Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

emmy and oliver

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

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.

My Review:

star2star2star2star2star2

I have read a lot of young adult romance-type books that made me roll my eyes and skip over half of the book because it was just so cheesy and terrible that I couldn’t even bear to read it.  I have read a lot of young adult coming-of-age books that had characters that were typical, one dimensional, and/or absolutely annoying, and it made the book a chore to read.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway isn’t either of those things.

Emmy & Oliver is a fantastic book that made me realize why I fell in love with young adult fiction in the first place.

The story is so real and believable.  The characters are likeable, and the writing feels like it’s drawing you into the story and creating a place for you right alongside the rest of them.  I felt like not only was I reading the book, but like I was an actual character in the book, too.  I felt all kinds of emotions…happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, heartbreak…you name it, and I felt it while reading this book.  I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel like this.

Emmy is so thankful when she finds out that Oliver has been found and is returning home, but at the same time, she doesn’t really know how to act around him, or how to treat him.  She wants things to back to normal for the two of them (well, for her friends Caro and Drew, too…who used to be good friends with Oliver before the kidnapping as well), but isn’t sure that’s possible.  She has her own life now, and isn’t sure that Oliver will have any interest in fitting in with it.  She surfs.  She hangs out with her friends.  She applies to a college that she doubts her parents will let her go to (because they’re incredibly overprotective since Oliver was kidnapped ten years ago).  But she tries to make Oliver feel at home again, and although he is angry and confused, the two of them try and work through Oliver’s feelings and form a friendship all over again.

I have never wanted a fictional couple to be together like I was hoping for the best for Emmy and Oliver.  I felt attached to them while reading this book.

There are small chapters every here and there that have to do with Emmy and Oliver during their childhood together.  These range from birthday parties, to being at the park together, and they are absolutely adorable.  They really do add something different to the novel that give you an insight into the type of close friendship the two of them had before Oliver’s father kidnapped him.  As Emmy and Oliver work on rekindling their friendship (and becoming something more), looking back on these moments from their childhoods is sweet and meaningful.

The obstacles that Oliver faces after coming back to California and trying to fit back into a normal life in high school are heartbreaking, especially when he feels left out and like he no longer is a part of the group of friends that he used to be close with when he was younger.

I truly can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It is young adult fiction at its finest, and definitely deserves a spot on your shelf if you’re into young adult books.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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