Emmy & Oliver completely blew me away. It was a really beautiful and heart breaking (at times!) character driven story that explores the pain of separation and being left behind. What I loved about this book, was that it didn’t focus so much on the before, but the after. Oliver has been gone for 10 years, leaving his family and best friend Emmy to deal with the media storm that followed. It was so well written and I savoured every word.
The characters were so complex and ridiculously natural. They leapt right off the page, and I think that’s mostly because the dialogue was hyper-realistic. I envy the relationship Emmy has with Caro and Drew – they’re all so witty! Their friendship was so so strong and it was really nice to to not have to read the usual teenage drama stuff and I think it’s because the trio had to mature a lot earlier so they could understand what had happened to their friends. I felt for both Caro and Drew. This is how you use secondary characters, people!
I think my favourite relationship in this novel, though, has to be Emmy and her parents. Parents are normally so absent in YA literature, it was an absolute breathe of fresh air to read about overprotective parents! I could relate to both sides of the argument: with Emmy who had struggled to feel free under her parents paranoid gaze, and with the parents who only wanted the best for their daughter. The progression in their understanding of one another was a really wonderful element to the story. In fact, the role of parents in general really made this book different to any other contemporaries out there.
Of course, I loved Emmy and Oliver together, they were adorable. I feel like their relationship should’ve had a lot more problems than it did, but they were just so good at communicating, I guess that’s just a trope I expected to read here. Thank goodness it wasn’t. I constantly feared for their relationship, because I really though something horrible was going to happen. I suppose, in some way, I thought there would be more to this book, but considering the title is Emmy & Oliver that is exactly what you get.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story and couldn’t put it down. It’s such a beautiful read, and the excellent characters reminded me of Morgan Matson (who is mentioned in the acknowledgments) novels, so for me was right up there with my other favourites. 5 stars for a wonderfully bittersweet story that will stay with you forever, as cheesy as it sounds!