Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi | Book Review

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 cafĂ© 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.

My Rating: 3.5/5
I want to start out by saying, this book isn’t going to be for everyone. It is blunt, a little dark, and a tad emo(ish?). I went into this book by reading the back of the book and looking at the pretty cover and thought the book was going to be something it completely wasn’t. Once I got over my initial disappointment, I allowed myself to get into the book, which was still a little difficult to do considering I have never read a book like this. This book was completely out of my lane, but, at the end, I looked back and actually found I enjoyed the majority of it.

My favorite part of the entire book where the characters. They were probably the most realistic characters I have ever come across. Both Penny and Sam were dealing with their own problems, and they both kind of just needed a friend at a time in their life where they didn’t have anyone. The characters are messy and have a ton of flaws, but that is what made them so special. Usually authors try too hard to make the characters likeable while it almost felt like this author said, “here are the characters, love them or hate them. I don’t care because they are not going to change.” And that is something you RARELY find. I have applauded other characters before, such as the characters of the Lunar Chronicles, but for completely different reasons. These characters felt the most real by far.

Now, this book did have some flaws. I can’t understand what it was about this book, but one minute I would be loving it and then another minute I would be hating it to the point where I wasn’t certain I would finish it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot of Sam’s story. Those kind of story lines are not for me. However, his situation is very much realistic, and I think it was great that the author chose to share it. I also didn’t like the wording. The style just felt a little immature and a little too blunt for me. However, if that is your style, you will absolutely love this book.

Overall I do believe it was a great book. I just think it has a distinct audience, and I am not a part of that group. I would highly recommend for you to read it if the whole blunt style is for you. If you are looking for a sweet, little, romantic book then you need to find a different one.