Review: Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway

emmy & oliverEmmy’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?

Rating: 4/5

This was absolutely a book that filled me with a quiet joy, with a slow but steady progression towards a happier outlook for both our title characters.

The book tackles the complexities of trying to reignite a friendship, or re-establish yourself in relation to long-last friend, when both of you are no longer the same selves that you used to be. In this instance, it’s compounded by the traumatic event of Oliver being kidnapped by his father and later returning home after ten long years – a home where he no longer fits, and which feels completely foreign to him.

I think the novel also does a sterling job in illustrating how many times we have to pay the price for something we didn’t even do – if a friend or someone in our family does X, like go to Turkey/take up mountain-climbing/drink and drive, and something bad happens, then the younger members of the family are automatically barred from doing those things. For Emmy, her parents, particularly on the part of her mother, have become super, over-protective in the wake of Oliver’s kidnapping – she has a strict curfew, she has to let her parents know where she is at all times, they want her to stay at home when she goes to university, etc. Of course, there’s responsible parenting in keeping an eye on your kid, but this goes too far – you can virtually feel the suffocation. And I don’t blame Emmy one bit for not confiding in her parents, for the fear of having what she loves, the only respite from this maddening cocoon, taken away from her.

At times, the romance got a bit cheesy (the whole ‘I liked you when we were seven and look we still have a magical connection’ vibe) but I let it slide, because I liked seeing Oliver come out of his shell, try to reintegrate to the life he used to have, and how he and Emmy come to confide in each other. In particular, I like the ending, where Emmy makes a choice that is right for her, even if it means not being in the same place as Oliver. I thought that was important, not to have the girl give up her plans and stick with loverboy who’s finally returned.

In short, a contemporary that deals with some rather complex issues but without becoming dragged down with melodrama. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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15 thoughts on “Review: Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway

  1. Yes! I’d heard rumors that this was special, but I think yours is the first review I read – and it’s confirming those rumors :)) Can’t wait to get my hands on it too!

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  2. I don’t know why I avoided this one and decided not to download it from Edelweiss. Probably because I figured it would be just another contemporary YA, which I’m simply not a fan of, but this seems to be so much more. Cheesy romance I can live with, if it has a purpose.

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  3. So so glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve always wanted to read Emmy & Oliver, but I never got a chance to be able to receive an ARC. But I’ll definitely buy this in the store soon 🙂 I love the aspect. I heard it was heartbreaking too! Thanks for sharing the review ❤

    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books

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  4. Excuse me while I shudder at the magical connection vibe *shudders* I loove that the book has relevant issues that didn’t turn it into a melodrama..I’l have to look more closely at getting myself a copy! Also, it sounds like Emmy is realistic- YAY! Great review 😀
    Jackie @ No Bent Spines

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  5. This one was absolutely magical (and amazing!!!). I’ve only encountered few encounters that touched my heart, and one of them was this book. I loved how nothint felt overhwelming or underwhelming in this book. I loved how “quiet” it was and how it didn’t need big or shocking or confrontational events to get the message across. Just… amazing. Seriously.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did – but I was really interested in the premise, and the execution was wonderful. Not all YA contemporaries hit the high notes for me, but I’m so glad I picked this one up.

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  6. “Quiet joy” is a fabulous way to describe the feeling this book will give anyone, Hannah! It’s definitely what *I* felt too! Although I honestly did like the “I’ve liked you since we were seven” thing. I have this huge obsession with books that feature puppy love turned into something more… But that’s just me. 😉 So glad you enjoyed this overall either way!

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    1. I think I saw the word ‘quiet’ used in someone’s review – can’t recall who – and it just stuck with me. Because that’s indeed what this book is. Haha, we all have our own favourite tropes – mine is the hate turns to love vibe.

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