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Review : Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

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This book encompasses the saying “do not judge a book by its cover”. The cover is gorgeous but unfortunately, the contents were not. I heard about this book from a trusted book person, who described this book as fun. I love fun, fluffy books especially as a palette cleanser when I’ve just read something really hard and deep, so I decided to pick it up. I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I hate writing reviews for books I did not like and can’t find any redeeming qualities for.

The main character, Penny Lee, has just graduated high school and is headed to Austin for college. She is very excited to get away from home and from her mum. She’s off to college to learn how to be a real writer. Sam works in a cafe and is Penny’s roommate’s step brother. He is going through a very hard time in his life, is broke, just dropped out of college and is an alcoholic. And this is the hero the writer has built for us and her 18 year old heroine. They meet, they swap numbers, and their romance play out via text messaging so yeah, the stereotypical millennial love story.

I hated the main character. She was super judgmental and uppity. She thought every single thing was beneath her. She doesn’t like being reduced to a stereotype because she’s asian (very valid point and I love how she calls out people on casual racism) but then she does the same to other people. She assumes for a second that Sam is gay simply because he is holding an espresso cup (With the comically small espresso cup in his thin hands, Penny wondered for a second if he was gay), stereotype much? She looks down on her roommate for being into makeup and being girly. She thinks the fact that she’s not into make up, girly things, boys and partying makes her more mature.

She judges girls who show cleavage and thinks it’s a cry for help. I got so tired of looking up at her riding that high horse with her nose in the air. She hates that her mum is a MILF and that she flirts with men, she constantly judges her mum so harshly even though this woman has raised her singlehandedly for 18 years and provided for her and loved her intensely. I got so tired of her constantly judging her mum and wanting her to live a less full life just because she’s a mother.

The love interest, Sam should not be a love interest for an 18 year old girl. He has way too much baggage to even be looking for a relationship. He is an alcoholic, technically homeless, has mummy issues, dropped out of college and is just hoping for a miracle in order to finance the movies he wants to make. Oh and he is also obsessed with his ex girlfriend. Seriously? This is the man i’m supposed to swoon for and think is a heartthrob? An 18 year old girl who is a freshman in college should not be trying to fix anybody or trying to help this boy deal with his issues when she should be focused on being a kid and having fun!

The romance was blehh. It seemed super forced, the text messages had no real chemistry in them. In fact, the love story was virtually non existent and consisted entirely of Penny telling us how hot Sam is and lusting after him. The author wrote those messages very stereotypically, like what she imagines teenage millennials sound like these days. It was slow paced, uninteresting, I skimmed a lot of it and I rarely skim books.

The writing was terrible. Examples:

Penny never had a cigarette in her life, and if they did smoke together Penny would probably have a coughing fit that lasted forever and ended on an audible fart.

Plus you’d enjoy it. Sam was a dynamite maker-outer.

His right knee brushed Penny’s left and she almost passed out. 

She was smitten mitten kittens.

WHICH TEENAGER THINKS LIKE THIS? It’s very obvious the writer wrote these characters exactly like how adults think teenagers are.

The other characters were not fleshed out. Jude, Penny’s roommate, was the only remotely like-able character in this book. Jude’s best friend, Mallory, on the other hand was a racist and classist bitch so maybe that says more about Jude’s character for having such a person as a friend?

I gave this book one star on goodreads and would not recommend. The cover is pretty though.

Leggy.

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