Emergency Contact // It Was Slow But So Good

11 November 2019

Published: 7th November 2019 (UK)
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating:
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads 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 cafĂ© 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 see each other.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I got approved for this Netgalley read days after it was published and it was frustrating as it meant I had to pick it up pretty much immediately. This meant I was not in the mood to read it straight away but I knew I needed o give it a read and I’d wanted to read it as soon as the reviews rolled in when it was published in the US a while back.

Like I said, I was very much not in the mood to read it but nevertheless I persisted and after a bit of skim reading by 30% I was feeling invested and by 70% I was like I need to finish but sleep is important and I pushed through and had a terrible nights sleep by 100% worth it.

There are some things to know here. First off, not a whole lot happens in this book. Like, there are big emotional reveals and exploration of what family means and there's some examination of mental health, addiction, and a bunch of other stuff, but in terms of the actual story, not a lot happens. I struggled with that when I first began reading. I love big character exploration and development but I do struggle when there's not a whole lot of plot and don't realise it going in. Once I adjusted to the slower pace, though, I really grew to love it.

I struggled to connect to the two MCs. Penny was very rigid and I struggled with how quick she was to cut off her mom and people in general. She obviously had some anxiety and later some big things are revealed which help to explain her trust issues when it comes to people but I didn't get her for a while which explains why I was slow to get into this book. Sam was another one I struggled with too. I didn't get why he was so hung up on his ex. It was very obvious to me she was toxic and they shouldn't be together but I appreciated how the big showed him reaching some conclusion in the relationship and he took the steps to move forward. But that meant I struggled with his character too. Especially as he had some addiction and possible mental health problems I don't feel like were fully addressed. A lot of the time the way Sam spoke about himself and his mood I was frustrated as I knew there was more going on I was sad we didn’t get to see more of him getting help. It’s the same way Penny suffered from anxiety, it was mentioned but never addressed. You didn’t see her speaking to anyone about it and I would have liked more promotion for getting help from a therapist in this rather the characters coping alone.

But those are minor grumbles. They didn’t stop me enjoying the book, it just meant I was slower to fully start enjoying it.

Penny and Sam’s story was beautiful. Seeing their friendship slowly develop was brilliant and I loved how quickly they became close with their weird little jokes and the back and forth via text. Yet, you still got to see each of their stories. Penny is adapting to life away from home and her mother. She has spent so long building up to college as being the time she can change and begin to make friends and become herself and get some distance from her mom so it’s a big shock to the system. Penny pushes people away a lot so it was nice seeing her grow closer to Sam and let him in. And then it was nice to see her letting folks in. And Sam found himself connecting with people again who weren’t his toxic ex and finding his passion. He has such a bad time of it with his ex and his mom and that really held him back. I was thrilled seeing him pursuing his passions and getting out of his funk of working and sleeping at the coffee shop. He isolated himself and I loved seeing him let Penny in and much like Penny it looked like they were both ready to move forward and let others in too.

I did like seeing Penny and Sam have their person. There is nothing better than reading a book where you see a character being able to call another for them to show up straight away in an emergency and this was basically the whole concept of this book with both Sam and Penny finding their person they can call.

This probably is a bit of an all over the place review, but this book was so quiet and good and I just enjoyed every page (or at least, every page at the 30% mark).

Have you read this, what did you think? And what quieter slow read somehow sucked you in without you expecting it?
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