Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
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Emmy's best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?Emmy & Oliver is a book that is really hard for me to review. I think I might have suffered from skyscraper syndrome when it comes to this one. I had seen far too many glowing reviews, every one praising this book and it's adorable romance, and this made my expectations skyrocket. It's not that I ended up crushingly disappointed by the story, I just didn't end up loving it anywhere near as much as I thought that I would.
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. She wants to stay out late, surf her favourite beach - go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up - not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like two different puzzle pieces - impossible to fit together?
My main issue with the book came down to the whole kidnap storyline with Oliver and his father. My issue wasn't that the storyline was unrealistic, it's something that happens a lot and you would frequently see similar storylines on the news. No, my issue was more with how long it took for Oliver to be found. He's living in a world with the internet, where people google absolutely everything. But he doesn't think to try and google his mother, the woman he believes abandoned him. And I also have to forgive eight-year-old Oliver for being so dumb and not questioning why, if his mother was the one who left, why he and his father were the ones moving and taking new names. I mean, maybe I am surrounded by ridiculously intelligent children, but any eight-year-old I know would question that. The obvious answer for why Oliver didn't google his mother is the fact that then we would lose a big part of the plot to this story. But still... I am bothered.
The adorable, cutesy romance aspect to the story seems to be what so many people loved about it. And, yes, it's adorable and super cute, but it felt like it was just too cute for me. It felt almost too easy for these two characters to fall back into one another after all they had been through, and the fact they were just children when Oliver left. Maybe I'm just turning into a horribly negative human being. Or that I was not in the right frame of mind for a cute, teen romance when I read this. That's probably ridiculously close to the truth, I remember being rather stressed out about other things when I was reading this particular book. I feel like maybe, if I read this when in a much better and happier frame of mind, this could be a book I love.
Emmy's family were also utterly ridiculous and frustrated the hell out of me as I as reading this. A small part of me understands them and why they are so overprotective and overbearing. But then there's a bigger, much louder part of me that's screaming at my book in utter frustration and confusion. It's not like Oliver was snatched away in the middle of the night, by some evil, murderer/paedophile. He was taken by his own father, who was afraid of losing custody and went the stupid route when coming up with a way to deal with it. I know it was hard for them to watch their friend struggle with losing their child. But I still don't understand the way it made them act toward their own daughter. They were afraid of everything and anything and were smothering their own child because of it. I felt they were utterly ridiculous and Emmy needed to grow up and take control of her own life. I honestly wouldn't have been able to handle those two as my parents, Emmy clearly has way more self control than I do. They were making Emmy live her whole life for them, which is a shitty thing to do as parents.
I didn't have any strong negative feelings towards this book, and it's not that I didn't like the book either. It is a very cute contemporary read, with an adorable romance that I am sure many will love. But I had read a lot of better contemporaries around the same time, and this one just didn't manage to impress me in quite the same way. I think the gushing reviews I read and my high expectations didn't help either, it made it almost impossible for this book to live up them. But I honestly would recomend it if you want a cute contemporary, you won't be disappointed.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review