Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H. K. Choi
Publisher: Simon& Schuster Books for Young Readers
Penny Lee is heading to college and glad. High school wasn’t for her, and she’s happy to be spreading her wings and staring her journey to being a writer. Her first day, she meets Sam, her roommates “uncle” and is immediately attracted. Meanwhile, Sam is overwhelmed with the idea his ex-girlfriend might be pregnant and not in the best place in his life. When a panic attack causes him and Penny to cross paths again, they agree to become each other’s emergency contact and start texting each other. The more they text, the more attracted they are toward each other, but each is unsure if they’re ready to take the next step.
I struggled with this one. I just found Penny to be so unlikable. She judges everyone from her mom to her new roommate and just… I don’t know. Isn’t very nice. Now, I know characters don’t need to be nice to be likable, or a character doesn’t need to be likable for a story to be good, but in this case, it was detrimental to the plot.
However, I think Penny’s likability was part of her journey as a character. The more Penny and Sam communicated, the more understandable Penny became. She opened up to the world, she faced her flaws, and she became more well rounded.
Sam didn’t go through quite the same journey. He had issues that he had to work through, and he did, and was changed from the beginning, but I don’t feel like he experienced quite the same growth and awakening as Penny did. I liked him better than Penny, but I wasn’t as invested in him.
This book overall was interesting. The characters went through growth and helped me relate to and understand them better. I struggled in the beginning, and I feel there were some threads that were left unfinished or hanging, but it was a solid read with a good ending.