Release Date: 16th July 2015
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: Audrey, Wait!; The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June; AKA: Spy Society; AKA: Going Rogue
‘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 their hearts like pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?
Emmy & Oliver is a beautiful, funny and thoughtful novel about family, love and friendship. I loved it.
Before I had even opened my copy of this book I was sure it was going to make me cry. And I definitely teared up a few times! Ever since Emmy saw Oliver being driven away by dad when they were seven, her mind has been consumed with thoughts of what he’s doing, where is he and if he’ll come back. And ten years later, he does. First emotional punch in the gut!
It became evident just has far the repercussions of Oliver’s kidnapping travelled. The small SoCal suburb was rocked by it and it never properly recovered. Being friends of the family and living next door, Emmy’s family was hit pretty hard. Emmy’s parents panicked and it has ruled her life ever since; they’re incredibly over-protective and very controlling, but it’s also interesting to see how the effects stretched even further.
Everyone expecting Oliver’s homecoming – if he had one – would mean a happily ever after for him and his family but it didn’t work like that at all. This is where the prominence of the parents in this novel really shone. At seventeen your parents are still vital to you, whether you like it or not. They still have a fair amount of control and you generally still need them and I loved how authentically the relationship between parents and teenagers was represented, particularly with Emmy and her family. Emmy may be frustrated by her mum’s ridiculous rules and precautions and having arguments about the same things but they still tease each other, share affectionate banter and, over everything, there is mutual love and respect – everything stems from that. I think (and hope) that this is actually much closer to real life relationships that the bitter, resentful, angry relationships you get between teens and their parents in lots of YA.
Then again, I can’t imagine it’s difficult to get along with Emmy. She’s funny, smart, cheeky and completely genuine in her narration and I just want to be her friend. The friendship between her, Caro and Drew was completely perfect. They knew each other inside out in that way that you only really get if you go to school/uni together or grow up alongside each other – I think it’s an intrinsically teenage friendship. Their world is changing and so are they, but they’re changing together. These three have been through a lot together and it shows in the way they care for each other, but also sometimes take each other for granted.
Oliver coming home disrupted that friendship as Emmy tried to get back that childhood friend that she had so desperately missed while also trying to ease his transition into his new life. There are so seriously heartbreaking moments between these two as Oliver shares how he really feels about being home and explains his conflicted feelings about his dad. Though Emmy can’t empathise with Oliver’s feelings, she listens and she tries and it was so lovely to watch them fall in love with each other, to see them spark and connect.
I completely loved Emmy & Oliver and I just recommend it to everyone. Everyone. Right now. Go get it.
Thanks to S&S for the review copy.