Publishing Info: June 23, 2015 by HarperCollins
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 15, 2015
Related Posts: Also Known As, Going Rogue (Also Known As #2), Far From the Tree
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?
EMMY & OLIVER was a truly magical book. I had expected to love it since I just adored the two previous Robin Benway novels I’ve read (ALSO KNOWN AS and its sequel GOING ROGUE) but since those two books were a bit more light and just plain fun, I wasn’t sure what to really expect from a more serious novel. Long story short, it was absolutely fantastic in so many ways.
EMMY & OLIVER was a perfect blend of really just about everything. I had mentioned that I wasn’t quite sure what the overall tone would be and that’s still hard to answer after reading the book because it’s honestly a mix and I think that’s what I loved about it. The book just felt like real life. These characters had some pretty rough lows and also some fantastically amazing times. I went from laughing out loud to ugly crying. The range of emotions captured was truly impressive and really allowed me to get to know each character in depth.
The blend of action and character development was wonderful as well. I felt relief, suspense, tension, tenderness, swoony, happy, surprised… The general concept as well as the progression of the plot always kept me hooked, wondering where these characters would be when the book came to a close. Once I was halfway through, I just really couldn’t put the book down! The characters had my heart aching and fluttering and racing. Emmy and Oliver had great chemistry and it was so incredibly interesting to see them reunite in this book and try to fill in the missing years.
The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the interlude chapters that give us an insight to Emmy & Oliver’s past before he disappeared. I wouldn’t have minded information in flashback form but these chapters switching POV (from first person to third) and were also from very young Emmy & Oliver’s POV. It’s not something I speak about often, but I have a very hard time with young voices in books (usually it’s in the form of a character’s sibling) because it always feels out of place and never quite seems realistic. I also think they disrupted the flow of the book and each time one reappeared, I was bummed out about it. I think that could have been incorporated into the dialogue somehow to avoid the flashbacks… but all of this is definitely more of a personal thing though so take it with a grain of salt!
I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book and how it made me feel. Trying to put it into words seems near impossible because I’m pretty terrible at translating those thoughts into a review when a book has really captured my heart. I’m sure Robin Benway’s fans will be picking this one up as soon as it hits the shelves (or before) but if you haven’t read her books before, this is also an excellent place to start!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Emmy // Character Obsessions: Surfing, college, friends, family.
I saw a lot of myself in Emmy. I can definitely understand hiding things from your parents because you’re “sure” they won’t approve. I mean, some things I knew they wouldn’t but others I didn’t even try for fear they’d say no and I probably missed out on a lot. But I also did love that Emmy had a good relationship with her parents too, even though they were a bit over protective.
Oliver // Character Obsessions: Catching up, reassessing, friendship, normalcy
My heart ached for Oliver. It’s one thing to put yourself in a position that’s hard to bounce back from but his whole life got turned upside down — twice — because of the decisions that his father made. It was so hard to watch him come back to his “normal” life again and deal with someone else’s decisions for him. But I also really admired him for the way that he handled everything!!
Kept Me Hooked On: Awesome parents. Okay, well Oliver’s parents weren’t quite awesome… But I really love how Robin Benway keeps a good set of parents in her books! Emmy’s parents were a bit over-enthusiastic about her safety, let’s say, but they’re just trying to keep her safe. Despite the overprotectiveness, she really does have a good relationship with them and I was so happy to see those positive interactions! I really teared up a couple times with some exchanges between Emmy and her dad. Loved him.
Left Me Wanting More: Present-day action. I guess that’s the best way to put it. Really, the only thing I didn’t care for in the book were the flashbacks because I just didn’t like the way they were handled, unfortunately!
I just adored this book from start to finish. It left me with so many feelings all over the place and it was a great mix of light and dark, happy and sad, character and plot.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)