You know what this book is?! Absolutely EXCELLENT.
I’m so excited to be on the blog tour! I’m literally bursting out of my small socks with happiness, because this book was just that good and has already sneaked onto my list of 2019-favourites and also taken over my whole heart.
You can see the full tour schedule here and also there will be a giveaway at the end of this post! (I desperately need everyone to read this book omg.)
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for having me on the blog tour!
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.
Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.
I am absolutely wholly and messily in love with this book.
It totally caught my heart and I turned into an invertible bucket of soapy emotions. I just??? loved everything about it. The anxiety rep was SO GOOD. Not to mention I am half in love with Penny and Sam and by the end I just wanted to tuck this book to my chest and hold it forever.
I knew I’d like it…but noooo. I LOVED it.
➸ It’s a story of college and the awkwardness of growing up and anxiety.
I really like books about upper-teens, early-20s, because there’s so much to unpack with those first feels of being out of home and discovering who you are as a person when no one else knows you. Both Sam and Penny have messy relationships with their parents and both are stuck. Penny feels like a veritable blob that no one cares about or finds interesting and she’s scared to be open or get close to people (with good reason but…spoilers shh). Sam is crushingly in love with his ex who does NOT love him back and he’s got about $17 bucks to his name and can’t even pay for college. He literally lives in the coffee shop where he works and he’s spiralling into an anxious depressed heap.
➸ I found them both SO relatable.
They both narrate and maybe I liked Sam’s chapters a little more. He is a soft boy™ and he bakes (HE BAKES!!!) and if his hair is fluffy, he’s feeling the softest (I was WAITING for his hair to get fluffy for Penny afjdkslad). Penny wants to be, to actually exist, after a life of non-existing. She’s Korean-American and tired of casual racism and being the tagalong friend. They meet because of a mutual friend, but then Sam basically has a panic attack AND FAINTS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION and Penny scrapes him off the ground and they become “emergency contacts”. Aka they text. All the time.
IT IS SO ADORABLE. I DIE. Their relationship was SO well built up that I rooted for them as friends, and then…just kiss, you little onions. Just kiss.
➸ I loved all the diversity in the book too!
From the #ownvoices Korean-American representation (there is an EXCELLENT dialogue in Penny’s writing class about writing diversity that was just…so important) to the anxiety rep (they both struggle with it for different reasons and it was wholly relatable to me). It also was about being poor and had body-acceptance messages. AND IT HAD A+ BAKED GOODS REP. What we all deserve.
➸ Basically what I want from a book? MAKE ME FEEL.
And I felt all the things for these two afjdksald. The book is basically: “NOBODY has their shit together, it’s ok to lean on your friends.” And I love that??? There is no “their love cures them!” but instead it’s about how you do. not. have. to. be. alone when you’re going through stuff. It is full of little everyday emergencies and twisty complex feelings and the slowest gentlest romance that was just so frikkin’ sweet, my heart melted. It made me care about Sam and Penny. 10/10 would do anything for them.