Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release Date: March 27, 2018
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.
This is a character driven novel. It’s not my favourite kind of story. I prefer a strong plot. But others will probably enjoy it more than me.
I liked the quirky characters. Penny was funny, and I loved how she was always so prepared. Sam was a tragic character. They both grew up in single parent households and faced some struggles. Jude and Mallory were the opposites of them, because they seemed like they had everything together. These contrasting characters were great.
It took a long time for the story to start moving forward. For the first hundred pages or so, the characters kept reflecting on things that happened to them in the past. I kept wondering where the story was going. For me, that was too long to start the main storyline.
Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure many other readers will enjoy this style.