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Emergency Contact

Review

Emergency Contact

Penny is so excited to finally be in college. It is finally her chance to live her own life and be her own person, although high school wasn’t that bad for her. Sam lives above the coffee shop he works at and is totally broke. To top it off, he’s still very much not over his ex. Neither Sam nor Penny is very social, but after a chance encounter, they swap phone numbers and become each other’s “emergency contact.” Through their phones, they text about everything and become great friends. It’s not weird to have a friend that you only text, right? Mary H. K. Choi manages to weave an enticing story about what it means to love someone and how friendships can form in the most random of places in EMERGENCY CONTACT.

Mary H. K. Choi covers some rough topics in the book, including unplanned pregnancies, sex, poverty and bad parents. She manages to write her story so that these issues are present and are clearly addressed, but she also portrays them as just a part of life. They happen to lots of people, and she writes her story realistically, showing that bad situations can happen to anyone.

"EMERGENCY CONTACT....was beautifully written (with super awesome cover art), and by the end of the book I was attached to all of the characters."

Choi, through Penny, writes about how so many main characters are white. The default in most books is white, and sometimes it’s easy to picture all of the characters that way when it’s not like that in the real world. It was great to read about an Asian main character. Often, characters of color are in stories because their race will become a plot point later on, so I appreciated reading a story where the minority character was just like everyone else. It was also really relatable, since Penny talks about not seeing characters that look like her in books and I find that hard for me as well.

I also loved all the characters in EMERGENCY CONTACT. They were three-dimensional and they had their own lives going on besides the story. They felt like real people that I could meet. In some ways I would have liked to see more of their lives going on, but in other ways it was nice to feel like the characters didn’t only exist for the plot of the book, that I was only reading snapshots of their lives. The characters were so random, for which I give major kudos to Choi. The characters weren’t written like they were sculpted to fit in each other’s story, but they managed to fit together because of how Choi wrote them, in ways that happen in the real world.

Overall I would completely recommend EMERGENCY CONTACT. It was beautifully written (with super awesome cover art), and by the end of the book I was attached to all of the characters. I even cried three times while reading it, so you know it must be something special. EMERGENCY CONTACT is a sweet story about the special bonds you can form with everyone around you, and while reading it I think I created my own special bond with the characters. I would definitely recommend.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on April 25, 2018

Emergency Contact
by Mary H. K. Choi