of the guests and nearly every word that came out of her mouth just made me laugh so much. I love it when that happens and I’m almost always read a person’s book because they made me laugh and it almost always is a fantastic read. So I knew I had to read her debut novel – it just took me a long time to get to it.

There are three reasons I really loved it. I mean, there’s a ton of reasons I loved it but I’m going to highlight three of them.

One, I loved the fact that it took place in the first year of college for Penny. It gave me similar vibes to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and we all know how much I love that book. I think that YA does really fantastic when an author takes a chance and has their book take place in that precarious first year of college. I think a lot of the same worries and feelings and situations that we associate with teenagers and high school STAY with you after graduation – they don’t just magically go away and so I super loved that Penny was in college. I liked that I got to watch her navigate the world of college as this super awkward, super smart girl. I adored how awkward she is and I love getting this college experience in books. I didn’t go away for college so I LIVE for dorm room stuff and all of that.

Two, I loved that Penny and Sam’s friendship and blossoming relationship takes place over text. I loved every single thing about that. I think that they really made it clear that Penny is awkward and she doesn’t always know how to be herself in front of people or when she is, people just sort of back away. I loved that texting with Sam gave her the opportunity to be herself and that Sam just ate it up, he loved it about her. People go on and on and on about face to face interaction and I’m not really saying they’re wrong but I have the best conversations with people over text, over social media. Its where my strength lies and I love that Mary built the relationship between the two characters this way.

Three, I love love loved the complicated relationship between Penny and her mother. I relate to that a lot and I think that YA tends to either make moms that are totally absolutely perfect or moms that are totally absolutely useless and there isn’t often relationships that are hard and complicated. I like that Penny obviously cared, obviously loved her mom but that her mom was frustrating and hard to deal with and sometimes Penny couldn’t figure out the balance between the two and it often just blew up into anger. I felt that a lot.

All in all, I think Mary writes a great contemporary novel. There are a lot of familiar emotions and a lot of humor and I really enjoyed the book. I think I read the entire thing in one sitting. I am counting down the days until her next release!

RATING:

4 out of 5 Stars

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