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.