Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway | Review

Author: Robin Benway
Published: June 23, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Library Overdrive

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?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.


This is a contemporary young adult romance novel, and it definitely doesn't disappoint in providing everything you would expect from exactly that. What makes Emmy & Oliver different from other books from the same genre is the plot. When Oliver is seven years old he is kidnapped by his father, and then ten years later reappears. This is what grabbed my attention when I first read the synopsis. I wanted to know how this theme would work into a young adult contemporary. 
Oliver goes through so much throughout the book. At first he is the dark, mysterious, brooding YA male lead. The whole uncertainty with who he is adds to that, and that tough exterior isn't broken until well into the book.He's learning to adjust to his new life that he's been thrown into. I mean, it's been ten years since he's last seen all these people from his hometown, it's going to take some time for him to feel comfortable around them and even the environment. He goes from living in New York City to a suburban home in California. 
The other main character, Emmy, is going through things that any seventeen year old would be going through in their senior year of high school. In Emmy's case she also has to deal with Oliver's kidnapping, and how that affected her growing up with overprotective parents.
I enjoyed the pacing of the novel. The dialogue and interaction between all the characters was believable. I liked how Robin Benway allowed the characters to be teenagers. They go to parties, they break the rules, and talk about college (and even community college!). That was one of my favorite parts of the novel was that it didn't feel like events and characters were being pushed into a certain direction for the sake of telling the story. Things happened the way I would sort of expect them to happen in real life. It didn't feel forced or fake.
I'm kind of struggling on how to feel about this book, because I got everything that I wanted out of it plus a great story with real characters. At the same time when I finished the book I didn't feel anything. I just sort of closed it and was done with it. The only thing I can think that might have affected that was maybe a stronger connection to the characters as a reader, but don't let that discourage you from picking this book up. If YA contemporary romance is your thing, but are kind of bored of the same sort of story, read this book!


  1. I think I felt the same way as well! Funny story, my dad read this as well, and he did not like that Emmy was surfing without telling her parents (but he did like that she was applying to colleges). And although I loved the story, I also felt that I didn't get anything from it. Sure, it was cute, but I need MORE! I would probably read another story by Robin Benway though, the dialogue she writes is hilarious.

    Great review Emma!

    1. Thanks, I was having trouble trying to put my review into words. I enjoyed it, but I didn't know if that was enough. I liked that they went through the college application process. It made the story all the more relatable.