ARC Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & OliverTitle: Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Source: E-Galley from Edelweiss

I’ve been on this kick lately where I’m reading contemporary romances. I don’t know why. I don’t usually like that kind of book, especially since I’m kind of still recovering from a break up. However, this was just too stinking cute. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

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?

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 had 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.

1. The opening of this book surprised me.

I didn’t read the full synopsis when I requested this from Edelweiss. The cover really caught me because come on, it’s so cute! This opens with a kidnapping. Emmy and Oliver are sitting in class (2nd grade class, to be exact) when their friend Caro passes Oliver a note, asking if he likes Emmy. He circles yes. After school, Oliver gets in a car with his dad – seemingly innocent since it’s his dad picking him up from school – then Oliver vanishes. For 10 years. His absence cripples his community, and not just his friends and family. Parents become more overprotective and Oliver’s mother, Maureen, goes on a ten year search for her son, never losing hope. Then, one day in their senior year, Oliver is found. His fingerprints are picked up in a database in New York. Oliver comes home!

2. The friendship between Emmy, Oliver, Drew, and Caro is one of the best I’ve ever seen in a book.

This is my first experience with Robin Benway, but now you can DEFINITELY call me a fan! She writes these friends so realistically. The way they talk to each other (minus Oliver there for awhile, since he is missing for 10 years) and the way they’re always there for each other was one of my favorite parts of this book. Drew is gay while Caro is one of six kids. They all have their own issues, but they’re always there for each other at the drop of a hat – or a text message, if that’s more your thing. I love a good book friendship, and this one was GREAT. It’s odd to see two guys and two girls be so close to each other, but there they are. There’s no weirdness, just friend love, which is the best love.

3. Emmy lies to her parents A LOT.

Emmy lives next door to Oliver. Their family is extremely close with Oliver’s – Emmy and Oliver even share a birthday: July 7th. When Oliver disappears, Emmy’s family is a huge support system for Maureen. Maureen ends up getting remarried and has twin girls with her new husband, but nothing could ever replace her missing son. Once Oliver disappears, Emmy’s parents essentially put her on lockdown. They’re petrified of losing her, so she misses out on a lot of that rebellious teenager-y thing. She has a really early curfew (during Daylight Savings, she has to be home before it’s even dark yet) and she’s not really allowed to DO anything. However, Emmy has a secret. She loves surfing. Drew’s brother taught her when she was 14 and it is her escape. She hides her surfboard and wetsuit (which doesn’t fit right – she bought it on Cragislist) hidden in her van. She steals a few hours here and there, and that is where she is able to clear her head. Understandably, she hides this from her parents, because can you imagine how hard they would freak out, being so overprotective? Even as she gets older, her parents are still paranoid that what happened to Oliver would happen to her. Now, I’m not a parent, but that seems a little ridiculous to me! But her relationship is a huge part of this book, so I won’t ruin that for you!

4. The humor in this book is so great!

One of my favorite lines in this book is when Emmy takes Oliver surfing after his return home. Oliver expresses his fear that there would be sharks in the water. Emmy asks if he’s seen Point Break, which he affirms that he has. So, being the quick-witted, awesome girl she is, Emmy tells him: “Patrick Swayze would punch that shark in the nose!” (23% in the ARC). This book is peppered with witty humor, which happens to be my favorite type of humor! Even during some of the heavy parts, Emmy and her friends try to lighten the situation with a punny joke or something equally amusing. Even when I was crying (is it happy or sad crying? I’ll never tell) I was giggling through my tears. It was such a breath of fresh air.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! I was swooning, laughing, and crying while reading this book. I finished it in a day because I could NOT put it down. I stayed up entirely too late to read because I wanted to get lost in this tale of friendship, love, commitment, and change. The family and friend dynamics in this book are spectacular and funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. Take it from someone who doesn’t normally like romance or icky stuff: this was absolutely great. Especially if you’re coming off of reading something emotionally draining or heavy. This book was perfect. Click the link below to pre-order!

Click to preorder!

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

  1. missprint says:

    I haven’t read any Benway books yet but I think this might be the one–especially seeing that you like it and we always have such similar opinions!

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