Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Publication date: March 27th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 391
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’m pretty happy with how Emergency Contact turned out as a YA/NA Contemporary. Rarely do I find YA books centering around college students, and while Emergency Contact doesn’t exactly showcase the horrors of starting college, the plot and writing were very well done. I enjoyed the book in its entirety.
I love how race wasn’t the main focus of this book even though Penny is of Korean descent. That said, MARY CHOI did a great job in identifying some racial issues in the book and how racism is subtly infused in our social life.
Emergency Contact allows us to enjoy the growth of a beautiful friendship between two people who feel out of place in this world. I’m a sucker for friendship stories compared to romance, so I loved how three quarters of Emergency Contact was solely focused on Penny and Sam’s blooming friendship. Their openness to each other and their co-dependence are how I would define a great friendship. Emergency Contact is definitely not a cliche, cheesy YA love story and that’s why I think it’s such a great book.
“People were odd.
Fiction was fine, but real life was the true freak show.”
The plot was well-written for a contemporary, where it had a good mix of eventful situations that brought the story forward and tied up the entire book well together. We get to know Sam and Penny more in depth, and I’ve always enjoyed books that allow the readers to relate and empathize with its characters. Both characters have been through a traumatizing past and how Emergency Contact brought forth the stories together was pretty interesting. And seeing the friendship grow and blossom into something more was also a joy to read.
One thing readers might want to know about Emergency Contact is that the story is heavily centered around Sam and Penny, with minimal interaction with other characters in the book. If you do not mind dialogues between just the main characters, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy Emergency Contact.
Overall, Emergency Contact is one of the few YA books I’ve enjoyed reading this year. The ending threw me off a bit as I thought it was rushed without much conclusion, but I still think Emergency Contact is worth picking up. We don’t see enough of this book on social media, so I hope you pick it up if you see it in stores!
“Everyone is capable of putting words down,
Or telling a story
But not everyone will actually do it”
For fans of mature YA reads questioning racial and rape culture with a great focus on friendship and self-comfort, Emergency Contact is a highly recommended read.
Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.