Book review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Source: Borrowed

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.

I know we’re basically just a series of texts. But I’m glad that whatever led you to me happened.
This book was so cute and I loved it so much! From the humor to the characters to the extremely quotable lines, it was exactly what I needed and I absolutely flew through it, stopping only to sleep for like five hours before getting up and reading more.

I really like books that I can relate to, and I can relate to this one so much. I was a total teenage rebel, so while the majority of my classmates spent their 18th birthdays getting drunk in a field (remember, I’m from a small town in Wisconsin), I went to see one of my favorite local bands play in a cafe and then headed to a diner for a midnight snack with one of my good friends.

In that diner, I met a guy. We exchanged numbers and spent the next year texting and calling each other constantly. We could call each other in the middle of the night if we needed to talk, and it was amazing. Somehow it’s easier to be yourself with someone you never have to see face-to-face. Unlike Penny and Sam, there was never any underlying romance between the two of us. But still, this book took me right back to those days and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I’ve seen a ton of negative reviews of this book that mention how unlikable Penny is. I think that what a lot of other reviewers disliked about her is exactly what made me love her. She’s a real eighteen-year-old. She’s not perfect, she can make some kind of dumb decisions, she’s still learning who she is and how to live her life, and she’s trying her best.

If you’re looking for a cute YA contemporary about heading off to college and finding yourself, I can’t recommend Emergency Contact enough!

PS: I wish I was as good at texting as Penny and Sam.

Have you read Emergency Contact? Have you ever had a friendship like Penny and Sam’s? Let’s talk in the comments!

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