Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Emmy and Oliver - Robin Benway

Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Source: Hardcover from the publisher
Published by: HarperTeen

Emmy and Oliver - Robin Benway | Goodreads

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.

Emmy and Oliver is, without a doubt, a wonderful summer beach read. It's true that the novel tackles tough issues - namely Oliver's kidnapping and how that, and his return, affects him and the community at large - but Emmy and Oliver tackles these issues with a light heart. The humor and banter between Emmy and her friends, and Emmy and her parents, help balance out the novel's serious topic.

Probably my favorite part of this novel was the character cast and how seamlessly Robin Benway had run through the dialogue between the characters, namely Emmy with her parents and friends. Lately I've been cracking up with my coworkers about dad humor - Benway nails this to a pitch. Same with the interactions between Emmy and her friends; all the inside jokes, their banter helped lend authenticity to the characters, their situation, the novel at large (and they often also brought a smile to my face!). Still it's not all fun and games - I also appreciated Benway's effort to give her main side characters conflicts of their own - Emmy's parents and their overprotective attitude after Oliver's kidnapping; Drew and his parents's intolerance; Caro trying to find herself in her overstuffed house.

The same goes for the romance. Emmy and Oliver first become friends - so that Oliver can have someone to confide in - before anything romantic can happen. But when it does, the banter and trust between the two of them shows their very clear chemistry. So, so cute together, and I was rooting for them from the start.

Emmy and Oliver is also a fairly quick read. I read about 40-70 pages each train ride to and from work, which meant finishing the novel in a matter of a few days. The writing is smooth & the novel the fast-paced. If you want easy to ready writing, engaging characters with humorous and heartfelt banter, and a sweet romance, this should be your next summer read.

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