Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

6:11 PM

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“Penny believed with her whole heart that there were moments - crucial instances - that defined who someone was going to be. There were clues or signs, and you didn't want to miss them.” 

Emergency Contact was originally a cover buy. I added it to my TBR/Most Anticipated Reads of 2018 solely over its cute cover. Kidding. Mostly--although, the cover is what initially caught my eyes. I am a total sucker for coming of age stories set within that awkward just-out of high school age bracket. Choi captures the very essence of this age beautifully--crafting us a tale of friendship and romance; the connection and disconnect of family and much more. I am always appreciative towards YA novels that take on this task--it feels very genuine and Emergency Contact embraces that feeling.

Ultimately, it's sweet and witty and still remains realistic to life. Emergency Contact is the sort of contemporary that won't necessarily blow your mind, but it will keep you warm and stick with you. It's a definite reread waiting to happen and highly enjoyable, even in the moments where it nearly trips over itself or puts its flaws on display. Fortunately, the flaws of the novel don't bring the story down in terms of quality; instead, it brings it down to earth and remains charming. If we're going to be picking one-worded reviews for novels, that's what this one would be: charming.

That being said, the characters are just as charming and fully rounded. Whereas many contemporary novels slack on developing the cast of characters we meet, Choi doesn't and really and truly creates something special. If you don't like the novel itself, you'll really like the characters. Penny and Sam have such a special bond, it's impossible not to love them.

One of the things I really loved about Emergency Contact were those brief moments told in texting. I am not always keen on that, but it just fits with this story so well. And it keeps things moving, when it could otherwise be at a standstill. In this day and age, there's an intimacy from texts and I liked that this was embraced a little bit.

Further, I liked the side characters as well.

Whether that be the friendships or the families, or ex-significant others, everyone just kind of... fit. Even if you didn't always like them. Choi tackled a lot of serious topics in the mix, both without fading the sincerity or glossing over things. Overall, I really did enjoy Emergency Contact and I'd highly recommend it to YA readers of all ages.

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