Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading 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 good-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration 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, you know, see each other.
I was super nervous to read this book because I have seen so so many mixed reviews. From what I’ve seen people have either loved this book and given it five stars or totally hated it. I was a little surprised to find that I found myself landing somewhere in the middle. I gave it three stars on GoodReads.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was entertaining and I feel that I read it pretty quickly once I actually got more than fifty pages into it. As with any book, there were things I liked and things I didn’t like. In this case, the things I didn’t like weren’t anything too crazy, mostly just things that I think could have been done better.
One of those things was the relationship between the three girls that were introduced to at the beginning of the story. Penny’s roommate pulls her into her circle and the three girls are made out to be best friends, but there were really only two memorable scenes with the three of them actually going somewhere. I think the friendship could have been more fleshed out and better. I also thought Sam’s past could have been a bit more in depth. There were a few things that he talks about that just seems a bit vague to me. I actually think all around there were just several opportunities to go into more detail with the story, like Penny’s classes and other various things.
I liked Penny (mostly). I liked that she was a writer. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of the story. I loved the scenes with the friend she makes in her writing class and I really loved the parts we did get to read of the story she wrote. She was a little annoying here and there, but c’mon, what eighteen-year-old isn’t a little annoying?
I really liked Sam. I’m a sucker for the damaged boy with issues that finds the girl he feels like he can finally talk to. I think Sam’s character could have been so much more. There are so many things mentioned that could have been further elaborated on but weren’t. Most of the story talks about his ex-girlfriend. I think I would have liked him even more if we had gotten more of the Sam that is in the second half of the book rather than the ex-girlfriend drama we got for most of the story.
On the whole, I enjoyed this book. It was a mostly fluffy romance that could have been better. I really think that everything could have been just more. More detail, more information, more development.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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6 thoughts on “Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

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