Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver
By Robin Benway
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Source: Gifted 
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?

YA contemporaries were my first true love and, sadly, I haven't been able to read nearly enough of them lately. I have had Emmy and Oliver on my shelf for a couple of months now, so when it was time to pick a book to read just for me, I decided it was about time to pick this one up. 

Ten years ago, Emmy's best friend Oliver was taken by his father and never heard from again. The whole community was devastated and Emmy never stopped thinking about her lost friend. Fast forward ten years and Oliver has returned after being found in New York. For the past ten years, Emmy has lived a sheltered life that she is dying to escape. For Oliver, he's been thinking his dad was the good guy and his mom was the one who deserted him. When they reconnected, Emmy and Oliver realize that the bond they had as 7-year-olds is stronger than ever and that they may be the only ones who can really help each other live the lives they want. 

Oh my goodness, this book. The first thing I loved about this book were the real problems that Emmy and Oliver faced. There were FINALLY real parents who truly cared about their kids, which has seemed to become more and more rare in YA books. Emmy loved her parents, but was feeling smothered by how protective they were after Oliver was taken. Their feelings towards Emmy were completely understandable, but we were also able to see how frustrated Emmy felt not being able to be her own person. 

The other amazing thing? The friendships! Emmy had two really awesome friends who had their own quirks and own problems to deal with. Not to mention Emmy did get into some arguments with them that were very realistic and helped her see that other people matter, too. Also, Emmy and Oliver had an adorable budding friendship when he returned. I loved who they started to spend more time with each other and uncovered their old feelings. 

As I was reading this book, I found myself falling in love with the relatable characters and the loving friendships and relationships. Whether between family members, best friends, or people who meant something more, every relationship in this book was touching and so realistic. There were real problems and not every problem had a happy solution. If you want a YA that gives you life exactly how it is, you should pick up Emmy and Oliver.

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