Emergency Contact: YA Review

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publication: January 1st, 2019
Publisher: Simon Schuster Australia
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You.
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading 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, you know, see each other.


The story took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

The chapters alternate from following newbie college student Penny and baker/barista Sam, as they trudge and fumble through life.

At first, I struggled to connect with the characters and ultimately, I found I connected more with Sam. There were times when Penny wasn’t all that likeable, the way she behaved towards her mother and female friends etc.

The heart-warming: two younglings feeling completely alone and overwhelmed with life manage to find each other and help each other get through their respective issues. A close, caring and comforting friendship develops between the two main characters. THEN THEY FALL FOR EACH OTHER. I’m a sucker for a friends to lovers story.

My favourite part of the story was the closeness between the characters that developed out of their text messages. It felt ‘very now’ what with how much of our lives are lived through our phones these days.

The heavy: casual racism, low socioeconomic America, rape (past), alcohol abuse and emotionally toxic relationships.

Conclusion: Emergency Contact is a YA contemporary featuring a strangers-to-friends-to-couple plot. It’s a slow starter, but once the main characters friendship starts to develop, you’ll be hooked. Some heavy issues are touched on during the story, but by the end your heart will be warm and full.


The #AusYABloggers in collaboration with Simon & Schuster Australia are running a blog tour for Emergency Contact from January 15th until January 19th, there will be giveaways, reviews and more. To follow along the tour click HERE.

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Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

18392459We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Release date: April 1, 2015

Thank you Simon & Schuster Australia for giving me an ARC to read and review

Synopsis mk3Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

My Thoughts mk3When I finished reading the last page I actually laughed at loud “that’d be right”. I closed the cover and muttered to myself “that’s brilliant”. Yep, I LOVED IT. And dare I say, I think it’s going to be the next big thing, I’m imagining the closing credits for the movie adaptation already.

I finished We All Looked Up on Sunday morning and I’ve been trying to figure how to write a review to do it justice ever since. Wallach’s writing is beautiful, easy to read, emotional and powerful.

We get backgrounds on the four view point characters and then follow them as they learn that there is an asteroid tearing toward earth with a 66.6% chance of impact, with the possible collision being so catastrophic it will wipe out the world. The four viewpoints are: the all-around golden boy and Jock Peter, the promiscuous and artsy Eliza, the good girl and overachiever Anita and the stoner and slacker Andy. Wallach uses teenage stereotypes and makes them feel real. He gives a world of complicated characters to care for and despise all at once. There is a little bit of all of us in this story somewhere.

We follow them as they try to survive until the end, as they try to deal with and make sense of their lives, as the world goes crazy and they try to come to terms with death. There are inner demons faced and new friendships made. The story keeps moving on, revolving through the different viewpoints. The different points of view flow beautifully and I enjoyed getting in all their heads.

The ending was open and leaves us to ponder. I’d like to think this book might make a few teens wake up to themselves. What would you do if the world was coming to an end? I found a few parts hard to swallow, mainly Anita’s struggle of living her life for everyone other than herself, as I feel that way sometimes, so that made me contemplate my own situation.

best booksFIVE STARS for the next big thing > > > We All Looked Up.

Five StarsAuthor’s Links mk3Website – http://www.tommywallach.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tommywallachland

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tommywallach

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18392459-we-all-looked-up

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/snovision

Tumblr – http://wealllookedup.tumblr.com/

I was Here by Gayle Forman

18879761Synopsis

Cody and Meg were inseparable.

Two peas in a pod.

Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

My Thoughts

I will just say that Gayle Forman is a phenomenal writer; this story flowed beautifully and was extremely easy to read. I received this free advance reading copy of ‘I Was Here’ thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia, with its official release being the 1st February.

…he has this expression on his face –it’s the particular contortion when fury meets guilt. And I know that look. I see it every day in the mirror.

Throughout this book we see Cody struggling to come to terms with the sudden and surprising suicide of her life long best friend Meg –Meg who she’d always held up on a pedestal –and struggling to come to terms with being left behind. Cody’s pain is natural and it feels real. Cody is wracked with the “it’s my fault” syndrome and is desperate to find someone to blame. In her effort to deal, she digs deep into the life that Meg tried to hide, enlisting the friends she meets along the way and uncovering some very disturbing truths.

To start off with we see Cody push everyone away. She is weak, scared, and a pretty crappy friend. But slowly we see her step out of her comfort zone and come to life with the determination (as she sees it) to avenge her fallen friend. We see Cody finally come to terms with Meg’s death and finally have the courage to forgive Meg and exonerate herself.

The romance between Cody and Ben is very cliché and unnecessary, but Cody’s love for Meg and her growing friendships with the other characters are more than strong enough to pull the story along.

Lastly we see Cody move on with her life, taking the lessons learnt with her.

I give it **** Four Stars (It’s quite a hard book to review as it’s a hard topic to deal with – I really don’t think my review has done the book justice).

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