Published by HarperTeen on June 23rd 2015
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Emmy’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?Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.
Ever since I read Audrey, Wait! a few years ago I’ve been wanting to read another of Robin Benway’s books. For some reason I only just now got around to doing that but I’ll go ahead and say that it was worth the wait. Emmy & Oliver was just what I was looking for.
Emmy, Oliver, Drew, and Caro were best friends growing up and Emmy, Drew, and Caro remained best friends even after Oliver’s disappearance. While Drew and Caro felt Oliver’s loss, it was nothing compared to how it affected Emmy. When Oliver returns 10 years later, Drew, Caro, and Emmy don’t exactly know what to do with him. He’s not the same boy that left them and they aren’t the same people that he used to know and none of them realize exactly how his return is going to affect their lives.
The friendship aspect of this book was by far one of my favorite things. Emmy, Drew, and Caro were so perfect together. They really had been best friends since they were extremely young so they knew everything about each other and they went through everything together. They accepted each others random quirks and they were not afraid to do completely goofy stuff together. (The Beatles thing cracked me up.) Having Oliver come back changed everything for them. At one point it had been the four of them but that was a completely different Oliver. That’s not to say they didn’t welcome him back though because they did. There were bumps along the way but even after all those years, he was still their friend and they proved that time and again.
The romance was something that you will see coming from a mile away (I mean, hello, the title says it all) but that didn’t detract from it at all. In fact, it may have made it even better. It was so fun to see Emmy and Oliver attempt to come back from everything and really start over. There were things they remembered from growing up together but a lot of stuff was completely new to them. It was kind of a conundrum since their relationship seemed to progress rather quickly but it was also something that probably would have grown from friendship to more over the years if Oliver hadn’t been taken. I have never had a problem with instalove and I don’t think that’s really the case with Emmy and Oliver but at times it does come across that way.
The kidnapping aspect was something that has definitely been done before but I liked Robin Benway’s spin on it. Oliver never saw his dad as the bad guy. He was the one who wanted him and he always thought that his mom didn’t. He comes to find out that that was not the case but it’s been 10 years and it’s hard to change the way you view people overnight. Being back with his mom, with her new husband and twin daughters, throws him for a loop. Add to that the fact that everyone wants him to help get his dad arrested and Oliver is a really confused guy. I felt so bad for him. His dad never meant to hurt him but he did. I don’t approve or condone what he did but let’s just say that Oliver wasn’t the only one that I ended up feeling bad for. His dad loved him and was afraid that he would lose him if he didn’t do something so he took some drastic measures.
Also, the only books I’ve ever read about this subject were told from the point of view of the kidnap victim. This one was different because it was told from the point of view of someone that was left behind. Emmy was Oliver’s next door neighbor and best friend before he left. His parents were also good friends with Emmy’s parents. That meant that everything that happened to Oliver, Emmy’s parents knew about and it changed how they parented and controlled Emmy’s life. Emmy became extremely sheltered and anything she wanted to do, she had to take into her own hands. She had to hide aspects of her life because her parents would be terrified if they knew about them. I actually really liked that Robin Benway chose to show how the kidnapping would affect not just the family of the victim but also the people around the victim. It was a fresh take on things.
Overall, Emmy and Oliver was a lot deeper than I expected but also still managed to contain tons of love, laughter, and friendship. I’m definitely not waiting this long before I read another of Robin Benway’s books.
What others are saying about Emmy & Oliver:
Adventures in Reading’s review: “I’m so glad that I stuck with this book. I ended up really enjoying it.”
The Perpetual Page Turner’s review: “OMG DID I REALLY JUST READ THAT IN 4 HOURS? I DIDN’T MEAN TO. OOPS. OH WELL. SO GOOD.”
YA Midnight Reads’ review: “Sure, there is a hella adorable romance… but at it’s core, Benway’s story is one about friendship, growing up, making your own path in life, and more importantly, family.“