Review by: Ivy
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“Loving someone was traumatizing. You never knew what would happen to them out there in the world. Everything precious was also vulnerable.”
Penny can’t wait to start out as a freshman at UT. She’ll finally get away from the mother she’s embarrassed by and the boyfriend she can easily imagine life without. Her style is as minimal as her social life, and she doesn’t mind keeping it that way.
Sam’s life seems like it couldn’t get any worse. He knows from watching way too many documentaries that technically, there are situations worse than his, but when you’re sleeping above your work with seventeen bucks, a pregnant ex, and a broken laptop, it sure seems like you’ll never bounce back.
When Penny and Sam bump into each other on the street (Penny walking, Sam laying passed out on the sidewalk), they exchange numbers out of necessity, but their relationship quickly branches from emergency contact to texting each other at almost all times and sharing everything, from current conflicts to past drama, all in the span of a few months. To take their relationship beyond words, they’re going to have to do the one thing that’s the hardest for millennial introverts who proudly wear all black: meet in person. (Which is the kind of thing that could go so terribly wrong you need an emergency contact. In the words of Penny, karma’s a b*tch.)
Emergency Contact was vulnerable, loving, funny, and insanely honest. It gets major bonus points for being set in Austin, but also for being a book definitely worthy of having a Rainbow Rowell blurb on its cover.
The best part, by far, was the characters. Both Penny and Sam shared the insecurities of being a teenager while still tackling mature issues in their status on the older spectrum of young adult. People keep comparing Emergency Contact to Eleanor & Park, but it was closer to Fangirl for me, at least. (College freshman falls for an older guy, has a tough roommate who accepts her, has anxiety issues, likes to write…) That is to say, it doesn’t feel like the same story when you’re reading it. I’ve never read a character like Penny: someone who pursues her passions not blindly, but willing to learn something new. I’ve also never read a guy like Sam: someone whose emotions are on a constant rollercoaster but still dedicates himself to helping his friends and family.
Overall, Emergency Contact was a fresh and fun UT romance, told from a dual perspective, tackling the fact that it’s important to find your person, to find the human who totally, unequivocally gets you, to find your emergency contact.