November 12, 2018 by TinyNavajo
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
*Published March 27, 2018*
*Trigger warning: mentions of rape*
Oh. My. GOSH!!! I thought this book was so cute and as soon I read the blurb for it, I thought it was perfect for a book about starting your first year of college. Granted, I had a different experience at college, but it still felt like college.
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
I think what I loved most about this book was that Sam and Penny could get to know each other without having to actually be around each other. They were each other’s anchor in a world that is seeking to throw them overboard and it was so cute to me. And the way they were able to help each other in their times of need really spoke to me how much they were able to connect with each other and get to know each other. For Penny, she needed someone who she could essentially word vomit all over as she’s thinking through her creative writing course and Sam is her person. For Sam, while he and his ex-girlfriend from hell are going through a crisis concerning her possibly being pregnant, Sam needs someone who is not family and who is not connected to him to rant and rave and just plain old talk to when he has no one else to really turn to. Especially when his ex continues to mess with his head.
As Sam and Penny tell each other just about everything without ever having seen each other, they start to realize that they just may be what the other needs, not only in school but in life as well. But as with all good things that seem too good to be true, one little thing messes them up and they’re not quite sure what to do next. As they figure out how to fit into each other’s lives they also figure out how to fix what was messed up in their own lives and families. Sometimes, all it takes is to have your emergency contact to help you in times of crisis.
What is your ideal meet-cute? What stories embody it? Comment below and let me know!