by Robin Benway
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: June 23, 2015 by HarperTeen
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Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf at her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. Like a dark cloud, their low-level panic follows her wherever she goes. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her go – not since the day ten years ago when her best friend Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his life.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He’d thought that his mother had left them when he was in second grade. He never knew that his dad kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it all at once—and returning to his old hometown—has his heart aching and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. To Emmy, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still meant to be? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?
This book is probably one of the cutest books I have read this year. You would think it is a romance-filled story but it so much more than that. It also focuses on friendship, family, self-discovery and growing up.
Emmy and Oliver had been the best of friends when they were kids—they were inseparable. One day, Oliver’s father kidnaps him which leaves the town, especially Emmy, distraught. They stay hopeful that one day Oliver will appear. This kidnapping left many scarred especially Emmy’s parents. They are very protective her. Her mom doesn’t even want Emmy to move away to college, saying that Emmy is better off at a nearby community college. What no one knows is that Emmy has applied to a college 2 hours from home, where she will be able to join the surf team, another secret she has been keeping from her parents. Ten years later, Oliver returns and everyone is so happy about the news but Oliver feels like he has been kidnapped all over again. Will Emmy be able to rekindle their friendship?
This story is complex and sensitive, yet beautiful. Every relationship was much highlighted in the story with nothing left to the imagination. We get to read about Emmy, Drew and Caro’s friendship, which has to be by far the best friendship ever. There is so much witty banter that will leave you laughing out loud and wanting a friendship like they have. We also get to read about the relationship that Emmy has with her parents, which isn’t an easy one. Her parents are overprotective and they treat her like she is a child. I mean, she has to be in bed by 10pm! Like…what?! I related to Emmy and her parents because mine can get protective at times but never to that extent. Let’s not forget about Oliver’s half sisters! They are so cute and very, very hyper. Emmy babysits them to help Oliver’s mom, who doesn’t know how to work with Oliver. She feels like Oliver’s ignoring her and doesn’t want to have a relationship with her but then Emmy comes to the rescue and:
“I’m actually legally obligated to ignore her [Emmy’s mom]. The other teenagers and I made a pact. There were lawyers involved; it’s a whole thing now.”
I love all of the characters, especially Emmy and Drew. They are so funny and amazing. Oliver is a complex character that the reader will love. At first, I was skeptical about his character but my love for him grew. I must say, while I did laugh for the majority of the book, I was a ball of emotions, too. We get short chapters on Emmy and Oliver as kids, which had me a mess. I would tear up at every chapter that was written in their past. And the last chapter? Wow! That one did bring the tears. I’m so glad I read this beautifully written story with funny and relatable characters.
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