Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Narrators: Joy Osmanski, Jacques Roy
Length: 9 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Content Warnings: rape, cheating
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 really wanted to like this book and these characters. I liked the writing, but not the storytelling. I thought some scenes were so relatable, but overall I found this book forgettable, and a great example of why I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary.
I felt like for the most part things just happened, and Sam and Penny didn’t grow or change in their relationships except with each other. There was a lot of potential with the subplots regarding Penny’s writing and Sam’s documentary, but there wasn’t enough of that. And the thing with Sam’s ex was just weird.
Then the book just ended, and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to take away from this story. Again, I really liked the writing style, but I needed more from the plot. Should I try one of Choi’s other books?