Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. ChoiTitle: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 27, 2018

four-half-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

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Review

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is the kind of book that really makes you feel for the characters. Angsty yet adorable, this book is about two people who are each other’s emergency contact. I enjoyed the relatable main characters and the use of texts throughout the book. This story surprised me, and I would definitely recommend it.

This book tells the story of two people who decide to exchange phone numbers and become each other’s emergency contact after an incident in the street. I loved the use of media such as text messages and how the book is able to be both angsty and humorous at the same time. The story is original and realistic, and it doesn’t shy away from more serious topics. I don’t typically read many angsty books, but I’m glad that I gave this one a shot.

Sam and Penny are both interesting characters, and I enjoyed reading about their interactions. Sam is working at a bakery and is down on his luck. Penny is a new university student who is also taking care of her mom. Both of them are awkward and angsty, and they are easy to relate to. They support each other so much, and their relationship online is such goals. Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of their cuteness together.

Part  of what makes this book so interesting is the use of text messages. Since Penny and Sam mostly interact online, this is their primary method of communication. I loved how the texts are actually formatted like texts instead of the lengthy paragraphs I so often see, and the language used is true to their ages and authentic. While I was reading, I looked forward to their messages, since they offer something different and entertaining to read.

Emergency Contact is a cute yet sombre read with realistic main characters. I enjoyed the use of texts and the accurate use of slang. I would recommend this one to those who are looking for a more serious read.

About Mary H.K. Choi

Image of Mary H.K. Choi

Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.


19 thoughts on “Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

  1. anovelglimpse says:

    I wasn’t expecting this one to be angsty. I thought adorable from the blurb, though. This book wasn’t on my radar, but now I’m curious. I might just have to read this one after your review! I love a good combination of angsty and adorable! Nice review!

  2. Annie Shaw says:

    “Text messages” and “a more serious read”? I never would have connected those two things before now! I had to giggle at that. I wonder how long it took her agent to persuade a publisher that was the case. Speaking of publishers, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers doesn’t seem a logical match for a New Adult title! This book truly must be something special. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I shall look out for it at the library. Great review.

    • The Candid Cover says:

      I know, right?! I have been noticing that S&S has had some titles that are a bit out of their typical leagues. I am so happy that they gave this one the green light. I hope that you enjoy it if you do give it a try. 🙂

  3. Mary @StackingMyBookShelves! says:

    This sounds like it will be an emotional read for me. I will have to pick this one up. I like that there are so believable characters in it and that it has the text messaging aspect. I loved that in Everything, Everything. Thanks for the great review and another book that I must read!

    Mary

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