Friday, July 17, 2015

Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver 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.

My Review:

This is a book that has immediately become one of my all-time favorites, since it was just so amazing and absolute perfection.  I fell in love with these characters and with the story, and I am so glad I own the hardcover so that I can revisit this book sometimes, since I know that I will want to.  This book had a beautiful romance ship, friendships, and familial relationships, and all of these received pagetime and were explored with the correct amount of complexity needed.

I ship Emmy and Oliver as a couple and also as friends, so much.  First of all, the fact that he liked her when they were little kids is basically one of the most adorable things ever.  But also, I love the teenager Oliver as well.  Sure, he's been through a lot with being kidnapped by his father and now ending up back home, but he doesn't let things get him down too much, and he has a lot of fun with Emmy, even if he doesn't really remember her as a kid that much.  There was certainly no instalove in this relationship, and it wasn't necessarily one that was easy, but it was one that was natural and worked well.  Also, the first kiss scene was adorable, so I loved it so much.  One of the best things about their relationship was how they truly supported each other, and were there for each other.  

I also loved the other friendships that Emmy has in this book, aside from the one with Oliver.  At the beginning of this book, we find out about her two best friends, Caro and Drew.  They were also friends with Oliver when they were kids.  I loved the friendships between Emmy and both of these characters, and I loved how they each had their own part in the story, and a small character arc there as well.  Something that I liked about these friendships were that things weren't always perfect and without problems, but they were strong enough to withstand challenges.  They each have their own storylines.  Caro is the youngest of six children, and her parents don't really care much about what she does.  Also, she has to live in a room with her messy older sister Heather, and she can't wait to move out of living with her.  Drew is gay, and his family is theoretically okay with this, but not so much in practice.  They are afraid to even let other people in their extended family know that they have a gay son.  

This book also has a large focus on family in it as well.  After Oliver was kidnapped by his dad, Emmy's parents became super overprotective of her, causing her to hide parts of her life from him instead of telling them.  For example, she know that they would never agree to her surfing so she just doesn't tell them about it.  Emmy tends to get annoyed with them often, but deep down, she really doe love them, and they love her too, which is why they are so protective.  Oliver's family is also important in the story.  He spent ten years with his dad, and most of the time, until near the end, he didn't know that his dad was the bad guy since his dad had painted himself in a good light, and Oliver's mom in a bad light.  Oliver struggles to navigate a relationship with his mom, as he doesn't really know how to talk to her anymore.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


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