Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Inside cover blurb:

“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.”

-from publisher


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NERD LOVE AT ITS FINEST. And I am in love with this book!

I’ll admit, I was not impressed at first. Word such as “squad” were used in a completely unironic way and I was initially a bit repulsed by this. It’s that feeling you get when authors try too hard at teen dialogue.

But eventually Emergency Contact unfolded into a love story so close to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl on the scale of relatability and pure excellence…. Sam and Penny fall in love over text. This is the epitome of romance in the modern age.

And they both have such good backstories- Penny with her embarrassing mom and social anxieties, Sam with his broken relationships, with his mother and with his on-again off-again girlfriend, Lorraine.

The way their relationship unfolds is just so dang sweet. I bet I looked like a huge dork, grinning so hard while reading it. I really appreciate that Sam and Penny are able to maintain their identities and their respective passions while falling for each other, even when love can be so all consuming.

And I love that a nerdy girl wins the day and finds her happiness! We need more stories like this.

Plus: Great characters, great contemporary story. It’s the must read novel of the spring.

Minus: This book is so millenial it hurts. Just look at the rose gold cover. But do not let this dissuade you because it is millenial perfection.

If you like this book, try:


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- You thought I was going to recommend Fangirl? Well I still do, but I also recommend Eleanor and Park, another fantastic story of an unlikely couple.


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