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.
Benway handles the issues of this tragic situation sensitively and honestly, delving into more difficult, opposing emotions that Oliver faces in the aftermath of his return and those that Emmy has been experiencing ever since he disappeared. This sense of ambiguity about who the ‘bad guy’ is and whether Oliver’s return is actually a happily ever after adds to the realism of the novel. It makes for a fascinating read for someone who has never gone through such pains as described in Emmy & Oliver, and an uncomfortable, honest experience for those who are at all versed in this kind of hurt.
Though the story itself is tinged with unease, it does have its funny moments as well. Benway permeates the dark with moments of light, whether that be in the form of hyperactive twins, an awkward conversation or a party with friends, keeping the whole story afloat above the gloomy depths. And oh yeah, we love the easy, fun dialogue that is woven throughout: “Could you please stop dripping your sarcasm all over my car’s interior?”
There is a bittersweet balance to Emmy & Oliver: melancholy and the awareness of emotional scarring on one side, and the other a sense of healing, recovering. As mentioned before, there is a light to his dark circumstance, and there is a optimism swirled with the heavy-hearted.
Overall, Benway’s story of coming home, healing and ultimately, love, is a sensitive, moving story without ever becoming dismal. A spirited narration which doesn’t ignore its scars, we highly suggest you pick up this wonderful novel.
More bookish articles?
- Explore Derek Landy’s ‘Demon Road’ route with the official map
- MP Exclusive Extract: Get a taste of ‘Unbecoming’, from Jenny Downham, author of ‘Before I Die’
- Parallel universes, teenage love and strong ladies: MP! chats to Josephine Angelini, author of ‘Worldwalker’ series
- WIN! ‘Trial By Fire’ and ‘Firewalker’ by Josephine Angelini
- Get your hands on £200 to spend in Miss Selfridge and a copy of ‘Sunkissed’
- WIN! Signed copy of CJ Daughter’s ‘The Secret Fire’ – plus check out the FREE chapter
- MP! Review: ‘Sunkissed’ by Jenny McLachlan is funny, sweet and better than anticipated
- MP! Review: ‘Demon Road’ is a must for thrill-seekers, horror-lovers and fans of Supernatural
- Derek Landy talks to The Bookseller about the American roadtrip, trilogies and Skulduggery Pleasant