Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact

by Mary H. K. Choi


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“Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book.” —Rainbow Rowell

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534408975
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 24,248
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Mary H.K. Choi is a writer for The New York Times, GQ, Wired, and The Atlantic. She has written comics for Marvel and DC, as well as a collection of essays called Oh, Never Mind. Her debut novel Emergency Contact was a New York Times bestseller. She is the host of Hey, Cool Job!, a podcast about jobs and Hey, Cool Life!, a podcast about mental health and creativity. Mary grew up in Hong Kong and Texas and now lives in New York. Follow her on Twitter @ChoitotheWorld.

Read an Excerpt

Emergency Contact

“Tell me something, Penny . . .”

Penny knew that whatever Madison Chandler was going to say, she wasn’t going to enjoy it. Madison Chandler leaned in close, mouth smiling, beady eyes narrowed. Penny held her breath.

“Why is your mom such a slut?”

The taller of the two girls glared pointedly at Penny’s mom, who was chatting with Madison’s father a few feet away.

Blood pounded in Penny’s ears.

Possible reactions to Madison Chandler calling your mom a slut:

1. Punch her in the face.

2. Punch her disgusto, knuckle-dragging, pervert father in the face.

3. Do nothing. Rage-cry later in the privacy of your bedroom while listening to The Smiths. You are a dignified pacifist. Namaste.

4. Unleash the pyrokinetic abilities bequeathed to you upon birth, scorching the shopping mall with the fire of a trillion suns.

Penny scanned her opponent’s green-flecked blue eyes. Why was this happening? And at the Apple Store no less? This was a safe space. A haven. Penny was almost out of this stifling town for good. She was so close.

“I asked you a question.” Madison sucked her teeth. She had those clear braces that fooled no one.

Punching her would be therapeutic.

“Hello? Is anyone in there?”

So therapeutic.

Christ, who was Penny kidding? It was option three. It was always option three. At this stage of the game there was no need to be a hero. Especially at 5'1", with a “cute” right hook and reaction times that were sluggish at best.

Whatever. In four days Penny would be off to college and the opinions of these micro-regionally famous people would no longer matter.

Just as Madison drew back, to glare at her from a different, arguably more menacing angle, Penny’s assigned Apple Genius materialized with her brand-new phone.

Deus ex-MacStore dude.

Penny clutched the smooth box. It gleamed with promise and felt expensively heavy in her hands. She glanced over by the laptops where “Maddy’s Daddy,” as he’d introduced himself (barf), was doing a looming-leering thing at her mom, Celeste. Penny sighed. She’d been campaigning for a new phone since Christmas, and this was not at all going down how she’d planned. Penny had envisioned more fanfare. At least some help picking out a case.

“Seriously, what’s with your mom’s geisha whore outfit?”

Okay, Madison Chandler may have gotten a Chanel caviar purse at fourteen (it was a hand-me-down) and a Jeep Wrangler at sixteen, but wow, there were sandwiches smarter than this girl.

First off, geishas weren’t prostitutes. Common mistake. Typically made by the willfully ignorant and intellectually incurious. Some geishas beguiled their clients with dance and artful conversation like in Memoirs of a Geisha, a novel Penny adored until she discovered some rando white guy had written it. Second, as anyone with even the most cursory observational skills can tell you, the kimono offers exemplary coverage. It was burka-adjacent or perhaps chador-ish, since kimonos didn’t have the hair and face covering bit.

Still, Penny wished, not for the first time, that her mom would stop wearing crop tops. Especially with leggings. It was positively gynecological. Penny, of course, was dressed in her customary shapeless black garb that was appropriate both day and night for being ignored by everyone.

“We’re Korean,” whispered Penny. Madison’s lip twitched in confusion, as if she’d been informed that Africa wasn’t a country. “Geishas are Japanese,” she finished. If you’re going to be racist you should try to be less ignorant, although maybe that was a contradiction. . . .

Mr. Chandler roared with laughter at something Celeste said, who, for the record, was hot but not that funny.

“Daddy,” whined Madison, making her way toward him.

Daddy? Yuck.

Penny bet they were the type of family that mouth kissed. Penny walked over too.

“If you want, you can come by my office and I can take a look at your portfolio,” continued Mr. Chandler. He was at least six foot five and Penny could see straight up to his nose hair.

“As I tell all my clients, it’s the early bird who gets the retirement worm. Especially with an empty nest.” He nodded at Penny.

“Dang it,” he said, patting his pockets with a practiced air. “I don’t have a card, but if you want to . . .” Mr. Chandler held his phone out and mimed typing into it with a toothy grin.

Penny shut it down.

“Mom.” Penny grabbed her by the wrist. “We have to go.”

• • •

Everything about the way Penny’s mom interacted with Mr. Chandler with his gleaming wedding ring and his hot-pink polo shirt infuriated her. It was the same old tale with Celeste and guys. You’d think she’d give it a rest and pay some attention to her only daughter the week before she left for college, but no, she was too busy flapping her lash extensions to some fake-tanned creep.

In the car, Celeste rearranged her boobs in her gray striped top and latched her seat belt. Having a MILF for a mom was garbage.

Celeste pulled out of the parking lot as the uneasy silence thickened.

On the highway, the Japanese cat mounted on her mother’s dashboard rattled. Penny stared at it. It was the size of a dinner roll, with a detached, spring-loaded head and blank cartoon eyes. This one, a recent addition, had usurped plastic Hello Kitty when Kitty’s features got bleached off by the sun. Celeste insisted on accessorizing everything. It was pathological. It reminded Penny of the rich bitches in the “Super Six,” Maddy and Rachel Dumas and Allie Reed and the three other glossy-haired sadists who wore a ton of rings and bracelets and had a new, sparkly phone case every week. You could hear them walking down the hall since the jangling crap attached to their book bags made such a racket. Thing is, if Celeste had gone to Ranier High, she probably would have been friends with them.

Penny longed for a crew. She was on “Oh, hey” status with a bunch of kids, but her closest school friend, Angie Salazar, transferred to Sojourner Truth High the summer before junior year, leaving Penny socially unmoored. If there were a subbasement level with a trapdoor below utter invisibility, Penny would have found a way to fall to it. Her social standing was nonexistent.

The cat continued to rattle. If it carried on in this way, it would be toast before they hit the freeway. It was trinket Darwinism. A fragile animal had no business being mounted in a fast-moving vehicle. Certainly not a fast-moving vehicle commandeered by her mother, who had no right to commandeer anything in the whole wide . . .

“Why do you do that?” Penny exploded. She wanted to punch a hole in the window and fling the cat out. Possibly hurl herself after it. Today was meant to be different. Penny’d let herself get excited about it for weeks. Her mom had taken the afternoon off, and it hurt Penny’s feelings that Celeste would ditch her as soon as she saw the Chandlers. Not that Penny would admit what was really bothering her. Pathetic outcasts had standards too.

“What?” Celeste rolled her eyes. The teen-like gesture coming from her mom set her off even more. Penny wanted to shake Celeste until her fillings came loose.

“Why do you flirt with everyone all the time?” Celeste was the mom equivalent of a feather boa. Or human glitter. “It’s getting old, you know.”

“Who are you talking about?”

“Oh, you know exactly who . . .”

“Matt Chandler?”

“Yeah, gross, nasty ‘Maddy’s Daddy,’ who, incidentally, is married!”

“I know he’s married.” Celeste huffed. “Who was flirting? I was being polite, which, by the way, wouldn’t kill you. With your eye-rolling and scowls. Do you know how embarrassing . . . ?”

“Embarrassing? Me? Embarrassing you?” Penny balked. “That’s rich.” Penny crossed her arms prissily. “Mom, he was a creep and you’re there oozing your smiley, ridiculous . . .”

The car cat clattered as if nodding.

“How is he a creep? Because he wanted to give me investment advice?”

Penny couldn’t believe how dense her mother could be. It was clear to everyone that “Matt” wanted to give her a lot more than investment advice. Christ, even Madison knew what was up.

“How is it possible that you’re this stupid?”

Celeste’s mouth opened then shut. A pained expression flashed across her face. Even the curls on her head appeared to deflate.

Penny had never said anything as explicitly, deliberately mean to her mom before. She felt bad about it as soon as it flew out of her mouth, and while her mother wasn’t dumb, she was frequently mistaken for being, well, a little airheaded. Celeste ran regional operations for a multinational events-planning agency, spoke in hashtags, and was frequently dressed as if attending a boy-band concert. That was her way.

Penny was constantly running defense for her. The neighborhood men circled Celeste like sharks, conveniently underfoot to help with high supermarket shelves or offer unsolicited mansplainage on any number of topics. The way they lingered by Celeste’s car, eyes glittering like seeds, as if waiting for something, sketched Penny out. It didn’t help that Celeste was invariably welcoming.

Just one example: Last Valentine’s Day, Mr. Hemphill, their ancient mailman, presented Celeste with a tiny box of drugstore chocolates. It was the size of a mouse coffin, with four oxidized bonbons inside, and he kept mentioning the Vietnam War as though they had something in common. It was clear that he wanted to wear their skin and as far as Penny was concerned, this was the last guy you wanted knowing where you lived. Celeste wouldn’t hear of it.

Penny gazed out the window. Fighting with her mother had become routine. But now that Penny was leaving, Celeste had to get better at navigating the world. Steering clear of unrepentant scumbags was a start. Penny was exhausted. Of worrying about Celeste. Of resenting her. The flitting fast-food restaurants and gas stations blurred in her vision. She blotted the hot stray tears with a sleeve so her mom wouldn’t see.

• • •

Later that day Penny’s boyfriend came by. Not that Penny ever publicly referred to Mark as her “boyfriend.” He functioned more as a stopgap for complete isolation when Angie moved away, which was a totally awful way to think about it. Especially since empirically Mark was out of her league. At least physically. Which wasn’t everything, except in high school maybe it was. Most of the time Penny couldn’t believe they were dating. When Mark first showed interest, Penny thought he was defective or else messing with her, and when he didn’t seem to be doing that, her suspicion only grew. Penny was nothing if not aware of what she looked like and what she looked like was exactly the same as she did when she was in first grade. Smallish eyes with a snub nose and humongous lips that her mother promised she’d grow into but she never did. She and Mark looked confusing together. It didn’t help that Penny had learned that relationships often seemed to mean the opposite of what you called them. You could have over a hundred “friends” on social media and still have nobody to talk to. Just as Angie (that Brutus) had dubbed Penny her best friend until she ghosted completely. And while Mark referred to Penny as “bae,” which just made her deeply uncomfortable because: gross, he also described pizza as not only “bae” but “bae AF.” Which, yeah, obviously, but that was the problem. They both liked pizza way more than their person.

“So, did you get it?”

Penny desperately wished she hadn’t.

Penny knew part of her lukewarm disposition toward Mark was that he was the type of guy Celeste would’ve picked out for her. He had dirty-blond hair and the preppy good looks of a Hollister model. Not on the billboard but easily in a catalog group shot. Toward the front since he was short.

Mark was also younger by a year, which was clutch when you were sorta-kinda-not-really-but-maybe dating since that meant he had a different lunch period. His crew qualified as popular since it included moderately popular soccer kids despite the rest of the squad being burnouts. Mark smoked a lot of weed and had a brain like a sieve. Which was unfortunate. Even the cute things that would have made good inside jokes were forgotten, like how autocorrect on his phone kept changing “goddammit” to “god donut,” so when Penny sent the donut emoji as an expletive he only ever thought she was hungry.

Mark was unwavering.

Penny blinked first.

“Do you want a snack or something?” She opened the fridge, grabbed a pitcher of sweet tea, and poured them both glasses. It was the only thing Celeste knew how to “cook.”

Penny thought back to the first day Mark talked to her after fifth period. Thing was, he was defective in a sense. Everybody knew he had “yellow fever.” His ex was this smoking-hot Vietnamese girl Audrey, whose dad was transferred to Germany with the air force, and in middle school he’d briefly dated Emily, who was half Thai.

“Well?” Mark wouldn’t be deterred. “Did you get it?” He grinned winsomely.

Penny drew her tea to her mouth with such force that she hit the glass with her teeth.

“Baby,” he said. Behind “bae,” Penny despised “baby” as a thing for a grown adult woman to be called. It was so prescriptive. Like dressing sexy for Halloween.

Mark sat on a stool on the other side of the kitchen island and gestured alluringly for her to come over. His hair fell over his right eye.

God, he was handsome.

Mark opened his arms and she walked into them.

“We may as well get used to communicating like this,” Mark whispered, breath tickling her ear. “We both hate talking on the phone, and you know what they say about pictures, Penny.” He paused for effect, Penny couldn’t believe he was going to continue. “They’re worth a thousand words.”


Penny hitched her chin onto his shoulders. Mark smelled mildewy. It was comforting in a sense. Mark often smelled as if he hadn’t done laundry in a while. She weighed her options.

Possible gambits to mount a distraction for a boyfriend who’s prone to distraction:

1. Break up with him. A long-distance relationship based on cataclysmic levels of meh was soul-eating.

2. Have sex with him to change the subject.

3. Burst into tears and explain nothing.

“Yes.” Penny sighed. “I did get it.” Then she added, “Thank you.” She tried to sound sincere.

Technically “it” was a “they” and “they” were nudes. Penny recalled the twin pepperoni constituting her boyfriend’s nipples and inwardly shuddered. Mark thought sexts were an appropriate and fun way to christen a new phone. Penny thought vehemently otherwise.

Okay, so they weren’t full-on frontal—bless. Mark was still sixteen, and Penny didn’t need the FBI landing at her college dorm for kiddie porn. They were risqué, though. Each went slightly beyond the treasure trail. With a few different filters. Penny was even sure he’d Facetuned at least one, which was a quality she simply could not respect in a man. She knew that the proper, more sporting response was to reciprocate. A boob (hint of nip tops) would suffice. But she didn’t want to. At all. All she wanted to do was delete them, pretend none of this ever happened, and leave.

She’d be off the hook then. At least technically. The statute for follow-up nudes couldn’t extend beyond the city limits surely. Even so, Penny should have considered going out of state.

Customer Reviews

Emergency Contact 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Penny is glad to leave high school behind her. She doesn't have many friends and the boy she's dating might be handsome, but he doesn't give her warm and fuzzy feelings. It's time for a new chapter in her life and she can't wait to start university, where she'll learn how to become a better writer. On her first day Penny meets Jude, her new roommate. They instantly become friends and Jude introduces Penny to a family member, Sam. Sam works in a café and as soon as Penny meets him she feels a connection, but the handsome tattooed guy who's several years older is totally out of her league, or isn't he? Sam wants to be a movie director, but due to financial difficulties he has a hard time making ends meet. He feels like he's all alone in the world. His ex-girlfriend constantly plays games with him and leaves him heartbroken in the process. He doesn't have a place to live that he can call his own and he's trying to figure out a way to make his dreams come true without having the money that's usually needed in his chosen profession. When he meets Penny something changes. He might have finally found a friend, someone who truly understands him. However, their relationship mainly consists of texts and an occasional phone call, they feel too embarrassed to actually spend time with each other. Is there any hope for them to form a solid bond when their complexities keep standing in their way? Emergency Contact is a fantastic story. Mary H. K. Choi's amazing way to describe her main characters is making her story a true gem to read. Penny has plenty of fabulous quirks and I loved her straight away. She's smart, talented and outspoken. I especially loved how she always tries to be as prepared as she can be in any situation. She's a serious person and there isn't much lightness in the way she views the world, which gives her plenty of interesting layers and makes her intriguing to read about. I loved the easy way she can talk to Sam. Sam is an intelligent guy with plenty of talents, like baking delicious pies. He's struggling in so many ways and my heart often ached for him. Penny and Sam have a lot in common and reading their chats often made me smile. They've both been through so much already, especially for people their age, and that is something that makes them understand one another. I kept hoping they'd bring each other some much deserved happiness and was so curious to find out more about them that I read their story in one sitting. Mary H. K. Choi has written an original multifaceted story about friendship, love and family. I was impressed by the way she explores the emotions of her main characters. She makes it possible for the reader to take a look inside of their minds and I felt honored I had the chance to get to know them through and through. Because of her detailed descriptions of frustrations, character traits, lifechanging events and insecurities she makes her story feel incredibly real. Emergency Contact is honest, raw and beautiful. It's a book that fits my heart exactly.
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
I had absolutely no idea what to expect going into this story - and it completely stole my heart. Penny Lee has never fit in anywhere in her life, and she cannot wait to get to college, far away from all the things she is dying to leave behind. Sam is a local barista whose life seems stuck in a holding pattern that he can't break out of, trapping him and holding him back from being the adult he thinks he should be. When their paths cross in completely unexpected ways, they find themselves connecting beyond anything they ever thought possible. This story has two of the most awkward, strange, flawed and completely lovable lead characters I have ever read. I became so quickly invested in both Penny and Sam's lives, that it felt like having them as friends of my own. That being said, I can genuinely say that every main character was remarkably likable, even when they were doing unlikable things. Mary H.K. Choi writes such humanity in her characters, making the reader intimately connect with each one time and time again. I fell so deeply in love with this story, rooting along for Penny and Sam and the absolute magnificent awkwardness of their quietly budding friendship. I would happily read volumes of stories about these two and where life takes each of them. Mary H.K. Choi has written something truly magical with this tale of the perfect imperfection that is life and growing up. This is an incredible debut, and should without question, be on your to-read list this spring.
mindofabookdragon More than 1 year ago
This book was so sweet. It was nicely paced, and I wanted to know what was going to happen till the very end. Honestly, there are still some questions I have even after finishing it! That’s not a big deal, I think Choi had to leave some details a little ambiguous. Here are a few things I said on Goodreads: I don’t know why, but it’s taken me a while to finish a book. That’s not to say that this book wasn’t amazing because it was, I just had a lot more going on than I usually do. Anyway, this book was fantastic, and I loved it so much! Full RTC It took me a while to finish this book. It’s been a while since I finished any book. It’s a combination of school and BTS videos taking over my life. Also, my roommate goes to bed when I want to stay up and read, so I have to go to bed sooner than I’d like sometimes. Anywho, once I really sat down to read this book it went by too fast. The characters were lovely and the plot was very engaging. I was curious to see how Sam and Penny would become each others’ emergency contacts. Is it cheesy to say it was perfect? Don’t get me wrong, it was super awkward, but I can’t imagine a more perfect way for it to happen in the story. Penny is such a well-developed character. I love the inner workings of her mind, and I like how weird she is. She reminded me a little of myself, in that she’s fiercely introverted, but fiercely loyal to her friends. It’s interesting to see how things play out between her and Jude, her roommate. I wasn’t sure what to think of Jude at first, but as the book continued she grew on me. I like how open she is with everything and how she would do anything for her people. Sam is also a flawed but awesome character. I like his flaws, and I like how plainly he can wear them around Penny. They are on the same wavelength the whole time and seem to truly understand each other in ways that the other characters can’t. Something that is touched on here and there throughout the book is Penny’s experience as a Korean-American. I can’t speak on that directly, but I really could relate to her struggles as an Asian-American. Her rep was well done, and it didn’t feel like something forced. It was a thing, but not the thing. The book is also set in college! This was awesome. There aren’t many novels set in the early years of college, and while high schoolers are awesome, it’s cool to see more of this narrative especially since I’m going through my first year as well. Overall, this was a beautiful novel. I hope you read it! I recommend it to anyone looking for something different. Be sure to check this one out!! Happy reading, Sophie
Anonymous 9 months ago
amazing writing, relatable characters, sweet and modern romance. Choi knocks it out of the park with this one. the only book that has ever inspired me to write a review.
Bluemoons More than 1 year ago
First up, Emergency Contact was one of the books of 2019 I was greatly anticipating. Unfortunately, although it was a solid read, it was a bit disappointing for me. My biggest problem with this book was the pacing. It was quite slow throughout the whole book and this affected how I liked the book the most. There were moments where I really liked a scene or laughed and felt engaged, but those were rare. The story only picked up in the last quarter or so but that was already towards the end. The number one thing I liked about the book, however, was the character development and the growing friendship and romance between the two main characters. The characters were very flawed and it felt well-written and realistic. Nothing much happens plot-wise/action-wise (thus the slow pacing) but if you're really into well-developed characters going about their everyday life, then you'll probably like this more than I did. I think that the author balanced the two perspectives very well. Every chapter alternates between the two characters and it was never confusing. I also appreciated all of the different representations that were present in the story. Penny is Korean American, Sam is poor, both experience anxiety (in particular panic attacks) and both have complex relationships with their mothers. All of these aspects are explored in the story in authentic ways. Lastly, I want to touch on the whole 'Emergency Contact' thing. I think it was a great idea and I loved all of the text messages dispersed throughout the novel. They were always interesting to read and it was another way to learn things about both of the main characters. Overall, a slow read with great character development and a satisfying ending. 3.5 stars rounded down
Happywhale More than 1 year ago
Gorgeously flawed characters make this sweet love story. I missed reading the eArc of this so ended up purchasing it for myself. And boy, am I glad I did. Sure the blurb screams 'angsty millennial characters' and 'tropey, cliched plot' but in reality, the story carries a certain richness, which likely stems from its relatable characters and comfortable setting. It may not be a life-changingly-important-this-book-will-destroy-your-soul kind of read, but with one (Korean-American) main character who has a complex maternal relationship and another who's recovering from alcoholism (and also has a complicated family setting), the book really doesn't need to be 'inspirational' to be beautifully written and thoroughly engaging. Overall, a fabulous modern love story about trust, secrecy and technology's role in romance. A solid 5/5 read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mind-of-Luxe More than 1 year ago
Ahhh, I’m still really unsure of the rating I gave this one. I’m considering reducing this to a 2-star but I can’t make up my mind. While the overall plot of the book was enjoyable and it really did made me gush at times, I had a bit of a problem with the main character. [Before anything else, I would like to mention that rape has been discussed in this book.] I like the idea of two people being each other’s support. In this book’s case, they did justice to the title. Sam and Penny really were each other’s emergency contact because they depended on one another whether experiencing something awful or just couldn’t decide which outfit to wear. Also, Emergency Contact has a slow burn romance that is just so amazingly satisfying to read especially when reading in a coffee shop (like I did). The dialogue between Sam and Penny, both in person and via text, were so fun to read. While they are light and witty most of the time, they can talk about heavy stuff too. They console each other about the problems they are both facing separately and they try their best to be there for each other. Although I was a bit underwhelmed by the resolution at the end with both the romance and familial aspects, I really did like the story. However, the primary thing that made me tick off a star from my supposed 4-star rating was Penny. I haven’t read any reviews before borrowing this book from a friend so I didn’t know what I was in for character-wise. Penny is so judgmental! She doesn’t like when people stereotype her, being an Asian, but she has literally done that herself. The thing that probably infuriated me the most was calling her own mother a MILF. Like, what sane teenager does that? At one point, I contemplated just DNF-ing this but I decided to power through. I consider my 3-star rating for this as quite generous. Seeing that I’ve really enjoyed the plot itself, the main character just really got into my nerves. I suggest you avoid this unless you can deal with that type of attitude from a main character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so hooked on this novel that I read it in one sitting. EMERGENCY CONTACT is a really interesting coming of age story about two characters I don’t feel like I’ve met before. It had my stomach doing somersaults and my heart pounding. Though it employed one of my most hated tropes for a little while, it resolved in the way I’d hoped. Penny and Sam are adorable and I loved their conversations because they’re the conversations I long to have with someone. What a lovely read. So glad I picked this one up.
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
I was in the mood for some super swoons when I decided to pick this one up. And although it was so different than the swooning I'm used to, it was still amazing and I'm so glad this is the one I went to. Penny is new to UT in Austin and doesn't know anyone except her roommate. This is how she meets Sam, her roommate's Uncle. The weird pair go through so manyawkward twists and turns, but they somehow still come together via texts and phone calls. They soon become inseperable. I LOVED this. It showed a different side of romance that's hardly ever seen, the getting to know each other phase. It was super cute and reminded me so much of me and my husband. We got togetheer like this in college as well. We texted for hours and it wasn't until after 3 months that we really hung out together. It was so cute to see this in a YA novel. I'm not sure it's something that I've ever read. I also really loved the college aspect of it. This was another topic in YA that'ts hardly written about. I loved that they talked about dorm life, but I would have loved it more had she put a little more effort into the world building. Like talk about the campus. Or what the dorms other than their rooms look like. With this being a contemporary novel, it would have been really easy to look at pictures and get ideas. And of course I LOVED that it was set in Texas and that they even went to Galveston for a period in time. Definitely loved that she included the smell of the salt in the air and how its so much more humid and the air is stickier in Galveston. It was cool to see my hometown in a book! Last but not least, there's the romance. I LOVED it. THIS is the type of slow burn I love. And it was such a ridiculously cute slow burn that I could hardly handle it.The only thing I didn't like was we didn't get to see more of them together! I would die to get a couple more chapters, or even just an epilogue that shows what happens after that last page. They were cute and I just want to be selfish and get a bit more. For me, this was an unputdownable romance. I loved getting to know these characters and watching as they got to know each other. It's so interesting to watch characters when they are already in love, but this book shows the process of how they fall for each other and I want to read it 10 times more for all the feels all over again.
DevinsBookHub More than 1 year ago
Being one with a bunch of online friends, and even having met a couple of them, the concept of Mary H.K. Choi's novel Emergency Contact intrigued me as the plot centers on two college aged adults who talk to each other only though the phone. Unfortunately, the synopsis was the most intriguing part of the book until the last quarter of it when things finally felt a bit interesting to me, and even then I wasn't pulled into the story very much. I don't want to rehash the synopsis too much, but here's the plot if I were to summarize it: Penny's off to college at UT 8 - 80 miles away from home - and she's thankful she can get a breath away from her mother. After moving in she goes to a local cafe with her roommate and her friend, where she meets Sam, who works there. They hit it off but because Sam is the uncle of Jude - it's complicated - it'd be wrong for them to be a little too friendly with on another. One day Penny runs into Sam out in public and they become "emergency contacts" - a person you can talk to in a time of crisis. This friendship, both general talk, sharing their daily problems and aspirations, stays inside their phones with plenty of back and forth texting, but feelings between the two are developing. The story flips with each chapter being told from Penny's point of view, then Sam's, repeat. It just...didn't do it for me. It wasn't exciting. Didn't care for the characters. Didn't care for the pace of the plot. Didn't care for how the plot was told. The last quarter of the book got interesting only due to drama with Penny. If the drama hadn't happened I would have even less to say about the story. And the ending...I THINK I understand what happened on the last couple pages, but it took reading it a few times to make sense of it. Personally I didn't care for how it wasn't obvious, unless it's obvious to everyone but me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this book!
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
A charming book about relationships! Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi! Penny lives with her single mother and every neighborhood man seems to hover around her. This embarrasses Penny to no end. Sam lives where he works, literally, and he absolutely loves to bake. Sam’s ex-girlfriend shows up to tell him she might be pregnant and that information knocks him over. By chance, Sam and Penny meet and through an unfortunate panic attack, they become friends. I enjoyed their relaxed friendship and their humor. Both Penny and Sam have family issues and other things they need to figure out. Emergency Contact shares their stories, with all the ups and downs, the good and bad and builds a charming book about relationships in the process. 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
A charming book about relationships! Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi! Penny lives with her single mother and every neighborhood man seems to hover around her. This embarrasses Penny to no end. Sam lives where he works, literally, and he absolutely loves to bake. Sam’s ex-girlfriend shows up to tell him she might be pregnant and that information knocks him over. By chance, Sam and Penny meet and through an unfortunate panic attack, they become friends. I enjoyed their relaxed friendship and their humor. Both Penny and Sam have family issues and other things they need to figure out. Emergency Contact shares their stories, with all the ups and downs, the good and bad and builds a charming book about relationships in the process. 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
TiffsBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars I thought Emergency Contact is an adorable read. It took me a little bit to get engrossed in it, but I really enjoyed this book. I just wish that I loved it like everyone else is! It is a super cute book but I just didn't love it. I think that this book does deserve all the hype it's getting. I can see how everyone loves it. I love the fact that it's an Own Voices novel. As Penny struggled with writing her characters as white because it's the most "acceptable" race, I have to think if Mary had the same struggles. If you haven't picked this book up, you really should. It enlightens so many worldly issues. Racism, anxiety, unhealthy relationships, etc. It's not just a cute read. In a way, it's almost educational. It'll also make you laugh quite a few times! Plot Rating: 4/5 Stars I am in love with the idea of an "emergency contact". This would have been so helpful for my anxiety while I was in high school. Penny finds Sam in an awkward situation. She helps him through it and thus, becomes his emergency contact for when he feels like he may have an anxiety attack. And vice versa. They become quick friends and they get addicted to texting each other. Penny and Sam are hiding their newfound friendship from her roommate and his ex-niece, Jude. They basically hide it from everyone. Like I said, this was a cute story. I was really interested in the concept of this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Character Rating: 4.5/5 Stars Penny is amazing. She's so intelligent and she knows what she wants in her life. She's a writer. She has social anxiety. She has so much going on in her mind and I feel for her. I really associate myself with her character. We have a lot of similarities. I just wish she was nicer to her mom who obviously is trying really hard to please her daughter. I love Sam. He treats Penny with utmost respect even though she's a bit weird sometimes. He's a man that's gone through plenty of hard times. He doesn't let that shape him as a person, though. He's the sweetest person ever! I love all the side characters in this book. Especially Penny's mom. She's just a woman who's trying to get by. She's just trying to be her daughter's friend and know that she's okay. Even if that means adding Penny's ex boyfriend on Facebook. She doesn't deserve all the crap Penny gives her. I love Penny's friends, even though Mallory was a bit bitchy in the beginning. They shaped out to be really good trustworthy friends. Romance Rating: 3/5 Stars This is the slowest slow-burn romance you'll ever read. I wanted them for fall for each other a lot sooner than the end of the book. Penny and Sam are perfect for each other and I'm mad that we don't really get to see them as a couple other than one time. But that one time was enough for me to give their romance a rating of 3/5 stars.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much and I don’t think I can properly review it... I will apologize for what will likely be a hot mess. Penny and Sam are both great characters who were easy to root for. They're both struggling and they find a lifeline of sorts in each other. I loved how we just got the surface of the secondary characters. For me, it really helped show how Penny and Sam felt: separate and alienated. Plot wise, it's the slowest and most delicious burn that ever existed. I loved the texting and the calls and the email {OH MY GOD THE EMAIL} and that they barely ever met up in person, but both knew that the other was always always always there for them. There is a bit of conflict and it fits so perfectly in the story. There is a discussion about a rape that took place, so be prepared for that. Overall, it was everything I could have wanted. This is officially one of my top ten of 2018 and I can’t wait to read it again. **Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a finished copy**