Parents' Guide to

Emmy & Oliver

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Heartfelt romance about childhood BFFs reunited as teens.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (3):

Robin Benway's coming-of-age novel is a poignant exploration of first love between two teens still coping from a traumatic childhood event. It excels both at humorous, snappy dialogue and substantive reflection on getting through emotional challenges. Although the book tackles several serious issues, Benway keeps the language and story line accessible for young adult readers. Emmy gets Oliver in a way no one else can under the circumstances, and he encourages her not to hide her "true" self (an avid surfer with hopes to go away for college) from her parents. He knows how devastating secrets can be and how they distance you from those you love.

Obviously, most teens won't understand the nuances of what it means to have been kidnapped by a parent and not even know it for 10 years, but many teens will relate to the idea of divorce changing the way parents deal with you (not to mention each other) and how blended families can occasionally feel isolating to the kids from a previous marriage. And everyone, no matter how old, has felt the heartache of a beloved childhood friendship cut short by an unexpected move. What would've happened if that person had stayed or, as is the case with Oliver, returned years later? Benway is a talented writer who keeps readers engaged with this emotionally satisfying, if occasionally heartbreaking, tale about a beautiful friendship that's lost and then found.

Book Details

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