From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
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.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
In the summary Emergency Contact is described as being perfect for fans of Eleanor& Park and To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before and to be completely honest I don’t really see the resemblance expect for the fact that they have all have an Asian Mc And that they’re all contemporaries but maybe that’s just me… I truly think that this is a book stands on its own and that any comparison would not do it justice. Basically if you’re someone who enjoys contemporaries and cute love stories that I highly recommend that you go out and buy this book when it comes out because it’s so adorable!
I feel like I kind of sometimes forget that not all contemporaries are cute or even good because I’ve had a pretty good streak when it comes to reading great contemporaries but this book reminded me how contemporaries like Emergency Contact are actually quite rare. So few books are able perfectly capture the awkwardness of love without making it super duper cringey. I think it reflects immensely on the writer’s skill when they’re able to develop the chemistry in a realistic manner. ( I love how I say this as I’m in any way knowledgeable about love 😂)
I really thought it was cool how the majority of their relationship developed over their text. I can definitely confirm that it’s a lot easier to talk to people and get to know them without the awkwardness that is real life. I also liked how slow the transition from online communications to in real life communication and I though that Choi handled that really well. I absolutely loved the stuff that they talked about via text and they were just the cutest together and the development from friends to more was great.
All of the characters were sooo great, especially our two protagonist, Sam and Penny. I related to Penny on so many levels, especially because she was a writer and also didn’t have many friends and she really resonated with me. Well I found the thing she was writing about to be a tad bit odd, I really identified with that struggle of trying to figure out where her writing was going. I really liked the relationships that she forged with like obviously Sam but also her roommate and her roommate’s best friend. Her roommate was very different from her and that was a problem at first but it was really sweet how they slowly started to become friends though there was quite a lot of bumps along the way. But what’s a YA contemporary without lots of misunderstandings and cringey confrontations. I also loved how complex Penny’s relationship with her mother was and I could really feel her frustration and exasperation and I thought it was really tactfully handled.
Sam was such a great love interest, oh my god. He was incredibly flawed but despite that he was caring, passionate and I just loved him so much and loved seeing his relationship with Penny develop. He also had a very complicated relationship with his mother and it was so heartbreaking to see him have to deal with that. While he definitely made some poor decisions, he also went through so much shit and I just felt so bad for him. I’m glad he found someone kind like Penny to be there for him.