‘Emmy & Oliver’ is an unusual read. To look at it, you would expect it to be like any YA romance – cute, funny, with a little bit of teenage angst added in for good measure. However, Robin Benway’s latest YA novel throws us a curve ball: the return of a kidnapped child, Oliver, 10 years after he was last seen.
Emily applied through our You Review section and got a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Let’s see what she thought below:
Have you read any of Robin Benway’s books before? If not, would you consider doing so in future? Despite the fact that I consider myself someone who reads a wide range of YA, I had never heard of Robin Benway before learning about this novel. However now, I would definitely be interested in reading more of her novels.
‘Emmy and Oliver’ has a wide cast of interesting, funny characters. Do you have a favourite? Emmy and Oliver does have a wide cast of fabulous characters, making it so challenging for me to pick a favourite. I’m going to think outside of the box and go with Emmy’s parents, because I know that parents are entirely underrepresented in YA. They are an endangered, nearly extinct species so I admire Robin Benway’s bravery in daring to write parents. Her risk certainly paid off as Emmy’s parents are funny, caring and protective, making them the perfect blend to be an imperfect set of realistic parents.
Favourite scene/moment? How on earth can you ask for my favourite scene and not expect me to spend seven years picking? This book is chock full of adorable moments but I certainly laughed a lot whilst reading chapter 17. In the scene, Emmy and Oliver are at Caro’s house before the party and their banter is just hilarious. I love the discussion about the eyelash curler!
This book deals with some very serious and messy issues. Do you think it handled them well? Definitely. I think it’s really tough for a contemporary YA book to deal with difficult topics without it becoming an issues book that’s entirely focused on the issue and nothing else. This book handles the kidnapping of Oliver by his dad, very sensitively, never making judgements, simply showing all of the various people’s different views and how it impacted their lives. For me, this is the best way for a novel to explore an issue as if the other comes across as opinionated and judgemental, it can be difficult for reader to enjoy.
Be honest, did you cry? I didn’t actually cry, however my eyeballs did become more moist than usual during certain parts of this book.
Rate out of 10: 9.5 (Am I allowed halves? I hope so, as I wouldn’t know how to round it. It deserves more than a 9, but I’m wary if giving 10s)