by Robin Benway
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
Published: July 16th 2015
Title: Emmy and Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Publishd By: Simon and Schuster UK Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 Voodoos
Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about.
But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?
Emmy and Oliver is the story of when a lost child is finally found and brought home. Oliver was kidnapped by his Father when he was seven, taken away from his mother and his small, close nit community. Ten years on and Oliver is finally coming home.
This story is from Emmy’s point of view. Emmy was Oliver’s best friend before he was taken. Now, confronted with a total stranger Emmy begins to rekindle their friendship and help Oliver adjust to being back ‘home’. I loved that it was written this way because you got to experience his home coming as an outsider. You experienced how Emmy’s life was altered by Oliver’s disappearance, and how his return was the start of her beginning again. Emmy had a great sense of humour which had me laughing out loud sometimes. I loved her quick wit and her confidence.
Oliver’s homecoming wasn’t necessarily what everyone had expected. It wasn’t easy or straight forward. Oliver had lived with his dad for 10 years, unaware that he’d been kidnapped and his feelings towards his dad were overlooked by some of the other characters. Maybe because they had lived so long with their own views. He struggled to reconcile the father he loved with the criminal everyone else saw. But Emmy tried to be understanding and help him.
The romance that developed between Emmy and Oliver was soo cute. It was a slow builder, and had me with butterflies in my stomach when they had their first kiss. It was a tentative romance and it was actually really realistic and moving.
I think the best thing about Emmy and Oliver was that it wasn’t just a contemporary romance, it was a book that looked at many different relationships, and how they grow and change and adapt over time. I loved that there was the comparison between Oliver and his family with Emmy and her family. The fractures in Oliver’s family were obvious, he found it difficult to fit in, his mother found it difficult to talk to him but Emmy’s family had problems too, her parents were over-protective, they tried to control her to look after her… these weren’t as obvious, because she was happy, and safe, but children need space to grow and with Oliver by her side Emmy wanted more freedom.
Considering the subject matter, this book was a lot lighter than I had originally thought it would be. It was well paced and never got boring. It had a realistic quality to it that was just perfect and I loved the humour, it was just right for such a sweet contemporary romance. I’m a newbie to Robin Benways writing and I have to say I was impressed, it just flowed so well. I will have to go check out some of her other books now.