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Emmy & Oliver

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Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

352 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 23, 2015

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About the author

Robin Benway

12 books1,913 followers
Robin Benway is a National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Far From the Tree, Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including the PEN America Literary Award, the Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults, and ALA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and have been published in more than 25 countries. Her most recent book, Far From the Tree, won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the PEN America Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS, Entertainment Weekly, and the Boston Globe. In addition, her non-fiction work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Bustle, Elle, and more.

Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was a recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Hudson.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,070 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
May 11, 2015
“Well, that’s growing up, isn’t it?” my dad said. “You don’t always have to know. And things aren’t always fair. You just have to keep moving forward. A step in one direction.”

Yet another book that has me wondering just what is going on in the book marketing/design world. With a title like Emmy & Oliver and the heart-shaped finger prints on the cover, pretty much everyone will pick this book up thinking they know exactly what they're going to get - a cute romance.

In reality, this book is not a romance. Maybe it's 25% romance at the very most. Rather, Emmy & Oliver is a coming-of-age story about friendships, family, growing up, life in a small town and learning to be something on your own, separate from your friends and family. To call this a romance would grossly oversimplify a quiet, moving and funny story about all these important things.

Emmy and Oliver were childhood best friends until Oliver's father kidnapped him as a kid. The kidnapping shakes their entire small town and we see the lasting effect it has on everyone else - from the friends Oliver left behind to the parents who become extremely overprotective of their own kids. Then, ten years later, Oliver is found and returned home. Emmy is unsure whether she wants to rebuild what they once had, or even if it's possible, but she is curious about the person who has returned and how much of her old friend lingers beneath the surface.

This is such a sensitive and thoughtful story about many different relationships. There's something about the way Benway handles her characterization that makes us care about every individual in this book. Forget Emmy and Oliver for a second, we also see Emmy's relationship with her two other friends - Caroline and Drew - through some of the best-written dialogue I've read in a long time. And we get a glimpse into the complex relationship Emmy has with her overprotective parents; both her love for them and her frustration with them.

Honestly, I loved these characters and the dynamic between them. I think Emmy & Oliver is all the more powerful because it feels so real and honest. The people in this book feel both unique and universal at the same time. It is not cheesy, there are no sex gods or instaromances of any kind, it channels some feminist vibes, and friendship is put before anything else. Very highly recommended.

“You’re just a weirdo,” he said. “That’s all.”

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509 reviews2,426 followers
July 5, 2015
Have you been looking for a non-dramatic (but yes, I did shed some tears--emotional teenage girl right here) YA contemporary that'll make your face hurt from too much smiling? If you: a) nodded your head, b) screamed FUCK YES, c) gasped or d) did all of the above, then Emmy & Oliver is going to be your next favorite read!

To be honest with you, I initially thought that this book was going to be full of drama llamas and "lyrical" writing (y'all know I hate those), and I've never been happier to have been proven wrong.

Right off the bat, we're introduced to Emmy and her best friends. The bond between this group is so strong that you could feel how genuine it was right from the first chapter. What I especially love about them is that they have their ups and downs (there's this very realistic fight that happens somewhere towards the end of the book), but they still remain friends through thick and thin.

Now, their group hasn't been complete since Oliver was "kidnapped" by his father. You might expect their reunion to have been one of the cheesy ones with big hugs and/or tears of joy, but it was so awkward and realistic and I just loved it.

Robin Benway did a brilliant job depicting an honest teenager and her relationships with friends, family and lover. I really found myself empathizing with Emmy and was mentally giving her two thumbs up every time she did something I knew I would do myself.

Plus hello, awesome romance! I may have been expecting some instalove since Emmy and Oliver already knew each other as children, but the romance was slow-burn and went through a lot of development. You're going to love watching their relationship turn from awkward acquaintances, to friends, and then to something more.

Despite me making it sound like it's a light book--it's not. I can say this is a calm contemporary, but it isn't a light one. The characters (Oliver especially) have their own demons to face. Some scenes were heartbreaking and my throat closed up at some point because of all the crying I did. Luckily, they all have their friends and family (which was another strong point of the book) to support them and to be there for them.

I highly recommend Emmy & Oliver to any young adult contemporary fan, or just anyone who's looking for a quick read with swoons, joy and tears.

Deadly Darlings | The Social Potato | The Book Geek | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for jessica.
2,479 reviews29.7k followers
September 9, 2018
‘he looked like a stranger, and then he met my glance, and it was like i had never stopped seeing him.’

oh, be still my heart! i swear this book was written specifically for me. it was as if robin benway had asked herself, ‘what would be jessicas ideal story? because im going to write it.’ and then she did! lucky me!

i really dont know what to say, but i honestly could have read 300 more pages of this. there was just so much that i wanted more of. i thought the story itself was concluded nicely, everything wrapped up with no loose ends. but i really wanted more of oliver. something so tragically interesting happened to him and yet, we really only get to see the surface of what hes going through. i mean, the title of the book is ‘emmy AND oliver,’ if it would have been nice if we could have gotten a least half of the book from his perspective. i just felt like the main event of the book surrounded him, so it would have been more effective had we seen the story from his POV.

but overall, i really, really loved this. it was fun, and entertaining, and unique, and warm, and touching, and interesting, and just your classic feel-good YA contemporary. i am one happy bookworm. <3

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Christy.
3,711 reviews31.6k followers
July 27, 2016
4 stars!

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“Sometimes love isn't something you say, it's something you do.”
Emmy & Oliver is a book I picked up because I loved the simplicity and beauty of the cover. I bought the audio before I even read the blurb, but I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this one. YA book #15 for me this year! Only 10 more to go before I hit my personal challenge!

Emmy & Oliver’s lives were both drastically changed when Oliver was kidnapped by his father as a child. Oliver was taken away from his mother, his friends his life. Emmy lost her best friend and her parents became extremely overprotective and driven by fear. This book has it’s sweet, fun and light moments, but it also has deeper moments. When Oliver comes home, things aren’t easy for him. Everything has changed. Everyone has changed.

I love how accepting Emmy is of Oliver. She gets that he isn’t the same person he was when he left. She brings him into her group of friends. She becomes close to him once again. As Oliver goes through tough times reacquainting himself to this life, missing his dad and being mad at him at the same time, and just trying to find himself in his new, yet old life, Emmy is there for him 100%.

I loved these two together. I loved the support they had for one another and how they were always on each others side. Their friendship was strong and so was the love between them. I listened to the audio and the narration was great. Overall, a fantastic YA book that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,050 followers
September 19, 2016
"Well, that’s growing up, isn’t it? You don’t always have to know. And things aren’t always fair. You just have to keep moving forward. A step in one direction.”

My eyes are still a bit moist from tears of both pain and joy after reading the last few chapters of the book. And Wow! Just…I totally didn’t expect to experience a whirl of emotions over this book. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a heavy, dramatic read. In fact, even though there ARE heavy and serious themes, the author managed to magically approach the entire story in such a lighthearted manner. It’s seriously impressive!

And yet for me, it was still an emotion filled story which I was completely clueless about because check out that title, it’s just Emily & Oliver. What complicated emotion could possibly emanate from it?! Guess I’m wrong (as usual) because although the book does have romance, it isn’t really a romantic teen-flick as one might innocently deduce from the title, not at all.

It’s about so many truthful, relatable things like realistic depictions of growing up, of losing someone you love, the feeling of alienation versus belongingness, the necessity of friendship in all stages of a person’s life and the process by which the smallest but most complex unit operates-I’m referring to family.

It all felt so real and I was fully connected to the entire story and every single one of the character who are all completely fleshed out and very relatable. I also loved how Ms. Robin Benway put so much effort in making her writing not only appealing, current, very funny too, but also highly sensitive to various kinds of readers and I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone.

So yeah, onto stalking Ms. Benway’s profile now to check other books she’s already written because I’m an instant fan. ;)

To one of the most wonderful people around Goodreads, someone I really look up to and someone who always inspires and motivates me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dearest Ate Tanya! May your special day bring you only the best memories! <3 <3<3
Profile Image for emma.
1,784 reviews42.9k followers
June 7, 2017
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time. I used to obsessively add contemporaries to my TBR, and for whatever reason, this one stuck even when I removed most of them. And I’m glad it did.

It was, socially, on point. Characters were against slut-shaming and the “not like other girls” trope, as I enthusiastically noted about an hour and a half ago. There were themes of acceptance and homosexuality and gender. It was sick.





The characters themselves were pretty great. Emmy was actually funny sometimes (I find that a lot of supposedly-funny YA characters end up not being that way). Oliver was fairly cute, too. Caro was cool, and Drew, despite being a bit stereotypical, didn’t drive me crazy or anything.





That’s one of my only complaints about this book, actually. Everything can feel a bit exaggerated. Both Emmy and Oliver’s parents are that cliché of being too strict so that they can have a big fight at the climax when their offspring scream at them, I’m not your little girl/boy/walking-talking-stereotype anymore! But it was a little too much. It made sense in Oliver’s case, because he’s just returned after being kidnapped by his dad. But in Emmy’s it was insane. She’s almost 18 and has a 9 p.m. curfew and 10 p.m. bedtime? She’s not allowed to go to college? I would have just spontaneously combusted if that was my senior year.





My other complaint is the insta-love. It’s somewhat excusable because Emmy and Oliver were childhood friends, but they spend very little time catching up after a (very crucial) decade apart before they start mackin’ on each other. It’s not the worst I’ve ever read, just a bit grating.





Bottom line: It's not perfect, but this contemporary is refreshing, cute and fun. Also I think I like surfing books now. Regardless, I recommend!
589 reviews1,030 followers
January 5, 2016
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

4.5 stars

I'd firstly like to point out that Emmy & Oliver is a really misleading title. While the title screams a romance-dominated story, I would say it's anything but that. Sure, there is a hella adorable romance... but at it's core, Benway's story is one about friendship, growing up, making your own path in life, and more importantly, family. 
"Sometimes love isn't something you say, it's something you do."

At it's surface, this book is about Oliver who is finally found 10 years later after being kidnapped by his father at the age of seven. And now he's trust back into his hometown and surrounded by these people that he has no recollection of, but everyone seems to remember him. And in particular, Emmy. Emmy and Oliver used to be the bestest of friends when they were younger - they share a birthday and are next-door neighbours, and while Emmy wants to go back to how they used to be, she isn't sure that's possible since they're both not the same people they were 10 years ago.

I fell in love with Emmy almost instantly. She's grown up for the past 10 years with a leash held ever so tightly by her parents since Oliver disappeared. And all she wants to do is follow her own dreams and make up her own mind. Surf, go to the college of her choice... She's undeniably independent and also a wonderful friend. I loved how thoughtful she was, but also sarcastic and embarrassingly awkward at the same time. After 10 years of not seeing her childhood best friend, and the first thing that she does? Pokes her tongue out and crosses her eyes. Honestly... what's not to love?
The world continues to spin even when we want it to stop, I thought. Especially then.

I really appreciated how this book highlights the importance of friendship. Despite Oliver disappearing, Emmy has always had Caro (Caroline) and Drew. They're both wonderfully complex characters that are each explored with so much detail, I feel like I know them enough to be my best friends. I seriously ADORED their dynamic, and it's one I envy. No joke.

I think this book deserves an award for just how brilliant family is portrayed here. And not just Emmy and Oliver's families. But also Drew's and Caroline's. Family is never going to be perfect, and that's why it is so special. I think it's about dealing with each other's shit, fighting and arguing but still caring for each other at the same time. I think it's about loving each other for the good and the bad and the worst parts. So thank you, Robin Benway, for such an honest reflection of what it can really be like.
"Mom," I groaned, covering my eyes with my hand. "People don't really date anymore, they just... I don't know, hang out together."

"Is that the same as 'hooking up'?" my dad asked.

"Oh my God!" Now I covered my ears with both hands. "Am I grounded? Can you just ground me? Hearing you two talk about 'hooking up' is cruel and unusual punishment."

Of course, I cannot finish this review without dedicating part of it to just fangirl over the cuteness that is Emmy and Oliver. Their romance takes the backseat in this one and reading it was like cotton candy. There's no instalove or stupid drama, thank God! Also, those flashbacks that were inserted every now and again? MY FEEEELS. I just felt like jumping into my kindle, to be honest.

I did cry reading this book. Surprisingly, most of the time it was just because how  sweet and heartfelt  this book was. But also sometimes because it was truly heartbreaking.

Emmy & Oliver is a highly important novel that zooms in on all the important things about growing-up, family, friendships and everything in between. It's incredibly bittersweet and honest , which is effortless in it's storytelling. And it's why I know it's a story I'll never forget. *hugs book* Cannot recommend this one highly enough, especially if you want to feel all the emotions.

~Thanks HarperTeen for sending me this copy for review!~

INITIAL REACTION:

Two of my main reactions while reading this book:



and



This isn't just a romance book - Emmy & Oliver brings a lot of focus on family relationships, which I absolutely loved.

And I totally cried at the end. Not even crying... just full on bawling.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,677 followers
February 15, 2021


All in all, here's an heartfelt story about family, friendship and what it means to belong somewhere, to grow up, without never hiding the hard truths and sore trials real life holds.



What is it that creates a family? A friendship? Are labels enough? Does calling someone a friend makes one?

"I looked up at my dad. "Tonight, when Oliver and I were talking, I said I'd still love you, even if you kidnapped me. I really would. I get how he feels."
My dad smiled. "That's the nicest and most sociopathic thing anyone's ever said to me."

Emmy & Oliver isn't my first book by Robin Benway, therefore it doesn't come as a surprise that her writing flows smoothly and hides several funny and thoughtful gems, making it really quotable, to put it simply. If the snarky monologues I adored in Also Known As are more discreet here, it remains that the characters' interactions shared the smile-inducing quality that made me fall for her writing in the first place.

One might say that nothing really happens, but for me it can't be seen as a flaw here : indeed it's in the quietness that lie the most powerful scenes, don't you think? Whose lives revolve around blowing things off and apocalyptic worlds, huh? To capture the essence of real life, sometimes we need to slow down, and in my opinion Robin Benway did it perfectly, even if I admit, it took quite a while for the story to completely hook me. Who cares, when in the end I'm smiling big and treasuring every moment I spent reading?



As for the characters, I can't genuinely find a single one I didn't like or understood, one way or another. They all show weaknesses without never crossing the line between what I can understand and what I find annoying.

Shaken to the core after Oliver's kidnapping when he was 7 years old, they all had to find ways to cope, whether in being overprotective like Emmy's parents or in creating a whole hidden life as Emmy did. All of them, while flawed, stay so supportive, realistic and heartwarming that I want to hug the hell out of them. Really. With a special mention for Emmy's dad (thanks for the hooking up line, buddy) and her best-friend Drew (your driving skills didn't go unnoticed, and I'm totally stealing your 'The signs says STOP! Not GIVE UP!' cry).

We recognize a great book when none of the characters is useless : family stands out in their lives (as it should be the case way more often in Young Adult), friends are well-developed characters (and don't act as if they want to shred each others in pieces for once, thank you very much), boyfriends are supportive, kind, without any of the abusive and invasive traits that make me so, so angry. Not to mention that if romance there is, it stays light, slow, devoid of all this instalove crap authors love to feed us these days (or, to be fair, for ever - Romeo & Juliet, anyone?)

Life is messed-up and complicated, and I love nothing more than leaving a book without knowing how I would have reacted. This is what being a complex human is about, I guess, and I'm never denying that part of me, whatever that means.

If you're looking for a realistic, heartwarming coming of age story, don't be fooled by that misleading cover and try it out, you won't be disappointed.

Ps. THAT FUCKING ACOUSTIC GUITAR. GUYS. I know right??!

*high-fives Drew & Caro*

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,103 followers
March 12, 2015
If I could describe this book in one word, it would be  quiet.

Yes, Emmy & Oliver is something that I would call a "quiet contemporary". I'm not even sure where that came from, or if it's a thing, or something I made up on a whim, but I know deep inside that this is the best word for it. I try to think of another description, but there is nothing that fits as this. Emmy & Oliver is meaningful, thoughtful, and like I said, quiet.

How is it so, you ask? I've read a number of contemporaries over the years, many of them involving issues and concepts teenagers face during their youth, experiences that mirror our own and lessons that are valuable to us, too. But while that is so, there are times when it feels like the situation those characters are in are something that I don't really see myself getting into; as if it feels like there is still a sense of detachment somehow.

But Emmy & Oliver is different, in a sense, and I don't even know how to say why. There is something so down-to-earth with the way it is written. There is no unnecessary or explosive or superficial drama among the characters. There is a "peaceful" atmosphere going on despite the big elephant of sadness in the room. In this book, characters go to school, go back home, do what teenagers do, eat what teenagers eat, fret over college applications - things that are 100% real to us - and it doesn't feel tedious at all. There is even an endearing quality to it, a realness that you know is genuine. It feels eerily human-like in a way that this you see this happening to yourself, or to your next-door neighbor, or to your friend down the street. 

I guess, in short, it is not pretentious at all. There are no characters who spout deep and complex sentences in an attempt  to swoon the MC or the reader. It's genuine to the very bone, especially the dialogue. I even think the dialogue is the best part of this story, because the way they talk to each other and the things they say and the things they do are so, so, so real. This is why I say it is quiet, because most of the time, our lives are quiet, too (unless you're a big hot shot in loud field like Hollywood, I guess!), and it really captured that ambiance and atmosphere in the setting, in the writing, in the characters, and in the dialogue.

TL;DR: it's one of the most natural contemporaries I've ever read. Read it to believe it, folks.
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews516 followers
June 7, 2020
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf.

I really had no idea what book I was going to read next, and then Shannon from It Starts at Midnight suggested I read Emmy & Oliver next because she liked it a lot. So I did. I mean I had an arc copy and everything, so why not just read it now? It is also coming out, like tomorrow. So I did, read it.

Emmy and Oliver have been friends from the day they were born - yes, they even share a birthday. Until one day Oliver was picked up from school by his dad, only to never come back. He was missing for 10 years. While everyone around Emmy was adjusting to Oliver being gone, nobody thought about the adjusting that will be necessary once Oliver returned home. Now that he's back, nothing is normal again, the question is will Emmy and Oliver be able to pick up from where they left?

I expected this book to be a little heavier considering the subject it's dealing with, so I was really surprised to find out I liked this approach much better. It captured all the feels, all the wrongness, the pity, the doubt and so much more, all that while having a lighter approach to the subject. It showed us perfectly how every side dealt with the kidnapping and its aftermaths. From Oliver's mother to Emmy, her parents and friends, and Oliver.

Oliver being abducted by his father at the age of 7 did not only affect his family but Emmy's too. It's every parent's worst nightmare having their child kidnapped and having it happen to someone you know may change the way you feel about things drastically. Emmy's parents went into the overprotective mode. They pretty much controlled every single aspect of her life, to the point she had to lie to them about surfing - because it was too dangerous - and numerous other little things.

Since the book is told from Emmy's point of view, we only get to find out things about Oliver through her and their interactions. But it does nothing to make it easier for us. We still feel deeply for him. Being kidnapped by his dad at a young age and thinking all of those 10 years that his mother actually abandoned him and then finding out the truth, can't be easy for anyone. On the one hand, you have your mother who has always cared for you and wanted you back, on the other hand, there's your dad who pretty much raised you and also cared for you. It's this dilemma that makes it so real.

If you decide to pick Emmy & Oliver up, I can assure you that you will most likely enjoy this book and you'll be wanting more.

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Profile Image for ♛ may.
802 reviews3,762 followers
March 6, 2019
Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, but for me, it’s this book.

description

This BBBOOOOOOOOKKKKKK !!!!

Goodness, I’m so trash for Emmy & Oliver that it should be embarrassing but like “fav book > dignity” always.

So despite the cheesy-yet-adorable looking cover, this is not just another cheesy o’l love story, let me tell you, no, no, it’s a touching coming-of-age story that is fused with beautiful friendships, acceptance, and chasing your dreams.

Literally wiping away my tears because I just love this book so much.

The characters are brilliant, they’re hilarious with just the right amount of sass but they care for each other so much, honestly just so much goals.

AND THEY’RE SO FUNNY!!

“But he was too distracted by the traffic jam to notice. “Are you kidding me?” he cried, sticking his head out the window. “The sign says STOP!” he yelled. “Not GIVE UP!””

H I L A R I O U S ! ! !

Friendship (Caro and Emmy) Goals:

“Can I borrow that after you?” I yelled to her, examining my nail polish.
“My mascara?”
“Yeah!”
“You’re not supposed to share eye makeup! What if I have pinkeye?”
“It’d be an honor to share pinkeye with you, Caro.”


But it’s not ALL laughs, honestly some chapters were really heartbreaking it read, my sweet babies. They’ve been through so much. Was literally tearing up over here.

And OH MY GOD, I LOVE OLIVER SO MUCH, this sweet child needs to be protected.

Okay, I’m honestly just rambling and I have no chill, so excuse me, but seriously I just really, really, really love this book !!!


“Sometimes there just aren't enough words to fill the crack in your heart.”

5 stars !!!
Profile Image for Tabetha.
66 reviews132 followers
November 25, 2015
Rating: 3.5 Review: "The more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they're gone, and maybe it's the middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you're near enough."

I appreciated that this had more depth and did not focus solely on the romance between Emmy and Oliver. They both had to deal with the aftermath of Oliver returning home after being kidnapped by his father for so many years. Of course the adjustment was so much more difficult for Oliver, almost impossible, initially. The friendship, then love, that develops between Emmy and Oliver is sweet and builds slowly, but I feel like the story, as a whole, is a bit forgettable, even with the drama surrounding Oliver's kidnapping. There were not enough unforgettable lines and moments that gave me that thrill of knowing that a part of this book will stay with me always.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,269 followers
August 31, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Coming home is like being kidnapped all over again,”



This was a YA contemporary romance, featuring a boy who came back after being kidnapped 10 years earlier.

Emmy was a cute character, and she really went out of her way to be nice to Oliver, and to make him feel welcome when other people at their school treated him like an outcast.

“He’s sitting by himself!” I hissed. “Look at him, it’s sad. And, like, we grew up together and now he’s back and he lives next door to me. I can’t just ignore him.”



I liked Oliver too, and I felt really sorry for him. He had suffered so much heartache in his life that it hardly seemed to fair. To have to spend ten years missing his mother, followed by years missing his father.

“The problem is that now I miss my dad just like I used to miss my mom.”



The storyline in this was about Oliver finally coming home, and the reactions of his family and friends. I liked how Emmy and Oliver got to know each other again, and I liked how they made such a sweet couple. I did find the pacing in this a little slow though, which was a bit frustrating, but I do like books with a faster pace, so this might not bother some people.

“The stars tilted, the moon spun, and then my mouth was on his and we were kissing.”



The ending to this was quite bitter sweet really, but I’m glad that things worked out for most of the people involved.




6.5 out of 10
September 29, 2015

I guess the more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they're gone, and maybe it's that middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you're near enough. So close and yet so far.



Absolutely too cute for words. Deep, heartfelt, unforgettable.


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Sometimes I could slap myself for being so shortsighted. And, just to warn you, I'll probably even say that on tomorrow's review....I just have this mental block that prevents me from taking a risk, taking chances that might help me find some of the best stories ever-and this is one I almost missed out on.


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It's pretty clear I poach all my ideas off Anna (well, 90% of them) and generally come out on top. I can tout and say it's because I'm picky...well, hey, I really am...but a lot of my choices wouldn't even exist without Anna saying, hey, check this one out (OR RATHER- 'OMG. [Insert boy name here]. OMG CHELSEA' And me saying 'Done.' Don't judge). So, you know, this is my way of saying that, while I say I'm creative...I'm really not. And this book?? It was absolute perfection.


Sometimes there just aren't enough words to fill the crack in your heart.



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When I read the blurb for this, I passed it up multiple times I guess I didn't realize just how...difficult??...a story like this could be. It seemed simple enough-Boy gets taken by his father. Mother is devastated. Emmy and her friends are scarred for life, always waiting for him to return. Boy returns when he's 17. Emmy and Oliver fall in love. Simple...right? Wrong.


Oliver looked up at me, his face solemn and pained, and I realized with a terrible rush we weren't playing anymore. "Colleen," he said, "coming home feels like being kidnapped all over again."



If you were a kid and everything you knew was flipped around, your world titled on its axis, how would you react? Well, we don't technically know. He was gone, stolen away from all those he cherished and loved. One can assume that he was confused and missed his mother and friends, only to eventually fall into a rhythm with his dad and delve into his new life. So...I guess this leaves you wondering-If you were stripped of your life, everything you knew-not just once, but twice-how would you fare?


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And then Oliver blinked again and it was like a shutter went off in his own eyes so I could see the picture of the anger, the hurt, the embarrassment. It was a private viewing just for me, gone a second later when he blinked once more and his face smoothed back into its normal, passive shape.



And I think that's the largest issue in this book-Finding your place, struggling to wrap your head around new people, leaving all you know behind..it's actually so sad when you think about it. And I think that's why I was so shocked-and yes, I was very shocked by the depth of this book. Even from page one, which hooked me instantly by the way, it seemed light and funny and sweet. And, even with the darkness that creeped into the story sometimes, there was no lack of heartfelt moments and hilarious banter. And hey! There was some cheese, I'll admit it. Wonderful, yummy, happy velveeta cheese-But only the best kind of cheese.


"Those look painful," Oliver commented, trying to avoid Caro digging her heel into his shoulder. "Why does everything you do look like it hurts?"
"Because!" Caro huffed with a final shove. "You guys want us to look natural and there's nothing natural about looking natural."
I could see the confusion cross Oliver's face and stifled my own smile.
"Those shoes don't look natural," Oliver pointed out.
"Yes, but they're three-inch heels, which make me look like I'm an average height of five five. See?" She explained. "Natural."



Okay!! My favorite part-The relationship. Emmy was devastated by the disappearance of Oliver. She might have even taken it harder than most even realized. They were partners in crime, best friends...in like with one another. You know how kids are :P . So when he comes back with more height, a different head of hair, a new look to him, and a dark cloud hanging over his head...she realizes he's not the little boy that left all those years ago.


"Oh, riiiiight," I said, knocking myself in the head and grinning like an idiot. "I'm sorry, I totally forgot."
"That's okay," he replied. "Just adds to my rebel image. New guy in school, mysterious past, being held back a grade." He smiled at me. "Girls like it."
"Really?"
"Oh yeah." He smiled wider. "That's why I'm eating lunch with all these people."
I laughed despite myself and then he laughed, too, a familiar sound that I hadn't heard in years. His laugh was deeper now, but still Oliver's, as unique as a double helix. Or a fingerprint.



Emmy starts to reach out to him, this kid who made national news and is now a social outcast because of it. Alone more often than not, he's feeling angry, dejected, depressed that he is being thrown back into a life everyone remembers but him-all his old friends, the inside jokes, the memories they shared. But as Emmy begins to integrate him into her life, and her two best friends' lives (they used to be a foursome), he starts to smile, laugh, joke, live...and he's beginning to ache for the ten years they all lost.


"Quick question," Oliver said as he scanned the horizon. "What is the shark population like around here?"
I blinked at him. "Are you being serious right now?"
"I don't know." He laughed nervously. "No. Yes. Maybe? Sharks?"
I sighed. "There are no sharks here."
"Do you mean 'here' as in the 'Pacific Ocean' or...?"



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I loved this cast of characters. They were so funny and realistic and you never felt like the conversations were fake or forced for the sake of being 'hip'. This author made an authentic story with real conversations and real situations. I never once rolled my eyes or thought it was trying too hard. The friendships, the drama, the fights...they were so palpable I wanted to reach out and swirl my hand in their tangible depths. And, even more than that, I wanted to hug my poor little Oliver, who always felt lost and alone.

Tortured, lost, devastated, Oliver has never felt more alone. As he and Emmy become closer, we begin to see his playful side, his happy side-but he never quite knows what to do. His mom searched for him for years, and now she has him...in her new life. He doesn't know where he fits and feels like he's disrupting her-and everyone else's-life. We see the emotional turmoil he goes through trying to find his place...and trying to sort through his lingering emotions of missing his dad, even when he knows he did something horribly wrong.


That's when I first learned about true frustration, that wrenching ache when the thing that matters most to you barely makes a ripple in other people's lives.



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This story is one that took me completely by surprise. It's not because I didn't think it would be good-from page one you could tell it would be fabulous-but I didn't realize just how many emotions I-or they-would feel. I started this book during a terrible week. And even at the worst of times, I'd pick this up and would immediately get butterflies, smile like a loon, and start laughing in the quiet of night-disturbing hubbs repeatedly. This book is wonderful, one to truly cherish and never forget. WHEN I get the hardback, I'm going to hug it close...and be all creepy and snuggle with it. Whoops. I only hope that others will give this fantastic book a chance. I swear it will make you feel as light as air.


*Note: I have to say something I missed on the review: Oliver was always supportive for Emmy...no matter what. And he never got mad at her. He was so adorable and supportive. Anyway. Forgot that. Whoops again.


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Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,265 followers
December 19, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

If you only pay attention to this part of the synopsis before beginning Emmy & Oliver . . . .

“Oliver disappeared after school on a Friday afternoon, way back when we were in second grade.”

There’s a very good chance you might end up with this sort of reaction to this story . . . .



Please note that this is VERY MUCH a “kissing book” and an extremely sweet one at that. If you (or your teen) is looking for a new twist when it comes to the story of the boy next door, this might be a winner. It should make you feel all the feely feels of first love and paragraphs like this . . . .

“The only way I could describe what kissing him felt like was, like the last day of school, knowing that months of freedom and sunshine lay before you, the feeling that you could do anything you wanted and time stretched out in endless possibilities. That’s how I felt in his arms, like the future was limitless just because he was there. He was finally there.”

Made even a curmudgeon like myself say awwwwwwwwww . . . .

Profile Image for Karla.
1,010 reviews219 followers
May 24, 2018
4 stars!

I’ve actually been wanting to read this book for a while, but for whatever reason I always thought, not yet! But I’m glad I finally found the the right time to read it.

When I started reading “Emmy & Oliver” I thought the beginning was slow because I had put in my head that the focus was gonna be Emmy/Oliver but it was so much more than the two of them. The ripple effect Oliver’s kidnapping by his father had affected not only his family but Emmy and the relationship with her parents.

Ten years years later Oliver is finally home trying to get his old life back but soon he realizes nothing is the same. My heart broke for Oliver everything he went thorough emotionally with his parents how conflicted he was about his father’s actions. Oliver/Emmy were so sweet I loved seeing how they slowly found the connection they had since children. Those flashback from when they were kids were so adorable!

This book just snuck up me! It ended up being so much more than what I thought it would be. Those last chapters had me in tears with so many emotions these characters were going through. A really beautiful book about not just first love not just friendship, but the unbreakable bound between a parent and a child. A mother who never lost hope and little girl who always waited for her Ollie. ♥️

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Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
March 11, 2016
I adored this. Robin Benway's contemporaries are seriously under-appreciated. If you're looking for something along the lines of Jenny Han or Huntley Fitzpatrick, look no further. So lovely.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
January 21, 2015
Emmy & Oliver is the type of best friend romance I would normally be clamoring head-over-heels for...only, it's a liiitle more complex than that. Emmy and Oliver are not only neighbors, they're best friends. They've grown up alongside one another and for the first seven years of their life, they have shared everything, including their birthdays. When Oliver's father arrives to pick him up after school one Friday afternoon, no one thinks much of it. After all, Oliver spends every weekend with his father. When he doesn't come back to school on Monday, however, that's when Emmy starts worrying. When he doesn't come back for ten years, it's a tragedy.

At seven, Oliver is kidnapped by his father and, at seventeen, he is found in an apartment in New York City. To Oliver, his life has been a series of adventures; him and his father against the world. Oliver was led to believe that his mother abandoned him and, grief-stricken and confused, he never attempted to contact her. A curious Google search a decade later reveals that his mother has been searching for Oliver all her life. Oliver's absence has not only fractured his life, it has torn up the lives of their entire community. Emmy's parents, once carefree, have been strict, curfew-abiding jailers for much of Emmy's life. Their fear following Oliver's kidnapping has haunted Emmy her entire life and now, at seventeen, all Emmy wants is to surf and attend UCSD--dreams that will never be fulfilled as her parents have already planned that she will commute to college from home and instead of enroll her in dangerous sports like surfing, the most they have allowed her to do is have a car.

When Oliver returns, Emmy doesn't know what to think. She and Oliver were best friends ten years ago but can they still be best friends now? Is Oliver even the same person? Although Oliver hasn't been maltreated by his father, Emmy cannot even begin to understand his life or emotional state. She, living in the same home and growing up with the same friends, Caroline and Drew, who also used to be friends with Oliver, is comfortable and happy where she is. But Oliver, who has traveled around the nation and is coming all the way from New York City...does he even want to live with his mother anymore? While Oliver's mother never stopped looking for him, she also refused to stop living. Now married with two twin girls who Emmy babysits every week, the world has gone forward despite the fact that Oliver has come back and the road ahead for Emmy, Oliver, and those closest to them is paved with hardships.

It took me awhile to truly immerse myself in this tale, primarily because Benway has to set-up the backdrop of this novel and Oliver's story is a sad, depressing one. Though he doesn't suffer from trauma and has been treated like a son by his father, he doesn't go out of his way to befriend students and his arrival in high school isn't the easiest of transitions. Yet, Emmy is a laid-back, easy-going heroine and her willingness to draw Oliver back into her life is what truly made me invested in this love story. Emmy is frank and open about her life, showing Oliver her favorite spots to surf and immediately treating him as the friend he always was to her. The fact that Emmy accepts that Oliver was gone for ten years but acts as if he knows her is what enables him to leave his shell and slowly join her circle of friends.

Emmy and Caro are the type of best friends you always read about or see on television but Benway makes them even more realistic than the classic portrayal. Caro is the youngest of five siblings and unlike Emmy, who is an only child and under the constant scrutiny of her parents, Caro's parents could hardly care less where she is or what she does. She shares a room with her messy older sister, Heather, and Caro dreams of sharing an apartment with Emmy and attending college with her. Drew, who has recently told his family that he is gay, struggles with the fact that his parents still love him and yet are disappointed in him. Their trio is a tight one and while Emmy grows and changes due to Oliver's presence in her life, her friends do too. They each have their own issues and the fact that they became so alive, despite remaining secondary characters, is a testament to Benway's skill.

Emmy and Oliver's own romance is sweet and slow to develop. You're almost not certain if they'll choose to remain friends but it's so very obvious that their feelings for one another run deeper than mere friendship and the support they give one another is incredible to watch. Emmy and Oliver have one another's backs and when they find it difficult to speak with their parents or other friends, they somehow have the right words to coax the truth from one another. Reading about their relationship is heart-warming and swoon-worthy in all the right ways. Especially because, first and foremost, they will always be friends.

I really enjoyed how this novel focused so deeply on family units and parental relationships. Whether it be the relationship Emmy sustains with her parents where she is forced to hide parts of her personality to please them or the one between Oliver and his mother where he feels unable to confide in her, Benway captures both the difficulties and joys of family. Emmy & Oliver is being marketed as a love story but, truly, I felt as if the romance was secondary to the growth both Oliver and Emmy undergo over the course of this novel and, what's more, their friendship and relationships with others--from their parents to their friends to the one between Oliver and his father--is what is at the crux of this novel. Sure, there's a love story too--a sweet, sweet one--but Emmy & Oliver is about so much more than that mere label.

Benway writes in a manner that makes even the darkest of subjects accessible and her trademark humor, combined with the easy sarcastic dialogue she imbibes within her characters, makes her novels fly by. I just can't put one of her books down and Emmy & Oliver, with an older cast on the cusp of transitioning into college, brings forth a variety of themes and concepts that I love to see in YA. Benway explores the idea of freedom in college, not to mention the harsh reality of leaving behind your high school friends, with such aplomb that I hope she returns to this older YA age group and explores more of those ideas in greater depth. Having read her entire backlist at this point, I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeve next (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another Also Known As novel). Whatever it is, though, it'll be worth the wait.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books306 followers
April 5, 2019
Emmy and Oliver are best friends in second grade, when one weekend, Oliver leaves with his dad, and never comes home. Ten years later, he��s found and brought home. But what do you do when “home” is neither the place you were raised or the place everyone tells you should feel right, when the person the rest of the world insists is a criminal is the one who raised you, while the parent who was wronged feels like a stranger? A story of friendship and family.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews280 followers
September 13, 2017
Super sweet read!!! I liked the how wholesome and innocent the teenagers were. Their banter and camaraderie was very endearing. I got choked up several times during this book, lol, but that's nothing new. Hahaha!!
Profile Image for Maureen.
484 reviews4,218 followers
August 29, 2017
I really REALLY enjoyed this contemporary. I think it was the perfect mix of sad backstory and current happenings and gah it was just great.
I enjoyed the characters a lot even though Emmy said dude too much for my taste, and it was really fun seeing them interact even though I could've done with a bit more development.
My main qualm is that everything tied up a little too quietly, nicely, and quickly at the end. Everything happened way too fast for me.
But overall pretty freaking great. Definitely would recommend.
Profile Image for Jenny.
237 reviews348 followers
April 12, 2017


“The more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they’re gone, and maybe it’s that middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you’re near enough.”

Wow. This was such an emotional and moving story, and nothing like I had thought it would be. This was definitely not a cute love story, at least not entirely focused on romance, which was the first impression I got when I read the blurb. But this book was so much better! Emmy and Oliver just became one of my top favorite contemporary reads!!


I had no idea about the book, especially when the title gives no hint and even the blurb doesn't clear anything. The characters in this story deals with some very heave and emotional situations, but despite that, the author managed to keep the scenes light with cute and funny moments between the main characters. We are being told that Oliver, Emmy's childhood best friend was kidnapped by his father and then never came back. But then Oliver returns one day and everything changes after that.

Emmy, who never forgot Oliver and always kept waiting for him to come back, comes to a realization that a lot of things has changed over these years, and with that, even Oliver has changed. She has to adjust a lot with the new changes in her life, with having to deal with Oliver and her parents, who always worry about her, ever since Oliver disappeared.

While Emmy and Oliver are getting to know each other again, the troubles with Emmy's parents keeps on getting more and more serious. Her parents were so paranoid, it was even annoying sometimes that they wouldn't let her do something just because they thought it wasn't safe for her. And while doing that, they didn't know that they were pushing her away with all the restrictions instead of understanding her. I felt really bad for Emmy in many parts, but at some point I could also see why her parents were like that. Seeing a child getting kidnapped is not a thing you forget easily, especially not when it's someone close to you, and Oliver's disappearance changed many people's lives.

It was a really emotional story, with the characters dealing with their past, accepting the new change in their lives (in this case, it was Oliver), and also living with a guilt that he was the reason why all that happened when actually it wasn't really his fault. Oliver's situation was the worst, and it was so sad to see him struggle to fit in this new life, when he was still trying to figure out what was right and what was wrong. My heart ached for Oliver whenever he would get emotional over his father, knowing that his father had kidnapped him, but still couldn't erase all those years he's been living with him. There was always a conflict between his heart and mind, but I was really glad that Emmy was with him the entire time.

There's not a lot of romance, to be honest. It's more about friendships, old love, family, and accepting changes. You might not be able to see any huge plot in this story, but the emotions? They're real, the raw emotions between the main characters will touch your heart. This entire story was so beautiful, even though it did made me teary in a lot of scenes, but this book was so worth it.

Even the characters in this book are very relatable. With Emmy, Oliver, and their best friends, it was one amazing group of characters. I also adored their friendship with each other, how they would stick with each other in all the situations, and even though their friendships had few ups and downs, they always talked it through and tried to solve the issues. And even their fights were adorable!!

It was such a great read, with a lot of emotional moments, but more of funny and cute scenes which I really enjoyed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a nice contemporary romance.
Profile Image for Jessica.
187 reviews56 followers
June 28, 2020
4.75.
I loved this book, it took me awhile because of school which I think is why it's not a solid 5/5. I love all of the characters, Emmy, Drew and Caro were hilarious. This book had me cracking up even though it had its more emotional moments. I really liked the realistic idea of parents and how they actually were in Emmy and Oliver's lives instead off in some other dimension (often done in YA) at first I was going to give this book a 4/5 but the more I thought about it the more I realised I had nothing bad to say. I would highly recommend this book seeing as I haven't heard anyone else talk about it and I can't wait to read more from Robin Benway.
Profile Image for emi.
73 reviews60 followers
August 23, 2017
An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking.

An engaging and intriguing novel, not only exposing the everyday dilemmas of adolescence growing up by the sea, but also tackling more serious, mature problems, and skillfully intertwining a most compelling mixture of psychology, friendship, diversity and light heartedness, that definitely help classify Emmy and Oliver as a very good contemporary.

Ooh, I liked this. It's one of those books that are just the perfect combination of fun, friendship and romance,whilst also juggling a fair share of deeper subjects and psychological problems. Plus, did I mention this book is set by the sea and there's lots of surfing?? It was one of those really cutesy kind of books (think puppies and hot chocolate and daisies), but with a few darker aspects, which did not make it any less enjoyable.

I liked that...

Family played a major role.
Can I get a round of applause, if you please? Finally, I have come across a YA contemporary that not only focuses on the life of a teenage girl, but also, on the people that have raised or lived with her. I LOVED THAT. I'll just be super blunt and openly say right off the bat that family dynamics are, unfortunately, so often neglected in YA, that finding a book that actually incorporates it, is like finding a gold nugget. ACTUALLY NO. It's like finding a pot of gold. Or a room decked in pearls and diamonds. Okay, I'll stop with the comparisons, I think you get the gist of it. Family is such an important part of any young person's life - whether it is their biological family, their guardians or the people who have raised them - they have such an impact on everything. After all, you are who you are partially due to them and the way you were brought up. Plus, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading about scenes taking place in the house, and most preferably in the kitchen (any guess as to why?) It just sets such a warm, and welcoming scene (if you guessed that kitchen=food, then congratulations to you, you smart lil child).

The characters, especially Emmy, were all likeable and realistic people.
I really loved Emmy as the main character. She was such a savage at times, and her wittiness and sarcasm are just top notch. But she was also a great friend. Her friendship with the other characters was a great example of what true friends should behave like towards each other. Although they had quarrels, they were never depicted as rude, back stabbing idiots towards each other, which was a huge relief. They were loyal and protective and caring and respectful of their differences.THANK GOD FOR THAT. All those vengeful, offensive, toxic, and can I mention, totally unnecessary, friendships can go kiss their backside. Anywho, although, I, at times, disliked the lack of communication between her and her parents (honestly, what is up with all these teens being rebels and sneaking out of the house? Like literally Emmy could have easily taken the time to have a serious talk with her parents about her dreams and explain everything to them, and not be a little annoying rebel and hide her passion. COME ON, how juvenile can you get, people?!? But at the same time her parents were a little 'too dramatic' at times too) - she was just generally, a great protagonist. Plus, she actually had a personality.And she is totally against the 'I'm not like other girls' trope.Take a look at this:

Like, what’s wrong with being like other girls?

You don't need to worry about her being a personality-less robot, if that's any consolation (no offense to Wall-E, he 100% had a great personality) Also, the other characters were very well developed too, not over-done, and they felt like real joes.

The book took place in a small town by the ocean, which means...
surfing, and beaches, and rusty vans covered in sand, and small restaurants and tacos... you get the drill. And, it's not overly-descriptive either, (is that a sigh of relief I hear?),actually, I barely remember there being any descriptions at all, so rest assured that you won't be bored to death by descriptions of the 'sun's illuminating rays' or the 'sky's multitude of pinks and oranges'. Yes, I know, thank the Lord for that. I mean, a good description is always highly appreciated, but come on, if I wanted to read some beautiful writing, I would have picked up The Great Gatsby or Jane Eyre not a YA contemporary. I come here for entertainment and leisure, lads, not for mind blowing literature. You feel me? Anyway, it was such an atmospheric read (wait, can a book even be atmospheric? that just proves that... logic≠Jayne) and I think it would be one of those books either perfect for summer or for any time during the school year, when you just need a transfer to a warmer, sunnier climate.

It deals with following dreams and the future.
Who doesn't love a good ol' coming of age tale, where the character is thinking about possibilities for the future and their wish to follow the dream and passion and do what they love and all that emotional jazz. Good stuff, that is, good stuff.

There are more thought provoking themes. That was certainly a major plus for me. A lot of psychology was involved, and I'm just a sucker for (PAIN! lmao just kidding, sorry, I just had to insert an Imagine Dragons song oops) psychology and the works of the human mind. Watching Oliver struggle between the criticism towards his father that people constantly indoctrinated him with VS his real bond with his father, that he developed over the years they spent together, was intriguing (and really sad) and 100% worth reading about if you're into stuff like that.

The friendships are great, and the book really payed a lot of attention to the entire group of friends, not just the main character and Oliver.
But that brings me to my next point - I didn't find the romance that great. Honestly, I would have expected something more from used-to-be-bestfriends to lovers (this is not a spoiler- just look at the cover lmao) I'd have expected there to be more chemistry between them (I realise how ridiculous I sound, but there's no other way to put it, yagetmeh?). But, their relationship felt a little flat and boring, whilst it could have really been tweeked a little to make it more special, because it really did have potential.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, and the author's attention to emotions and feelings. It was a good, entertaining read. And don't be fooled by the cheesy cover (it's actually pretty smart when you realize that it's formed out of two fingerprints which totally correlate to the story, but THAT'S BESIDES THE POINT), this isn't your conventional love story. It's so much more than that. You should give it a go, but keep in mind, that it's not perfect, and I just couldn't give it 5 stars, because although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it really wasn't a book that held a special place in my heart. Still worth a read, through! Especially if you're looking for a light, quick book for the weekend.

Oh, and do let me know what you thought of the book if you've read it or if you're planning on reading it!!
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
April 16, 2019
More like 4.5 stars
"We stayed and looked and waited for him to come back, as if our love was a beacon that he could use to light his way home, to crawl up the sides of the earth and back through his front door"
This book was so adorable. This is the first audiobook I've ever listened to, and it was an amazing experience. Can I just say that Phoebe Strole (the person who narrated the audiobook) has a lovely voice and brought these characters to life. This is a wonderful audiobook and I highly recommend it.

This is the story of Emmy & Oliver. Oliver got kidnapped by his Father when he was 7 years old, and Emmy was his best friend and next door neighbor. Now the story takes place 10 years later when they finally find Oliver and he returns to the small town where he grew up. This is a lovely and powerful story about growing up, family, friendships, and a whole lot more. I was surprised by how invested in this I became. These characters all felt so real and I loved all of them. Emmy has insanely strict parents and she's obsessed with surfing. Emmy's best friend Caro (short for Caroline) is so sassy and amazing and relatable. I loved her so much, she's a perfect example of a perfect side character. Drew is Emmy's other best friend who is gay and his family is having trouble accepting him. I loved the addition of an LGBT character in this book. It made it all the better. Oliver is probably my favorite character and the most interesting in my opinion. He's been through something so traumatizing, his own Father kidnapped him and now he has to find his place back in his old town. He's become a local celebrity with the kidnapping being on the news, and it's so interesting to see what it's like for him to adjust to this new life. It's difficult to see him struggle with happiness but it makes sense. He didn't know his Father had kidnapped him and now he's getting thrown back into a life he barely remembers. It's so fascinating. I feel like this book could have really benefited from having alternating perspectives between Emmy and Oliver. Emmy is a wonderful narrator, don't get me wrong, but I would've loved to see some chapters from Oliver's perspective. He's such an interesting character, I would've loved to read from his perspective.

“The only way I could describe what kissing him felt like was, like the last day of school, knowing that months of freedom and sunshine lay before you, the feeling that you could do anything you wanted and time stretched out in endless possibilities.”

Emmy and Oliver's romance was really cute and I enjoyed it a lot but that definitely isn't what this book is about. There's only a little romance, this is mainly a coming of age story for Emmy and mostly Oliver. I loved all the scenes with Emmy's parents as well because their family was so relatable with my family (but my parents aren't nearly as strict thankfully). I couldn't actually believe how strict her parents were at some points in this.

“Well, that’s growing up, isn’t it?” my dad said. “You don’t always have to know. And things aren’t always fair. You just have to keep moving forward. A step in one direction.”

I'm not going to lie, the ending made me cry a little bit, but that's probably only because I'm also currently at the same point in my life where I don't rely on my parents as much anymore and I'm more independent which is exciting and scary at the same time. It's hard to let your parents go and grow up and do things on your own and it's even harder for your parents to let you go. That was emphasized a lot in this book, and it was so heart warming and beautiful. I love good stories involving a family. It's a reminder of what's important in life.

“The more you start to love someone, the more you ache when they’re gone, and maybe it’s that middle ground that hurts the most, when you can see them and still not feel like you’re near enough.”

The writing style was very simplistic and sweet, it reminded me of Morgan Matson's writing style. The characters and writing style had very similar vibes to Morgan Matson's books, which was awesome. I just loved and adored this book so much. It was so so so good and cute and adorable and I miss it already. I looked forward to listening to this audiobook on the way to work everyday and now I'm not sure what I'll listen to haha. These characters will stay with me for quite some time. Really cute book, I highly recommend it.
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