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.
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Hi, everyone! I’ve recently finished reading Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi and cannot wait to talk about it! When I saw this on NetGalley, the first thing that drew me in were the Rainbow Rowell references. What can I say? I really liked both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl that those comparisons get me every time! But the second thing that made me really want to read this book was the texting bit! I really like the idea of people getting to know each other more through text, opening themselves up when they wouldn’t have otherwise. So, needless to say, I’m really grateful that my request was approved by NetGalley and the publisher!
Firstly, I really want to say that these characters were great! They really popped in this story, every single one of them! Sometimes, I find that while the main characters are really developed within a story, the secondary characters are either flat or aren’t seen as much, and thus become flatter characters in comparison. And yes, while Penny and Sam take center-stage in this novel, the other characters are given such detailed description that I feel as if I know every character within the book!
But honestly, I did love the dual POVs alternating between Penny and Sam! I think it was seeing how they saw themselves versus how the other person saw themselves that made it really worthwhile! If it was just one POV though, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much. Especially with Penny constantly berating her looks and personality. It just rubbed me the wrong way. It wouldn’t be once in a while; instead, it would occur in every other chapter. I get the fact that she has such a beautiful mother as well as the fact that girls are taught to monitor their appearance and find themselves lacking is a part of it. But seriously, I wish I could read about a character who was mostly confident in their appearance. They don’t have to be Mary Sue confident about it – I just would love for it not to be a main hang-up sometimes. Sam’s also insecure about his appearance, being really skinny and covering himself with tattoos to compensate, which helps. The great thing, though, about their inner thoughts is that you see that the things that bugged them are loved by the other person. It was the balm that soothed my soul!
I did enjoy reading about Penny’s journey as a writer in school as well as Sam going to community college to study film. Penny’s experience did remind me a lot of Cath’s in Fangirl, so the comparison to it was pretty accurate! I loved seeing her written story develop within the main story, and kind of want to read it in its entirety now! Likewise, it was interesting to see Sam’s process on how he filmed his documentary and I wish that I got to know more about what happens afterwards, in terms what he does with it later…
Well, that’s all I have to say about Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi! For now, at least (I honestly have a whole lot more good things to say 🙂 )! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of Rainbow Rowell or contemporary novels in general! Especially if they’re looking for YA novels with a post-secondary setting! For those of you who are interested, Emergency Contact comes out on March 27th, so save the date! And if you have any thoughts about this novel, feel free to share about them in the Comments Section below!
Have a nice day, everyone!
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.