Book Review, Reviews

Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi


Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Paperback


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 loved this book! It was really adorable and wonderful, and I am still upset that getting it signed at BookCon meant buying a second copy (especially since it’s a debut and why would I be getting it signed if I didn’t already own the book, but anyways).

First of all, Penny was hilarious! I really loved her and her sass, even if her cynicism probably would annoy me in real life. She’s high-key a Slytherin (I’m sorry my brain is all Potter atm) and I absolutely love it. Sam was great too but he mostly made me sad, although not in a bad way. He really needs some love in his life.

I loved all the character development. Penny is a pretty judgemental person at first and Sam is in love with a girl who clearly does not deserve him and plays with his emotions a lot. But they both learn to be more open with other people, which is really nice. Plus their romance was A+ adorable, and they were friends first so no insta-love in sight.

This book also dealt with some much heavier subjects than I expected, even after having read some reviews. But they were very well done and didn’t feel heavy-handed, which is the case pretty often. Anyway, I really loved it! Plus we had some Asian-American representation where the mom isn’t a tiger mom! Also Penny has the same last name as me, and I really enjoyed that (even though I am 0% Korean).

Overall, this was a very solid contemporary and I’d definitely recommend it. This was a short review but I do not have much more to say other than this: go read it (& support WOC writers)! 🎉🎉


Have you read this? Have you also followed Mary H.K. Choi on everything and think she’s the coolest person or is that just me? Let me know!


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi”

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