‘Emmy and Oliver’ defies expectations

Emmy and Oliver defies expectations

While looking for another book to review, I got on a chromebook and searched the Abe List and scrolled down on the list, looking at book titles and familiar authors.

I got down to Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway and stopped. The book title jumped out at me. Not because it was an original or unique title, but because — get this — one of my dogs is named Oliver. So naturally, I had to check this out.

I ordered it on Amazon and impatiently waited for it for the next couple of days, excited to get my hands on a new book that wasn’t The Odyssey or One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or any other book we were required to read in English.

I received it on a Thursday and immediately started to read it. I plopped down on my leather couch in the living room and opened it up. By the second sentence, I was swept away into the novel.

Just in the first chapter, the story pulls you in. I was expecting a typical teenage-romance novel, a book to criticize for its cliches and overused plot line. But Emmy and Oliver does not have that narrative.  

The book starts out with a bang, an immediate attention-grabber that no one who was looking for a romance novel would expect: the kidnapping of a seven-year-old boy named Oliver.

Just in second grade, the main character, Emmy, finds out that her best friend has been kidnapped by his father. After countless searches and police reports, young Oliver still isn’t found.

Ten years later, Emmy and her friends Drew and Caro get a call from Emmy’s parents, saying that the lost boy has been found in New York City. Now Emmy, Oliver, Drew and Caro all reunite as friends, and Oliver needs to figure out where he belongs once more.

OK, I have to admit, the book does have some slow parts to it. For example, when Oliver first comes back, it seems as though the author is just procrastinating from getting to the good stuff, writing chapter upon chapter of Oliver and Emmy just staring at each other and having slight conversations. But this only happens a few times throughout the book. The rest of it is sneaking behind parents’ backs, partying, finding yourself, and — as you may have guessed from the cover — love.

It’s kind of like The Fault In Our Stars, only no one is dying of cancer in this book. They’re becoming friends, growing closer and closer together, then — BAM! — feelings.

Another parallel between these two books are the main characters, Emmy and Hazel. They both have similar personalities: funny, kind, a girl who thinks of herself as ugly but in reality is beautiful. However, Emmy sneaks behind her parents’ back to do something that they would never allow her to do: surfing on the high tides (but I guess Hazel really couldnt do that, even if she really wanted to).

Overall, it was an excellent book, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves romance and slight adventure. The plot was fresh and it was an easy read. It was hard for me to put down! I guess there’s a reason this book is on the Abe List for 2017 nominees.

So if this sounds like a good book for you, I suggest you go grab it, curl up with some hot chocolate and a blanket, and start reading this fantastic novel. Happy holidays!