Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816Edition: E-Book, 352 pages
Published by: Harper Teen, 23rd June 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 3.5 stars

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighbourhood 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 were childhood best friends. They were next-door neighbours and shared a birthday together, but before they could become anything more, one Friday afternoon Oliver’s father kidnaps him.

The disappearance of Oliver ten years ago affected Emmy and thus caused her to be a very grown up and independent character, plus she likes to surf. I mean, how many female main characters have you read that likes to surf?! I don’t know anything about surfing, so it was kind of refreshing to read about it. She wants to leave her hometown, go to college and do her own thing (surfing), but the only thing that’s stopping her is her overprotective parents.

“Coming home is like being kidnapped all over again.” 

What makes things complicated that is Oliver didn’t realise that he was ‘kidnapped.’ His father has lied to him all his life the moment he kidnapped him; Oliver assumed that his mother abandoned him and therefore resented her, which is tragic because his mother never stopped looking. In his situation, it’s hard to say who was in the wrong. His father didn’t keep him hostage; he took care of him, as they travelled from Chicago to New York. However it was selfish because he took Oliver away from his hometown, his friends and his mother. Now that he’s back he has no recollection from anyone in his old hometown but people remember him.

“He looked like a stranger, and then he met my glance, and it was like I had never stopped seeing him.” 

Emmy questions whether she can go back to being best friends with Oliver again, as so much has changed since his disappearance. He’s almost like a stranger to her. One part of her didn’t want to meet him again but another part of her wanted to see if he is still the same Oliver, but the truth is no one is the same person they were ten years ago.

“The only way I could describe what kissing him felt like was, like the last day of school, knowing that months of freedom and sunshine lay before you, the feeling that you could do anything you wanted and time stretched out in endless possibilities.” 

The romance was realistic and well written. There was no running into each arms and no insta-lovey reunion. In contrast, it was awkward. The connection is still there, but they had to rebuild what they lost ten years ago, starting from scratch. They were getting to know each other again and I liked the scenes where they surfed together, it was cute and funny. It didn’t feel rushed; it felt just right. From the first page, I just knew that Emmy and Oliver were meant to be, or ‘destined’ to be together, if you will. I think my only problem is that I wasn’t entirely sure if the chemistry was there.

There is a lot of emphasis on family and friendship, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Oliver’s disappearance caused Emmy’s parents to become overprotective over ridiculous things, but is understandable because to have your child kidnapped is every parent’s worst nightmare. However, I really liked the parents’ involvement in the book because from the books I’ve read so far, not a lot of parents are involved in YA, they’re more or less pushed to one side. Emmy parents were ridiculously overprotective, but they were pretty funny as well. Talk about so much lols.

I really liked the friendship between Caro, Drew and Emmy; they’ve been friends since they were little and it’s very evident they have a very tight friendship, which was well portrayed. Their group hasn’t been the same since Oliver but they had to cope with it and thus remained close. There was some great dialogue and I could see how loyal Emmy was to her friends.

Overall a 3.5 stars. This is mainly because it was predictable. I knew what was going to happen at the end, but nonetheless a good read.

3.5

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7 thoughts on “Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

  1. Despite the predictability, I have a feeling I’m going to love this one. I really enjoy books that feature healthy relationships and strong friendships. And haha, awkward relationships… that kind of reminds me of the ones I’ve seen/read in anime/manga, lol. I don’t watch/read those anymore, but I think I’ll live through Emmy/Oliver’s story. And I’m relieved to hear this is well-paced romance, there doesn’t seem to be enough of those in ya lately. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to Emmy & Oliver now! To be honest, the simplistic cover didn’t really reach out to me and I wasn’t planning on picking it up. Your reviews are so persuasive, Thuong! 😉 (Well except for Magnolia, I caved and ended up purchasing it on my Kindle since it was a featured book on Amazon daily deal for two bucks, so yeah…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well…I say its predictable but then again most contemporaries are lol. Me too, makes the story feel more real and relatable. Never read any manga but I use to love anime when I was younger! Yay, I think you’ll really enjoy Emmy & Oliver! I always love a well developed romance. Hate instalove as you already know XD
      Really? Aw thanks! I didn’t know I sounded persuasive lol. Anyway, looking forward to hearing what you think of it 🙂
      Oh you brought Magonia! I hope you enjoy reading it better than I did 😉 That is a bargain! Kindle always has good prices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I guess it’s not exactly persuasion, but it’s kind of like how you’re really honest and pick up the important details, which makes me trust your reviews and ratings. Lol, I’m not sure how to say it exactly. But yeah.

        I know, I think that’s why I lean toward a lot of fantasy novels but I’ve been warming up to a lot of contemporaries this year. Mainly because that seems to be the genre everyone’s been reaching for.

        And thanks, Thuong! I hope so too (I’m referring to liking Magonia), we’ll see. ^.^

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the sound of both the focus on the family and the realistic romance in this book. It sounds so charming and lighthearted despite the heavy subject title, I have been hearing so many great things about this book! Fantastic review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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