emmy & oliver book coverReviewed by Benish Khan

Emmy & Oliver is a coming of age novel about first love, family, and true friendships. The simple cover draws the reader in and shows that a fancy and artistic cover is not required–sometimes a simple font is enough.

Emmy’s best friend Oliver reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to renew her friendship with Oliver, however, things aren’t as easy as they seem. Emmy is a bit of a rebellious heroine except on the sly. She has a love for surfing but her parents seem unwilling to let her grow up after Oliver’s kidnapping. Naturally, kidnapping incidents create a sense of chaos in the community and they live in fear that something might happen to Emmy as well. Readers get clear glimpses into Emmy’s sheltered life and those with smothering parents are likely to relate.

Oliver doesn’t understand what to do with with his life after he has reappeared. Everything has fast forwarded itself to ten years later and he is left to connect the pieces. Emmy and Oliver once thought they had a future together, and it could have been much more than a friendship if his kidnapping hadn’t occurred. Nevertheless, Emmy still believes in their connection and cares for Oliver.

Emmy & Oliver is a strong contemporary novel that also provides some insight into the LGBT community. True friendships are placed on a pedestal and secondary characters are developed as well as the main ones. This is much more than just a cute romance, although the romance is enjoyable to read about. The book is actually more about friendships and family. The writing is realistic, honest and raw. The feelings are real and ones many are likely to relate too. This book truly touched my heart and the story will stay with me for years to come. There’s nothing about Emmy & Oliver that I actually disliked; it’s a fantastic read and one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read this year.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Benish Khan has her B.A in Psychology and Religion from the University of New York. She’s a psychologist and artist by day, and a bookworm by night. She currently blogs at feministreflections.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.