Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Publication Date: July 16th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: 352 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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?

I’ve tried to write this review for going on a week now, not because it’s a bad book or I didn’t want to so I’ve been dodging it, but more because it was such a wonderful, poignant and brilliant book that I don’t quite know (even now) how to adequately  express my feelings and love for it.

Emmy, Oliver and I got along like a house on fire and it was one of the best contemporary fiction novels I have read this year. It quickly shot up to favourite status with the brilliantly real and flawed characters, amusing dialogue and deeper issues lying just beneath the surface of this wonderful book that’s masquerading behind that cover pretending it's nothing more than a sweet romance.

Basically it had everything I love in a book. Sure it had the cute, fluffy romance (which was adorable by the way) but it was so much more than that and tackled some really hard issues head on and in a fantastically relatable way. This book was all about change – it’s a coming of age story, about family and friendships and growing up to be your own person. To just label this book as a romance is to do it a disservice, because it is so much more than that.

The star of the show is most definitely Emmy. Told from her point of view, she’s sarcastic and funny and kind and wonderful and I loved her. It was a brilliant idea to see the outside perspective on the kidnapping so instead of dealing with Oliver’s thoughts and emotions as he tries to come to terms with it all, we see how the event effected those left behind and how they try and put themselves back together upon Oliver’s return. It’s a unique and fascinating view, because it offered us a glimpse into how Oliver’s dealing with via Emmy, but I loved seeing how the other parents and kids reacted in the wake of the event, and how those reactions have had repercussions rippling in the decade since.

Benway tackles a difficult subject at a curved angle, approaching from the side so you’re already drawn in by Emmy and her witty sarcastic outlook on life before she blindsides you with the emotional curveballs. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions which might be too much in some books, but because Benway has created such a wonderful, loveable and realistic cast of characters, it ends up working beautifully gifting you with sweet, touching and vulnerable moments before sucker punching you with some heavy emotional scenes. It’s raw, it’s brilliant, and it’s wrapped up in such a brilliant package that it works seamlessly.

Emmy & Oliver is a new favourite, a book that I will come to again and again, and has kickstarted my burning need to get hold of all of Robin Benway’s books immediately, because if they are anything like this one, I’m going to have a whole host of favourites on my hands.


  1. Awwww, Rosy, this is such a great review! I totally loved this one too. I loved that it managed to still stay light and happy while still going into depth with the kidnapping and how it affected people other than Oliver, too. (AND UGHHH, EMMY AND OLIVER WERE SO CUUUTE, UGH.)

    1. WEREN'T THEY ADORABLE!?! It really was a fantastic book and completely blindsided me with all the feels. I was not expecting to love it as much as I did!

  2. Fab review! I'm really looking forward to this now!

    1. It's such a gorgeous book, really brilliant and completely caught me off guard. I hope you enjoy it too!