In honour of Emmy and Oliver being one of my new favourite contemporaries of the entire universe…I’m writing a list! ISN’T THIS EXCITING?! I never write lists. (Har, har, humour me. I write lists every second day, but still.) I have a million reasons you need this book in your life, but I’m going to be concise (you’re welcome) although if you want to just ditch this list and run out and snaggle yourself a copy to eat right now — I’ll also let you. (I am a benevolent ruler.)
1. IT IS INSANELY ADDICTIVE AND I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.
People kept calling me to participate in life but THAT WAS NOT OKAY! I didn’t want to ever put Emmy & Oliver down. I just wanted to read! I even read waaaaaay into the night, like a little reading rebel.
2. IT IS HILARIOUS, AS IN “CACKLING-LIKE-AN-DERANGED-HEN” HILARIOUS.
I couldn’t stop laughing! And I mean, OUT LOUD laughing! I LOVE TO LAUGH! (Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaa!…and if you’re not singing Mary Poppins in your head right now, I’m disappointed in you.) I have no idea how Emmy & Oliver even did it so flawlessly — balancing such dark themes of loss and moving on, with downright HILARIOUS DIALOGUE. I cackled like a deranged chicken so loudly my dog got up AND LEFT MY ROOM. Ahem.
The banter is some of the best on planet earth.
“Sandwiches?” Drew hissed at me. “You’re terrible. Is there a dating elective at this school, because you need to sign up for it immediately.”
“Hey, who doesn’t like sandwiches?” I shot back. “People who hate life, that’s who.”
3. IT’S VERY FOCUSED ON FAMILY.
Obviously it’s about friendship and falling in love too, but there is a huge emphasis on family. Emmy lives next door to Oliver and he was kidnapped by his dad when he was 7. So this kind of knitted Emmy’s family very tight together (and made her parents uber overprotective). Also, all the characters (except Emmy) have siblings, who are mentioned (!!) and there’s sibling interaction between Oliver and his twin sisters and JUST LOTS OF FAMILY STUFF.
4. IT HAS A DARK SIDE (MWHAHAH YAY!) AND MAKES YOU THINK
Oliver was kidnapped by his dad. HIS OWN DAD. And he wasn’t abused or anything, so there’s a huge grey area right there. Does his dad deserve to go to prison? And Oliver was gone for TEN WHOLE YEARS before they “found him”. STUFF IS FRICTIONOUS. Please do not doubt my use of the word frictionous. It is a word. It is. Then there’s lots of sneaking around on Emmy’s part…because her parents are too over protective. But she sneaks out to go surfing. SURFING. Devious, right? And then there’s all the psychological damage of kidnapping, coming home to a family you don’t remember, etc, and etc. It’s a story with questions and it makes you think.
5. ALSO, EMMY’S PARENTS ARE FABULOUS.
Yes, they’re too overprotective. BUT! They were still funny and loving and the banter was beautiful to behold.
“I’m fiiiine,” I say again, suddenly aware that I was whining. “I’m fine,” I repeated… “I just have a lot of schoolwork and Caro and I…”
Both my parents froze with their forks to their mouths. “Caro and you what?” my dad said. “Don’t leave us hanging. Caro and I are joining the circus? Caro and I decided to become neurosurgeons? Caro and I have decided to reimburse our parents for the eighteen years’ worth of room and board that they’ve so lovingly provided?”
#writinggoals right here.
6. AND, OF COURSE, EMMY AND OLIVER WERE EXTREMELY ADORABLE TOO.
Now, I’m not usually a contemporary fan…But these two?! Awk! I ship them. Oliver was a sweetie, and Emmy was awkward and THEY JUST MESHED. IT WAS SO CUTE. And they surfed together!! (Lots of surfing in this book!) And they had hilarious banter and comforted each other in existential crises.
So what can I say?! I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was easy to read, and so entertaining and there were NO dull moments. My only quibble was how it ended. It didn’t feel right for the rest of the tone of the book. But who even cares?! I’m just going to sit here with all my feels and insist everyone eats this book. ASAP. Okay?!
THANK YOU TO SIMON & SCHUSTER FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway was published July, 2015.
Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about.
But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?