When Emmy was seven years old, her best friend Oliver was abducted by his own father right in front of her eyes and disappears seemingly into thin air. After the media circus dies down, Emmy, her family and her friends are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. Ten years later, the impossible happens and Oliver returns to their lives, but will they be able to pick up where they left off?
I loved this book. It struck just the right balance between romance, friendship and issues and I devoured it in less than a day!
Emmy was a great MC - she was strong, snarky and funny and this lifted the storyline nicely. I think that if the whole book had been about Oliver’s trying to readjust to the family he was torn away from, then the book would have been a lot gloomier and wouldn’t have worked so well. Her relationship with her friends is really touching and it was interesting to see the problems they have with their parents, too. And her friendship/relationship with Oliver was so sweet. Obviously, it helps that Oliver is really, really hot when he returns. I guess having him turn up after a ten year absence as a surly uggo wouldn’t really do much for the storyline!
The plot isn’t a roller-coaster ride; instead it is a gradual build, following Oliver’s path as he readjusts, and the untangling of the relationships between the characters and Emmy and Oliver’s relationship keep it interesting.
Drew and Caro complimented Emmy and Oliver well. They were nicely fleshed out, moved the story along and weren’t just generic, two-dimensional friend-templates. Emmy and Oliver deals with issues such as homophobia within one’s own family and communication between teens and parents sensitively and with humour. The whole kidnapping storyline is likewise dealt with realistically and I loved how this was resolved in the end.
Emmy’s relationship with her parents was interesting, but I did wish that she’d stood up to them more than she did. I got why they were so protective about her (even though Oliver’s dad was unlikely to come back and abduct Emmy as well!), but I was surprised that she let them dictate things like her bedtime, especially as she was such a strong character in other respects:
“Just go upstairs, get ready for bed.”
“It’s eight thirty!”
See, instead of “Fine”, what she should have been saying is, “Bearing in mind I’m only a few months shy of being able to vote, how about I decide my own damn bedtime?”
This is just a small point, though, and didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of what was otherwise a really great book.
The romance between Emmy and Oliver forms a large part of this book and it’s kept very fresh and sweet and avoids mawkishness. I’m a sucker for childhood friends falling in love and their relationship gave me the warm fuzzies. There was no dumb love triangle, no misunderstandings and no instalove and it was all the more believable for it.
Emmy and Oliver is out on 16th July in the UK and on 23rd June in the US. The publisher has judged the release date for this book just right: I’d say it’s a perfect holiday read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Simon and Schuster UK.