Emmy & Oliver – Robin Benway /// YA – Contemporary
Guys, this is the first YA I’ve read in a while and it reminded me why I need to branch out and read more than just my go to YA authors. I picked this up expecting a cute romance and it was that, so yay but it was also about friendships and them changing as everyone deals with the fact that high school is ending and things will change, which I loved. I’m also a sucker for a good friendship story.
Emmy & Oliver grew up as best friends until Oliver’s dad kidnapped him at age seven. He returns, perfectly healthy 10 years later, to once again live with his mom and her new family. Oliver’s story is obviously the most dramatic, but I found Emmy’s to be much more compelling. She, and her family and friends, all deal with Oliver’s absence and return in varying ways, which I found much more interesting. Especially Emmy’s parents grappling with how to loosen the severely tight leash they have placed on Emmy out of fear. Caroline and Drew, her other friends, try to stay true to themselves and continue their lives with this huge chasm.
Oliver and Emmy’s romance is slow to develop and I absolutely loved that. I hate when relationships just happen with no development because I find it incredibly fake. This story focused deeply on family relationships and friend relationships more than other pure love stories and I loved that. It’s easier to relate and love a character who has more than one thing going on in their lives than just a boy or just family drama.
My strongest critique, and not really critique as my much as what I personally didn’t like, was the overprotective parent trope. Maybe it’s just been recently, but the majority of books I’ve come across lately contain it, and I’m just tired of it. Yes, a lot of people love this, I just don’t happen to be one of them. I grew up with “normal” parents in terms of strictness. They let me test the waters growing up instead of making every choice for me and grounded me when necessary. So I guess on top of not relating to it, overprotectiveness just annoys me so I have a hard time sympathizing with characters in that storyline.
“The more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they’re gone, and maybe it’s that middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you’re near enough.”
Will I reread this? Probably not. However, I plan on serial reading other Robin Benway books because I loved her writing…Any suggestions would be great
This book was great, not my favorite, but I devoured it and still wanted more. I absolutely loved the romance and the focus on friendships evolving as they always do when you grow up and move on. This is definitely a book that lured me in with the romance but I stayed and fell in love with the friendship arcs.