Saturday, January 19, 2019

Blog Tour: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Title: Emergency Contact
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: Contemporary
Source: S&S

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 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 see each other.
Review by Nara

When I first heard about Emergency Contact I was pretty interested, firstly because the protagonist was a Korean and secondly because the author was a Korean. The premise of the story sounded pretty good as well- I love the trope of getting to know someone through technology before finally meeting them in person. I thought overall the book was quite good, although I did also feel that there was a slight lacking in the strength of the plot itself.

I enjoyed reading about Sam and Penny. They're both introverted and have quite unique personalities. The relationships surrounding them were complex, in particular Penny's relationship with her mother and Sam's relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Despite the fluffy looking cover, the story was actually more slice-of-life style with darker themes.

I feel like I should make mention of the Korean "own voices" rep. Disclaimer: I'm a Korean. I found that Penny's narrative voice, despite being written by a Korean, doesn't particularly feel like there was a lot of Korean culture behind it. Honestly, she could have been any race from all the mention of Korean culture there was in the novel. I suppose she was a second generation American born Korean, but even her mother didn't particularly feel Korean. In any case, this wasn't really a huge issue impacting on the story, just a personal slight disappointment that there wasn't a bit more focus on this aspect.

Overall, I thought Emergency Contact was a pretty good read. I would recommend it to those looking for a slightly darker college romance.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5