Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway – HarperTeen – Published 23 June 2015
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?
Why did I wait so long to pick up this book? It was so awesome. I devoured it, loving every minute. It is equally funny and thought-provoking and touching and sad – but sad in a good way.
Oliver and Emmy have been friends from the day they were born. And then, when they were seven, Oliver’s dad kidnapped him, leaving a hole Emmy didn’t quite know how to fill. Now ten years later Oliver has returned home and everything is different and yet some things are still the same. So used to missing Oliver it is hard for Emmy to believe he is really back and right next door.
Emmy is our narrator and she makes such a readable character. She is totally hilarious. Most of the time I was reading this with other people in the room and I was desperately trying to smother my laughter but this book was so funny I sometimes couldn’t help it (people were giving me very strange looks). Emmy’s life changed the day Oliver was taken. Not only did she lose her best friend but her parents became super protective. Now she lives a secret life, hiding the things she loves, like surfing, and things she wants to do, like move away to college, from her parents, terrified they will find out and stop her.
While this book is about Emmy and Oliver and their friendship/romance, it is also about a community that lost a little child. Emmy’s overprotective but loving parents, Oliver’s mother and new family who have longed for Oliver’s return but struggle to connect to him now that he’s back, and Emmy’s friends, Caro and Drew, who also lost a best friend ten years ago. I loved how all these different but totally connected stories worked together. I loved Caro and Drew. They, with Emmy, are a tight-knit group, supporting each other and generally laughing and loving and hanging out. Upon Oliver’s return they too must learn how he fits into their group, as they also struggle with their own love lives, family life and their last year of high school.
The connection between Oliver and Emmy is so sweet. As they re-establish their friendship they both learn that neither of them is the child they were when Oliver left town, but neither are they all that different. Emmy is a great friend to Oliver, offering him someone stable in the chaotic disaster that has become his life and listening to his hard truths. They also make a great pair. As Caro put it, Oliver can pick up what Emmy throws down. He gets her and her, sometimes strange, sense of humour. Their relationship only gets stronger, and sweeter, as their friendship morphs into something more.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was just so readable. I love books that pick you up and suck you into their world and this was definitely one of those books. The writing style was flawless, with the perfect mix of funny and sweet. The book covers a pretty heavy and oftentimes devastating theme (child kidnapping), but in a way that both recognises the trauma and yet tells of the hopeful side.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Themes: Romance. Friendship. Child abduction. Family. College.
Published: 23 June 2015 by HarperTeen.
Format: Paperback, Hardback, ebook, audiobook. 325 pages.