Book Review: Emergency Contact

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be reviewing Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it and what you thought!

Overview

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review (may contain spoilers)

I saw the cover of this book on Instagram (as most of the books I buy are found on aesthetic Bookstagrammer’s pages) and I was intrigued. The cover is so pretty and once I read the synopsis I really wanted to buy it.

When I started reading it, I was so excited after all the hype around it that it sort of fell flat at first. The writing isn’t amazingly thought out; it’s very much “he said, she said” and nothing more. But as the book went on I started to forget the overused verbs and enjoyed the story line.

I really warmed to Penny’s weirdness and related a lot to her without even knowing it. She keeps an emergency stash of supplies in case of an apocalypse and her emotions are totally the opposite of what she wants them to be. I also thought Sam was lovable and even a gentleman. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but it’s so sweet and cringy when he thinks that a baby (not really a spoiler, it happens early on) can solve everyone’s problems.

I actually really related to the whole texting instead of talking in real life idea. It’s true, even with my partner of three years, I still have the urge to text him my feelings because I can better explain things via writing. It was a fresh idea and I think it worked well. The only thing that was slightly disappointing was Sam not getting his big break that you expect him to. 

For a debut novel, I think that Choi hit the ground running with this unique story of love, awkwardness and family drama. It has a bit of something for everyone and I even warmed to Mallory once I got to know her.

Overall, the characters were well set up, the plot was intriguing and even though the end is slightly predictable, the journey was the best part. I hope you pick it up and read it! It’s such a heartfelt book.

Happy reading! Love, Vee x

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