C.G. Drews's Reviews > Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, best-of-2019, contemporary, read-2019, young-adult

I am absolutely wholly and messily in love with this book. It totally caught my heart and I turned into an invertible bucket of soapy emotions. I just??? loved everything about it. The anxiety rep was SO GOOD. Not to mention I am half in love with Penny and Sam and by the end I just wanted to tuck this book to my chest and hold it forever.

I knew I’d like it…but noooo. I LOVED it.

➸ It’s a story of college and the awkwardness of growing up and anxiety.
I really like books about upper-teens, early-20s, because there’s so much to unpack with those first feels of being out of home and discovering who you are as a person when no one else knows you. Both Sam and Penny have messy relationships with their parents and both are stuck. Penny feels like a veritable blob that no one cares about or finds interesting and she’s scared to be open or get close to people (with good reason but…spoilers shh). Sam is crushingly in love with his ex who does NOT love him back and he’s got about $17 bucks to his name and can’t even pay for college. He literally lives in the coffee shop where he works and he’s spiralling into an anxious depressed heap.

➸ I found them both SO relatable.
They both narrate and maybe I liked Sam’s chapters a little more. He is a soft boy™ and he bakes (HE BAKES!!!) and if his hair is fluffy, he’s feeling the softest (I was WAITING for his hair to get fluffy for Penny afjdkslad). Penny wants to be, to actually exist, after a life of non-existing. She’s Korean-American and tired of casual racism and being the tagalong friend. They meet because of a mutual friend, but then Sam basically has a panic attack AND FAINTS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION and Penny scrapes him off the ground and they become “emergency contacts”. Aka they text. All the time.

IT IS SO ADORABLE. I DIE. Their relationship was SO well built up that I rooted for them as friends, and then…just kiss, you little onions. Just kiss.

➸ I loved all the diversity in the book too!
From the #ownvoices Korean-American representation (there is an EXCELLENT dialogue in Penny’s writing class about writing diversity that was just…so important) to the anxiety rep (they both struggle with it for different reasons and it was wholly relatable to me). It also was about being poor and had body-acceptance messages. AND IT HAD A+ BAKED GOODS REP. What we all deserve.

➸ Basically what I want from a book? MAKE ME FEEL.
And I felt all the things for these two afjdksald. The book is basically: “NOBODY has their shit together, it’s ok to lean on your friends.” And I love that??? There is no “their love cures them!” but instead it’s about how you do. not. have. to. be. alone when you’re going through stuff.

It is full of little everyday emergencies and twisty complex feelings and the slowest gentlest romance that was just so frikkin’ sweet, my heart melted. It made me care about Sam and Penny. 10/10 would do anything for them.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Mary H.K. Choi
“I like knowing that you exist. It doesn't make me feel any less lonely, because life is lonely, but it makes me feel a lot less alone.”
Mary H.K. Choi, Emergency Contact

Mary H.K. Choi
“Penny thought of this Korean saying for when you really, really liked something. You'd say it 'fit your heart exactly.' Sam fit her heart exactly.”
Mary H.K. Choi, Emergency Contact


Reading Progress

May 1, 2018 – Shelved
May 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 10, 2019 – Started Reading
January 10, 2019 –
page 86
21.83% "ok this was an excellent decision to read this straight after The Wicked King. It's absolutely vastly different genre/style/tone/content and I'm not falling into the dreaded hangover !!!! AND I love this!!!"
January 13, 2019 –
page 234
59.39% "it's official: i'm absolutely in love with this book (!!!)"
January 14, 2019 – Shelved as: 5-star
January 14, 2019 – Shelved as: best-of-2019
January 14, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 14, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
January 14, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 14, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Jade (new) - added it

Jade Caprio There was a lot of mixed reviews for this book so I bought it when came out but I still haven't read it 🙈 I'll have to put it on next month's TBR!


Heather York 110% one of my favourite reads last year!!!


C.G. Drews I wasn't expecting to love it this much but ahhh!! SO MUCH.


Whitney Just out of curiosity, do you have anxiety? I just ask because I have an anxiety disorder and I found the rep in this book to be inconsistent at best and very “wth?” at worst.

I’m always surprised when people LOVE this book. I wanted to like it so much and I was very thoroughly disappointed.


message 5: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie Rose I've seen such mixed things about this one but now I know you enjoyed it, it's going on my TBR!


C.G. Drews @Whitney: I do have a diagnosed anxiety disorder and I found the rep so relatable.


C.G. Drews @Jamie: I'm so glad I was convincing eep!


Dana I cried so much while reading this. It was so painfully easy to relate to Penny and Sam: panic attacks, noisy brain, rage, word vomit, and all. I haven't felt this way about a book since Eliza and Her Monsters.


C.G. Drews @Dana: yesss exactly. my heart just felt for them both so much and how relatable they were


message 10: by Katrina♡•• (new)

Katrina♡•• Great review! I am now convinced to read this =)


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