I received this book for free from the NCTE in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Published by HarperTeen on June 23rd 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?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.
Emmy & Oliver is so super cute. I can’t even. Emmy and Oliver are friends, but more than that, too. Their story just fills my heart to bursting every time I think of it. They care for each other and show it in small ways.
I loved that we get the bigger picture of the kidnapping. It wasn’t just about Emmy and Oliver, but about Emmy and her parents, Oliver and his parents, and everyone else. There was a lot of hurt and heartache there, but there was also an abundance of love. The child-parent relationships were especially well-done. For Emmy, the book struck the delicate balance between showing that parents are human–they aren’t always right and they make mistakes–and showing a healthy trust between a child and his or parents. For Oliver, it explored the love a child has for a parent, even after they make terrible decisions. Plus, the complicated family relationships were present not just for Emmy and Oliver, but for Emmy’s two best friends, as well.
The story is mostly told when Emmy and Oliver are teenagers, but we get quite a few flashbacks to their childhood. This made it possible to see how Emmy and the other kids had grown after Oliver disappeared. The parents were terrified to the point that Emmy’s parents didn’t want her to go to college until she was 20, but the kids didn’t stop living their lives, even though they had been affected by their friend’s disappearance. Emmy surfs (obviously that has to be kept a secret from her over-protective parents), and, when Oliver returns, she folds him back into the life she has made instead of trying to fit back into their old life.
I’m crying right now, just writing this review, because that is how happy and content it made me.
Overall: I can’t wait to recommend this book to students in September.