Book Review | Emergency Contact
Title: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Romance
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Mar. 27th, 2018)
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.
What I Thought
Emergency Contact was one of my anticipated reads, for Waiting on Wednesday, earlier this year. So, when the Bookshelf Tees Book Club announced it as their May book club pick, I decided it was the perfect time to read it! I’m so glad I did, too, because it was just the type of book I was looking for.
One of the things I really loved about this novel were the character interactions. I loved the texting conversations between Penny and Sam! It was so sweet and relatable. I really loved watching their relationship grow. As an introvert, I know how difficult it can be to form relationships face to face, and how it is so much easier to get comfortable with someone through texts. I could totally see myself doing something like that lol.
I have to say my favorite character would probably be Jude. She was so sweet, and was really such a supportive and encouraging friend and roommate, even when Penny wasn’t always the greatest to her. While there were times when Penny’s pretentiousness was a bit too much for me, I still appreciated her as a character, and really loved seeing her grow throughout the novel.
Something else I really loved about Emergency Contact was that it was set in college. There is really a lack of books featuring main characters in their late teens-early 20’s. Emergency Contact does a really great job of helping to fill that void! The experiences of Penny, Jude, Sam, and everyone else felt very true to life. This book also tackles some heavy issues, including poverty, addiction, and sexual assault, and I think the author really handled them well. Life isn’t glamorized or sugar-coated in this book. The author makes it clear that life is crazy sometimes, but it’s always worth it to keep going.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is filled with so many realistic and memorable characters. I loved Penny and Sam’s relationship! I would recommend Emergency Contact to anyone looking for a cute contemporary, especially those that are looking for college-aged YA!
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