Emergency Contact took my by storm. It was a book that I had heard so much about and it is so well deserving. The characters of this book are emotional, vulnerable, and so endearing.
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.
So I had been searching for this book ever since it got announced. I was denied everywhere. But there are those books that keep you enthralled, that keep popping up in your life, and Emergency Contact was one of them. I knew I had to read it no matter what. So I did what you all have to do, wait for it to come out!
I absolutely love the title and the cover from the get go, but after reading it I adore it even more. Choi’s writing persona shines through from the first pages. It hooks you and really never stops. Even more so, there’s all these details in the books that range from the characters to the houses. The personality and humor shine through. You can become easily enthralled by the book because reading it feels entirely immersive.
Penny is so like me with her emergency kit. She is studious and organized. Even more so, Penny and I have similar experiences that just touched me on a deeper level. I have felt her insecurity, her fears, and her doubts. Choi writes characters you can’t help but what to protect as they tug at your heart strings threatening to let your insecurities spill out. I also really loved the conversations about family, specifically Penny’s mother.
There are all these subtle conversations that spill out – about different images of masculinity, Asian representation, feeling disconnected with your family, and more. One of my favorite conversations was with Penny and talking about how she hasn’t seen many Asian role model characters so it feels almost impossible to dream of a world where they are sort of the default.
Emergency Contact has the trifecta: characters, hilarious (and witty) writing, and a plot that enthralls you. There are fandom references, dry humor, panic attacks and Asian representation – what’s more to love? Check it out on Goodreads.