Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

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Emmy & Oliver
    by: Robin Benway

Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC received via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 352 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars

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.

 
 
There are certain books that just stay with you long after you've closed them and long after you've moved on with your life. Emmy & Oliver is one of those books for me. It will definitely go at the top of my contemporary list along with My Life Next Door. The story, the relationships, the characters.... I was engaged from the beginning and immediately connected with all of these elements.
 
I really enjoyed Emmy's character. I felt for her, as her parents are extremely overprotective of her and it made me sad that she had to hide things from them because they have such a good relationship. Their overprotectiveness makes sense though. After seeing what their dear friend Maureen went through next door after her son's disappearance, it's no surprise that Emmy's parents would react that way. They want to keep their daughter safe, but they are hindering Emmy from living life like a normal teenager by imposing strict rules and curfews. I loved how snarky and sarcastic she could be. It's not done in a negative, mean way, but it added humor and there were quite a few exchanges with her parents that just put a smile on my face.
 

 
I adored Oliver too. He was such a sweetheart and I REALLY felt for him. Trying to assimilate back into a life he doesn't really remember is no easy task. He has been lied to by his father and while that hurts, he can't bring himself to hate the man who has raised him for the past ten years. He comes home to a family he doesn't know, friends he doesn't remember, and is not having the easiest time at school. It's natural that he would be withdrawn and even a bit angry. Things are tense with his mom and she is worried about him.
 
Emmy and Oliver's friendship becomes such a big focal point in this book because let's face it. Oliver needs a friend. Emmy doesn't judge him and she is a good listener. I liked that she could be awkward sometimes because it made her so much more endearing. Before Oliver's kidnapping, the last interaction he had with Emmy was a note being passed to him asking if he liked her, to which he circled YES. That last interaction while a faint memory in Oliver's mind, has never been far from Emmy's. Seeing them spend time together and get to know one another again makes for a very sweet romance.
 
The friendship aspect in this book is phenomenal. Emmy's best friends, Caro and Drew, are great. Benway develops their characters so well and I liked seeing how realistic their friendship is. When Emmy starts dating Oliver, she does end up spending more time with him and Caro does feel like a third wheel at times. When she finds out something Emmy has kept secret from her, but Oliver knows, Caro gets upset and rightfully so. These are real issues best friends would face and I'm glad Benway illustrated those.
 
Overall, I cannot gush enough about this book and I could go on and on. It's a very emotional story, but it's also filled with hope and love. Oliver and his mother have some reconnecting to do and it will not happen overnight. The book ends on such a hopeful note, but I am going to miss these characters dearly. I foresee many rereads in my future!

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15 comments

  1. What a beautiful review, Jess!
    I agree with everything you said. I felt for both Emmy and Oliver. I really loved their parents too even though they were overprotective. I'd much rather have parents than have no parents in my book.
    And yes to the friendship between these kids. I was very very jealous of them. :)
    Lovely review, Jess!

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    1. Thank you so much Nick! I agree- I loved the parental aspect in this one. It was so refreshing to see them present and have a strong family unit, despite their overprotectiveness!

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  2. Great review! I've been seeing mixed reviews for this one, but recently I've been seeing praises. Now I'm curious about the book!

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG
    Most recent post: The Book Shelf Tag

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    1. Oh really? Mixed reviews? Be still my heart! I loved this one SO SO much! :D

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  3. YAY I am so happy to see that you loved this one too!

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  4. I keep seeing this book pop up lately and it sounds really good. And now with all of your gushing, I know I am going to have to add this one to my wishlist. Awesome review Jessica!

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    1. Oh yes! You have to Teresa! I think you'd love this one! It's a new favorite and it's right up there with My Life Next Door, which I LOVED.

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  5. I just loved this one, too. I thought Oliver was absolutely the sweetest. I wanted more Oliver. And Emmy was adorable, and I loved the relationship she had with her parents. It's was a good one but it had it's complications too. I think Benway did a wonderful job touching on the more serious aspects to this story without the story ever feeling too serious, if that makes sense.

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    1. I wanted more Oliver too! I loved him! Yes- I never felt overwhelmed with the more serious content either. I liked that she still made it emotional, but not cripplingly so.

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  6. I'm so happy you loved this book so much! It's definitely a favorite of mine, too. Love all of the relationships - the romance, the friends, the family. Robin Benway is so great at characterization and dialogue.
    Great review, Jess!

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    1. I can't wait to read some more books by her now!

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  7. Emmy & Oliver have stayed with me too, and I could never get enough of them! I would love another book. I also agree with you that the friendship was phenomenal! I don't read a lot of contemporary books, but I am glad I read this one!

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    1. I'm glad you read this one too Kay! It's definitely a favorite and I would love another book too!

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  8. I'm so glad you loved this so much! I ocmpeltely agree -- it was just the right amount of emotional PLUS hope and love. It didn't make me feel down but was just.. perfect. so much love for all these characters! (and I still can't get over the cover! the heart of thumbprints!!!)

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