Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publication: January 1st, 2019
Publisher: Simon Schuster Australia
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You.
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵
From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer. It’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.
The story took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.
The chapters alternate from following newbie college student Penny and baker/barista Sam, as they trudge and fumble through life.
At first, I struggled to connect with the characters and ultimately, I found I connected more with Sam. There were times when Penny wasn’t all that likeable, the way she behaved towards her mother and female friends etc.
The heart-warming: two younglings feeling completely alone and overwhelmed with life manage to find each other and help each other get through their respective issues. A close, caring and comforting friendship develops between the two main characters. THEN THEY FALL FOR EACH OTHER. I’m a sucker for a friends to lovers story.
My favourite part of the story was the closeness between the characters that developed out of their text messages. It felt ‘very now’ what with how much of our lives are lived through our phones these days.
The heavy: casual racism, low socioeconomic America, rape (past), alcohol abuse and emotionally toxic relationships.
Conclusion: Emergency Contact is a YA contemporary featuring a strangers-to-friends-to-couple plot. It’s a slow starter, but once the main characters friendship starts to develop, you’ll be hooked. Some heavy issues are touched on during the story, but by the end your heart will be warm and full.
The #AusYABloggers in collaboration with Simon & Schuster Australia are running a blog tour for Emergency Contact from January 15th until January 19th, there will be giveaways, reviews and more. To follow along the tour click HERE.
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