Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 400 Pages
Published March 2018

Summary: 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 bought a copy of this book at the bookstore the day it was released, because it sounded so freaking cute and I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I'm so glad that I made that choice, because I ended up reading such a funny, heart-warming story full of friendship, secrets, and even a little bit of love.

As the summary explains, Penny runs into Sam, a barista at her college coffee shop, a few days into moving to campus. They immediately click, but there's a slight problem -- Sam is Jude's uncle. And Jude is Penny's roommate, and arguably her only friend on campus. So Penny struggles with her budding friendship with Sam while also trying to keep it from Jude, and on top of all of that, she's trying to get settled into her new college life. And did I mention the part that she's constantly butting heads with her over-the-top mother? 

I really enjoyed reading this book. It took me a little while to get into it at first because Penny's character was hard to pin down at first. We got a lot about what was going on with the people around her, but I couldn't tell what she really liked or what her personality was like. But I kept reading and eventually the friendship between Penny and Sam started picking up speed, and I found myself sucked into the story and unable to put this book down. Even though the book was sort of big (almost 400 pages!), I flew through it because I just kept wanting to flip the pages and see what was going to happen next. It took me a little bit to warm up to this story, but once I did, I fell hard and fast.

Something else that I thought enhanced my reading experience was the fact that I started reading this book shortly after its release, which meant so many of our other awesome blogger friends were reading it at the same time! It felt like we were all in one little adorable book club, reading along with each other and sharing our thoughts and gushing over all of the adorable stuff at the same time. It's been awhile since I've had a group experience like that, so that definitely made me enjoy reading this book even more!

group hug hollywood week GIF by American Idol

My favorite character in this book was definitely Sam. Even though he was hot-headed and closed off a lot of the time, he definitely spoke to me and I found myself really interested in him from the very beginning. Not just because he seemed super attractive (but I mean, that is certainly a bonus), but because he seemed to be working through so many struggles and rough patches in his life that my heart immediately went out to him. I also really liked Jude -- she was so sweet and kind and unfailingly loyal to all of her friends and family in the book, which I loved. She reminded me a lot of friends that I have and it just made my heart so warm and fuzzy inside. 

The only thing I wasn't super keen on with this book was the fact that it seemed like there were so many plot points happening all at once that I found myself lost or forgetting about them sometimes. There's Sam and Penny, Penny and her mom, Penny and Jude and Mallory, Penny and a boy from her class, Penny's writing class, Sam and Lorraine, etc. There are just a lot of different threads to be followed and at times I felt lost or confused or that I was missing something. But that was really the only thing I wasn't super crazy about with this book -- it felt like a lot was going on in a short period of reading. But after finishing the book and thinking about it for a little while, I realized that all of the threads were tied off -- it was just a little bit difficult to realize in the moment when a lot of things were going on.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Emergency Contact. It was filled with a lot of laughs, gasps, and heartwarming moments that I really found myself delving into. I'm glad that I decided to pick this book up after discovering it on Goodreads, because I got an adorable story out of it, as well as that fuzzy feeling of being in a book group as I read it alongside all of my blogger friends and book buddies that were reading it at the same time!

If you're looking for your next heart-warming read, I definitely recommend picking up this book or adding it to your TBR! You definitely won't be sorry!


  1. Happy to see you enjoyed this one! I've been seeing it around a lot and have been really curious about it. I love when a book makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Also, I'm so thrilled to see a book about a girl starting college! I'm definitely getting excited about this one.

    Thanks for the review!
    ~Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

  2. I enjoyed the overall concept of this book. I love the idea of having that "person", who you can reach out to no matter what. Penny was an interesting character, but yes, I think Sam was my favorite. The only thing that sort of distracted me were the excerpts from Penny's story. I felt like there was too much of that, but that's just me.

  3. I was tempted to buy it the other day at the store, but I wasn't sure so I didn't. Looks like I need to go back and but it, Lol.


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