Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Friendship, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
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.
An amazing cast of characters
Hands down, the strongest aspect of EMERGENCY CONTACT was the characters. Sam and Penny felt like friends I have known in real life, with genuine emotions and quirks and problems that are easy to relate to. Even the side characters stood out and were strong characters on their own.
The “emergency contact” texting aspect was also super cute, and easy to relate to, especially in this age. I know quite a few of my friendships started off only through messaging, and I’ve still yet to meet some of my closest friends in person (Bec). It was even better because although the two characters messaged, there was no insta-love, and I thought any romantic angle developed naturally. Their relationship was easy to believe in.
Doesn’t shy away from discussing real issues
Another thing that was great about this novel was that it talks about realistic, relevant issues like race, sex, and familial relationships. I would say it’s geared towards the older side of a young adult audience, but discusses important issues that any YA reader can benefit from.
Side plots that didn’t lead to anything
I like it when contemporary books have a few other things going on besides just focusing on the romantic angle. EMERGENCY CONTACT tried to do that, but a lot of the side plots sort of got lost throughout the book, or were sort of just glossed over and forgotten about. This was disappointing, because I felt that some of them had strong potential to influence character development, but the side plots here almost seemed like filler.
Overall I think EMERGENCY CONTACT is a solid contemporary romance that is heavily character-driven. If you like other YA romances I would definitely give this one a shot.