Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review: Emmy & Oliver

by Robin Benway
Release date: June 23rd 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:
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 were childhood bestfriends who got separated when Oliver was kidnapped by his father at seven years old. Ten years after, Oliver is finally found but his father is still on the loose. He started living with his mother again who, during Oliver’s absence married another man and had a twin. When Oliver came back, the whole town was abuzz again especially Emmy, who was the closest to Oliver, as well as Caro and Drew. The four were friends from childhood but after Oliver was kidnapped, it seemed like they didn’t know how to act around him anymore so he’s usually left alone at school. Except Emmy. She wants to continue where their friendship left off.

It was a big deal in town when Oliver vanished that most of the parents became overprotective of their kids. Emmy’s parents for example, became extreme worrywarts over her. It’s normal for parents to be protective of their children especially if they’re only seven, but Emmy’s parent’s protectiveness of her continued on even when she was 17. They don’t want her to pursue her surfing for fear that she might die from drowning and they want her to go to community college instead of enrolling to a university far from home.

Emmy’s far from being a bad kid. In fact, she has a really close relationship with her parents, one that I find interesting what with how she speaks to her parents because they all understand sarcasm. She is also obedient to a certain extent. They talk about a lot of things except about what Emmy really wants to do with her life because she knows that her parents won’t approve of it, so she ends up lying to them instead.

Oliver, on the other hand, has a lot of adjustments to do. People are awkward around him and even his mother doesn’t seem know what to do about him. Only Emmy has the nerve to stop giving him a “space” and soon, Caro and Drew joined in as well. Oliver’s mother also became very protective of him and she’s set to jailing his father once found, not taking into consideration what Oliver feels about it. But what angered me here is how Oliver just goes along with whatever his mother wants him to do. She buys him clothes, he wears. She tells him to sit for an interview about his kidnapping, he does. She wants to do a TV show to help locate his father faster, and he goes along with it. But it also made me sad because it’s like he has given up and just lets his mother do what she wants because somehow, he also feels bad for his mother. Oliver was constantly making amends for the things that were never his fault to begin with.

Emmy also has an interesting relationship with Caro and Drew. Most dialogues here drip with wit and sarcasm which makes the reading easy and absorbing. Add to that is that Caro and Drew really are just likeable people. Drew is gay and I love him. I ship him and his boyfriend as much as I ship Emmy and Oliver.

Emmy & Oliver is one novel I can relate to. My mother is somewhat overprotective too. I can’t count how many times I agreed with Emmy and Oliver about their parents no matter if what they’re doing is wrong. Even that thing about only telling your parents a decision you’ve made a day before actually doing it? Been there, done that and I’m about to do it again next week. I love my parents though, lol.

While Oliver’s disappearance is no doubt the key point in the story, the story actually focuses on familial relationships with friendship and romance only second to it. There’s no love triangle and the only school drama present is also tied to the familial conflict. I feel as if there’s no wasted element here because everything that happened is a necessary plot point. And in spite all the drama, the sarcasm adds lightness to the story. The romance, although not the focal point, is naturally swoon-worthy. The character development is superb! The only flaw to the plot that I can think of is what Oliver’s father did at the end because it’s just way too perfect and convenient for me, but overall, Emmy & Oliver is a relatable read with a captivating plot and characters that will grow on you.

Rating: 4.5 stars!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read this one for a long time because I thought it would be this big romance story. I was surprised when it turned out not to be! I like that there's some romance, but it mostly focuses on friendship and familial relationship.

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