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Emergency Contact
Contributor(s): Choi, Mary H. K.
ISBN: 1534408967     ISBN-13: 9781534408968
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2018
Annotation: "After a chance encounter, Penny and Sam become each other's emergency contacts and find themselves falling in love digitally, without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Text messages (Cell phone systems); Fiction.
Dating (Social customs); Fiction.
Colleges and universities; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017048139
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.50" (1.04 lbs) 394 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2018 January #1)

Unlike her flirtatious Korean mother, Penny Lee doesn't have much of a social life, but she hopes that things will change when she goes off to college in Austin, Tex., to pursue becoming a writer. She soon meets Sam, her roommate's 21-year-old uncle, a college dropout and talented baker who works (and lives) at a local coffee house. They barely know each other, but, after Penny catches Sam in a vulnerable moment (he thinks he's having a heart attack but is actually suffering from anxiety) they agree to be each other's emergency contacts. Soon, they are exchanging texts and sharing secrets they've never divulged. In her first novel, writer and reporter Choi sensitively shows the evolution of two lonely, complicated people who slowly emerge from their shells to risk an intimate relationship. Her sharp wit and skillful character development (of Penny's mother: "in jeans and a faded T-shirt that read Slay Hunty, Celeste resembled an incoming freshman as much as Penny did") ensure that readers will feel that they know Penny and Sam inside and out before the gratifying conclusion. Ages 14–up. Agent: Edward Orloff, McCormick Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 February)

Gr 9 Up—This debut novel examines modern relationships in the age of smart phones. Penny Lee leaves behind her humdrum high school years and meets her new college roommate Jude, who introduces Penny to her tattooed, mysterious, and sexy young uncle, Sam. After a strange chance encounter, Sam and Penny become each other's emergency contact. Choi creates an up-to-date and realistic contemporary romance by upending the love story trope. Miscues and miscommunications, which often propel romantic plots forward, are replaced by open and constant screen-to-screen communication. The tension exists in the development of the relationship, starting with just texts, and evolving to a multi-platform, "in real life" friendship. In alternating chapters, Penny and Sam reveal their innermost thoughts. Choi explores love, family issues, identity, loneliness, and acceptance in the context of 24/7 social media. Despite the ever-present contact, deeply connecting with another human being remains remarkably difficult. Choi creates another layer of meaning by addressing the microaggressions that Penny, who is Korean American, faces. The protagonist's response is handled deftly. An internal monologue includes a multiple-choice list of potential reactions to external situations that will ring true with readers and make them appreciate Penny's wry sense of humor and direct approach. VERDICT A highly recommended purchase for the teens who enjoy realistic relationship fiction. Recommended for fans of Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park.—Eva Thaler-Sroussi, Needham Free Public Library, MA

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.