Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

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For the past month or so, every time I saw a review for this book, I silently hoped that it would be a bad review. Not because I didn’t want to see the book received well, but because I’ve been anticipating it for a long time and after all the 4 and 5 star reviews I was terribly afraid that the book would never live up to it’s hype for me. Right before I started the book I saw that the average rating on Good Reads is 3.95 (as of today anyways), which surprised me since I don’t think I’ve seen one blog post that gave it less than 4. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough to keep me from being a little let down.

The premise was interesting and the parts where we actually hear Oliver talk about what happened were good and probably my favorite parts of the book. I wish we would’ve gotten his POV because I think that would’ve added a lot to the story. Though we slowly get to know his character, he wasn’t as well developed as I would’ve liked.

I kept hearing about what great friendships are in this story, but they were really underdeveloped for me. Once Emmy started hanging out with Oliver, we barely see her other friends and Oliver only really has a couple of good scenes with them. Though it’s later implied that he becomes closer with them, we don’t get to see him develop a relationship with anyone but Emmy. Speaking of which, the romance was kind meh. There were a couple of cute moments, but I never really got invested in them. I liked reading the parts where Oliver opens up about the past ten years and what he’s feeling now much more than the parts that focus on the romance.

I’m an adult and I read a lot of YA and every once in awhile there are YA books that make me feel like I’m too old to be reading them. That’s how Emmy’s character made me feel most of the time. Emmy was kind of brat. Granted her parents were pretty strict and overprotective, but they were good parents that cared about her and she was just so overdramatic about them. She was constantly lying and sneaking around and so very self-involved. There were some good scenes, though, between her and her parents, especially with her dad.

Overall, it was a fast, easy read that had a few cute moments, but was just an ok read for me. I think I would still give it the same rating if there wasn’t any hype around it, but since there was so much hype it’s left me a little disappointed. It’s definitely one I’m glad I waited for from the library instead of buying.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars

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18 thoughts on “Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

  1. I know exactly what you mean about some YA feeling too young. This happens to me every once and a while. You know you are getting too old when you start agreeing with the parents in YA fiction 😉 lol. It’s nice to see a not so positive review pop up for a hyped book. It keeps things in perspective. Thanks Stephanie :).

    • Yes, I was definitely appreciating the MC’s parents more in this book. And I hate when I don’t agree with the hype, but hopefully it will temper someone else’s expectations and keep them from being disappointed.

  2. There’s quite a bit of hype with this title but I haven’t read it. I’ve heard of the author but I’ve never read the author’s other books either. I do want to, though.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it overall but I understand how your perception of emmy could be different. Personally, I might see her views because I’m a teenager NOW and even though I’m in the wrong, it’s very natural to be thinking I’m right sometimes. You live and learn, right?

    • I haven’t read anything else by this author, either. I hope you enjoy it when you get to this. You might like Emmy more than I did. There are a lot of other YA books where I like and relate to the heroine, but Emmy just really didn’t do it for me. I would say I hope you will relate to her better, but honestly I hope you don’t act like her haha!

  3. From the premise, I would have thought that Oliver’s story would have been the focus of the book and the relationship between him and Emmy the secondary storyline. It’s disappointing when a bk doesn’t live up to expectations.

    • It’s definitely more about what happened to Emmy when Oliver left and then her and Oliver’s relationship and Oliver’s storyline just seems to be part of Emmy’s. Not to say that’s all bad because the story is from Emmy’s POV so it’s going to be more about her, it’s just not what I wanted, I guess.

  4. ohh, I get worried about these books which have SUPER high ratings too. It’s such a scary thing because expectations just get sooo high. *gulps* I do want to read this one, but to be honest, Emmy sounds a little irritating. 😐
    Loved this review though!! I feel like I’ve got more balanced expectations when I go to read it. 😉
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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  6. I’m so glad I read your review! I have Emmy & Oliver on my “wish list,” but as an adult who reads YA (and who doesn’t like feeling old!), maybe this isn’t the best choice for me.

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