Rating: ***** Suggested Age: 13
Summary: “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?” (Summary found on Goodreads).
I find it completely awful that it has taken me approximately a month to begin writing this review, but here I am, actually typing it up now. Be proud.
Emmy & Oliver is one of those books that leave you with your heart on the ground and you struggling to pick it up. I had so many emotions and thoughts running through my head afterward. I loved this book so much. The writing had me captivated and intrigued. Robin Benway has this ability to understand teenagers so well. For once, a young adult novel didn’t just focus on the problems and romance in high school, but serious issues and the way they affect families. There was a strong familial aspect of this book that I loved because Emmy’s parents were so involved in her life. If I had a penny for every contemporary with absent parents…
While I did love the family parts, I loved everything else as well. The romance was so cute and beautiful. Emmy knew her boundaries with Oliver and she knew that he needed “space”, but she also was in love with him and likely has been since she was six. This book gave me all the feels and I devoured it. What I loved was that Oliver didn’t just “heal” when he got back and it was so realistic. I understood the characters and even though I have never suffered the way any of them had, I felt their problems to my inner core. The characters were molded so well and they reacted exactly the way they would be expected. The world’s problems aren’t just solved when Oliver comes back, and if anything they become worse. This is important. I can’t handle books that portray events unrealistically because, I’m sorry, life isn’t perfect. Someone isn’t just going to return home after being kidnapped and be perfectly fine. Thank you, Benway for accurately writing something. This isn’t about a boy who comes back, falls in love with his best friend, and lives happily ever after, the end. Instead, it’s about a town wrecked by the kidnapping of this boy, his friends and family not always understanding how he feels, and the struggles within him afterward. Romance is a part of the plot, sure, but it isn’t all.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s so underrated, but I wish everyone in the world would pick it up. It’s one of my new favorites (and Oliver’s one of my new book boyfriends…he’s so squishy and adorable).
I also had a few favorite quotes:
“Sometimes love isn’t something you say, it’s something you do.” -Oliver, page 74.
“I guess the more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they’re gone, and maybe it’s that middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you’re near enough. So close yet so far.” -Emmy