Thursday, July 2, 2015

Emmy & Oliver - Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver book cover
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

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?

Emmy & Oliver. I tried many times to come up with a first sentence that packs more of a punch, but in reality, the title says it all. Robin Benway’s latest is about two people: an independent, smart gal named Emmy, who has a sarcastic streak and loves to surf & a newly-found Oliver, a sweet boy trying to reconcile the truth he’s known for years with the truth he’s just learned about his own life. Their story features unusual circumstances, true. But the way Benway writes these situations just rings with authenticity, easily drawing readers in until the very last page. 

Emmy just wants to be free to pursue what she loves, instead of kept in a protective bubble close to her parents. Oliver just wants to understand and reconcile his history with his present, instead of being told what to feel. While it is their shared childhood friendship that draws them together initially, it is the way they recognize the struggle the other is going through (with family, with friends, with themselves) that keeps them within each other’s orbit. In a world where it feels like nobody else understands, they know they have each other. It lends them both comfort and strength, particularly when they both find themselves forced to face the circumstances that have left them both so conflicted. Also, the slow evolution from friendship to something more? It’s perfect.

Benway has managed to impress yet again with Emmy & Oliver. Blending humorous quips and more emotionally heavy situations, this novel comes to life with every chapter and ends on a satisfying note. I fell in love with Emmy, with Oliver, with their story – and I think many readers will too.

What is your earliest memory with a friend?

One of my clearest memories was from when I was four-going-on-five. I was already attending kindergarten then, and that day was special. Why? Because we were having a teddy bear picnic! Armed with my favorite teddy bear Casey (who is white with a pink bow around her neck, and yes, she still lives in my room in my parents' house), I marched through a trail that led to clearing in the woods near our school with my two closest friends at the time Amanda and Nicole. I remember walking the path, chattering away about something or the other, and carrying Casey piggyback style. 


  1. When I first heard about this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't read it yet but everyone loves it so I'm excited to see how Benway tells this story. Emmy and Oliver both sound absolutely wonderful and my heart goes out to both of them. Great review!

  2. I'm so glad you liked Emmy & Oliver. I really loved this one. Although I still haven't read Audrey, Wait!, so far this is my favorite Benway.

  3. Wow, great review! I was curious about this book, but now I definitely want to read it. It sounds like the perfect slow burn for a summer read. Earliest childhood memory? Meeting my friend Morgan while my parents and I were out for a walk, and her family was just moving in.


    Sarcasm & Lemons

  4. Lol, my memory is so terrible, but I do have recollections every now and then about friends from when I was little. We traveled a bit while I was growing up though so I missed out on the whole life-long friend thing.

  5. Nicole @ The Quiet ConcertJuly 6, 2015 at 12:50 PM

    I love this one too Alexa! And yes that title says it all! Robin Benway creates the best characters, doesn't she? And I love how well Oliver's feelings were portrayed - it was complicated but SO honest <3

  6. One of my earliest memories with a friend was in pre-school. My friend and I were so quiet and non-aggressive that we never got to play with the most popular toys because we never wanted to elbow the other kids out of the way. I remember that one day, close to the end of the school year, for some reason all the other kids had left the toy that we had waited ALL YEAR to have a chance to play with. So we did! It was fun, but afterwards I thought it wasn't as fun as it had looked from a distance.

  7. I'm listening to Emmy & Oliver right now on audio and I'm really enjoying it! I love those two :) My first childhood memory with a friend? hmmm in kindergarten we had just moved to the US and a girl wanted to play hopscotch with me and I was like she seems nice, I like her! :) haha

  8. Danielle @ Love at First PageJuly 7, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    This book was so amazing! I loved how realistic it was and not overly dramatic. The characters just felt so real. Robin is a master with relationships and dialogue!
    Lovely review, lady!

  9. I definitely agree! I love that she blends humor, heartbreak and hope all into one great story. And I really loved Emmy and Oliver too :D

  10. I'm so glad you feel that way! And I love your childhood memory. It's fun having those moments that you can look back on with fondness, isn't it?

  11. I love that you've got such a detailed early childhood memory! And I'm also quite glad you got a chance to play with the toys, even though it didn't turn out to be as awesome as you expected :)

  12. YESSSSS. She writes characters SO well, and it's all too easy to fall in love with them!

  13. I think it's cool that you got to travel while you were growing up! It makes for an interesting mix of memories.

  14. Oh yay, I'm so glad that you liked my review! I hope you get a chance to read it. And that's awesome - are you guys still friends till now?

  15. I haven't read Audrey, Wait! either, though I finally own a copy. I just adore all the Benway books I've read; she's really got a way of telling a good story.

  16. I hope you get to read it soon Kailia! It's a great story, and Benway's writing is as fabulous as always.

  17. MAPLE SUGAR CAKES! I would have loved to try out some maple sugar cakes (and some of the other treats they have too). And yes, it's really interesting to see this entire story from an adult perspective! There are many things I never noticed before this reread, so I'm glad I got the chance to experience it all again.

    And that scene makes my heart flutter every single time <3

  18. YES! I really, really loved Almanzo & Laura, and thought their romance was sweet. I'm not overly fond of the racial prejudice and gender roles, but I only really got to think about these things as an adult.

  19. I AGREE! I read these books so many times as a kid, and I can certainly see myself reading them again with my own kids in the future.

  20. Thanks! We're not very close, but we do keep in touch. (:


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