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Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver

4.4 25
by Robin Benway

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Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit


Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. . . . She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. . . . He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will devour these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver's father's crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/13/2015
Ten years ago, Emmy’s friend and next-door neighbor, Oliver, was kidnapped by his father, and his mother has been searching for him ever since. Meanwhile, Emmy’s shaken parents have become stiflingly overprotective (“In the years since Oliver had disappeared, my parents had reacted by making sure I wouldn’t disappear, too”). But now Oliver, found in New York City, has returned home, and high-school senior Emmy tries to rekindle a friendship with a boy who has become a stranger. In a novel sensitively tracing an awkward reunion that blossoms into romance, Benway (the Also Known As series) examines split loyalties, the impact of confessionals, and how broken bonds can be mended. Emmy is a quick-witted, diplomatic narrator, who yearns for freedom from her parents and the closeness she once felt with Oliver. Oliver, whose life has been turned upside down twice, is cast as a confused outsider, forced back into a life he barely remembers. Benway’s intriguing premise and honest tone are a winning combination as she movingly portrays the growing trust between her characters. Ages 13–up. Agent: Lisa Grubka, Fletcher & Company. (June)
Morgan Matson
Emmy & Oliver is wonderful. Funny, heartbreaking, and true... just like life. Robin Benway has written characters I felt like I’d known forever, and was so sad to see go. A must read.
“Benway fearlessly examines the effects of loss and return from every perspective… Hope, confusion, frustration, and love coexist without shame as teens and parents come to grips with the realization that nothing stays the same no matter how desperately we want it to.”
Stephanie Perkins
“Robin Benway writes with her full heart. Emmy & Oliver is a genuinely sweet and funny novel bursting with the inextinguishable forces of love-between parents and children, distant and inseparable friends, new and reunited lovers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Emmy’s narration is smart and sassy, and the romance plot is satisfying... An unusual blend of a soulmate story, a melodramatic plot, and a realistic book about adjustment, growth, and change, this will please romance fans as well as pragmatic souls with a sentimental streak.”
VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Twila A. Sweeney
Emmy and Oliver’s story is a heartbreaking tale of what might have been. Immediately after admitting crushes for each other, Oliver disappears, hurting both badly. His return forces opening their respective locked doors and facing long-avoided problems, plus rekindles their closeness, now stronger. However, growth means leaving the past behind, something impossible if remaining together. This realistic and painful story, with its twists and turns, should engross females until the bittersweet, yet perfect, ending. Reviewer: Twila A. Sweeney, Teen Reviewer; Ages 11 to 15.
VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Lisa A. Hazlett
Emmy and Oliver were neighbors and best friends, and nearly somewhat more, until seven-year-old Oliver and his father disappeared. Ten years later, Oliver is homebound, only recently aware that his mother had not abandoned him but that his father had abducted him. His family’s tragedy left none unscathed. Oliver’s mother remarried but remained unsettled. Neighbors faced police interrogations, intrusive reporters, and gawkers. Emmy was smothered, as her parents’ stringent rules and limitations for her childhood safety remained nearly unchanged, resulting in her careful concealment of her surfing passion and dream of college upstate, two things they would definitely consider unacceptable. Then Oliver reappears, and Emmy assists him in beginning anew and reconciling his past, especially his guilt and pain of loving both parents. Likewise, Oliver bolsters Emmy’s confidence, asserting that she must also find the strength to live the life of her choosing. Soon they again deeply care for one another, but it becomes painfully clear that their respective journeys to wholeness must be separately traveled. With narration by witty, sarcastic Emmy, females will ache for both characters as they struggle to overcome the substantial consequences of Oliver’s abduction while also attempting to move from adolescence to young adulthood. Similarly, readers will understand the parents’ fears and protective actions, even Oliver’s, as the deep, unfathomable love all have for their children is increasingly revealed. Perhaps most importantly, it is shown that even the most broken, painful relationships can be rebuilt with honest effort and discussion, something many find too uncomfortable to begin. Reviewer: Lisa A. Hazlett; Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Emmy and Oliver were the best of friends up until the third grade, when Oliver disappeared, leaving their community forever changed. Years later, high school senior Emmy still lives next door to the house where Oliver lived with his mother and she has never been able to forget him. Emmy lives with the consequences of Oliver's kidnapping, as her parents smother her with rules and restrictions meant to keep her safe. She doesn't feel like she can be her own person with the weight of the past constantly influencing her life. But then one day, Oliver is back. He is grown up, guarded, and confused. Oliver thought that his mother had abandoned him, when in fact his father kidnapped him, and he was discovered by chance when he gives fingerprints on a school field trip. Although Emmy is a vaguely familiar face, he doesn't know how to bridge the time gap and find a place to belong in this community again. Oliver and Emmy try to do just that, amid the chaos surrounding Oliver's past and Emmy's uncertain future. The circumstances of this story provide a perfect setting to explore how two young people navigate new adulthood and forge new identities. This book is at times heartfelt, funny, irreverent, and ultimately satisfying. VERDICT Plot driven as well as introspective, it is a good choice for fans of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss (Dutton, 2010) or any of Sarah Dessen's novels.—Tara Kron, formerly at School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A girl loses her best friend when he's kidnapped by his father at 7 and must cope when he returns 10 years later. After constantly wondering about his fate for a decade, at first Emmy doesn't know how to approach Oliver when he returns, but soon their former friendship becomes a romance. However, family difficulties persist. Oliver can't fit in with his mother and her new family, feeling as though he's been "kidnapped all over again." Emmy's parents have overprotected her to the extent that she lies to them about her surfing and even applying to college, triggering near hysteria in her mother when she is found out. Meanwhile, they also deal with their friends, who suffer more typical adolescent traumas. As the story progresses, Benway peels away the surface and digs down to the raw emotions the teens and their families feel, focusing on Emmy's family as seen from the inside while watching Oliver's family from the outside. She avoids depicting any deep psychological wounds that Oliver suffers, while indicating that those wounds exist. Instead, the story becomes more about the struggle between Emmy and her parents, who suffocate her with their irrational fears, than a study of deep emotional trauma. As a portrait of the emerging adolescent, it engages, even if it gives the effects of the kidnapping on its victim short shrift. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Sales rank:
HL700L (what's this?)
File size:
511 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Robin Benway is the acclaimed author of the Also Known As series; Audrey, Wait!; and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June. Benway's books have been published in sixteen languages, have won international awards, and have been bestsellers in several countries. Formerly a bookseller and book publicist, she lives in Los Angeles.

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Emmy & Oliver 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So worth the read. It's gotta be my new favorite.
girlandhernook More than 1 year ago
Emmy and Oliver is the story of two best friends that grew up right next door to each other and were everything to each other, even at a young age. Unlike that moment at the age of seven that rips apart an entire neighborhood. Oliver’s father kidnaps him and Emmy’s life is ever the same. While one expects the child who was kidnapped to forever be changed, but no one thinks of those who were left behind. In an interesting turn of events, Oliver didn’t know he was kidnapped. He thought his mom left him and his father. He had no idea at all that his father stole him, and carries a lot of guilt about in the decade that he’s been gone. When he’s found, everyone believes and treats him to be the same person that he was when he left. But he was 7 and now he’s 17. Everything changes when you’re actually present, but to be put back into a life you barely remember, it’s like a mini life bomb and has ripple effects. Emmy parents essentially watched her like a hawk and wouldn’t let her do anything. Because of this Emmy actually learned how to surf behind their back, and applied to a four year university behind their back for fear that her parents would be upset with her. What I loved about Emmy and Oliver were the little moments. The little waves and ripple effects from the Oliver bomb of Oliver being brought back. Oliver’s relationship with not only Emmy but also his mom, his step-father, and his two new sisters. Or the effect on Emmy’s two friends now that Oliver’s back and how there are a lot of growing pains. Although I know nothing about having a friend being stolen and brought back, Emmy and Oliver was still an extremely relatable story, and that’s not just because Emmy is an extremely sarcastic character that I understood on a personal level. Benway writes my favorite type of books. They are quiet. They are full of family, sarcasm, friendship, love, and finding your own happiness.
ValerieStuckInBooks More than 1 year ago
Totally loved this book. It's funny, sweet, serious and perfectly YA. I love Emmy. She's so funny and I found myself giggling at her so much. Her response to her parents over protectiveness was adorable. And her unique style was so much a part of helping Oliver. She cares about him. She always has and that hasn't changed. But it is awkward at first. Of course, Emmy has a way of dealing with that that was just perfect! Tongue out and eyes crossed, she draws the smiles out of him. Perfect. And, of course, I love Oliver. He was dealt a raw hand. He feels like he's been punished twice and for things he didn't do. I never really thought about how someone would handle being returned after so long of being gone from their family. It was interesting to watch Oliver as he tried to deal with going to high school through this painful period of his life. Oh, and the teacher in me? I thought I was going to go ballistic on some milk carton bullies! I would have brought those brutes down if that happened in my school. I loved Drew and Caro too. This whole story is so much about friendships and the strength and pain from them during some of the hardest times of our lives, high school. This is my first book by this author and I was impressed with her teen voice. Funny and tortured at the same time, but totally believable. The romance in this one is sweet and perfect. I loved all the stolen kisses, whether is was Emmy and Oliver or Drew and Kevin. Very high school. I don't read as much YA as I have in the past but this is the kind of YA books I love. It's real and it's, at times, emotional but it's also light and sweet. It's that perfect time of life where everything feels so much bigger than it is and yet all the world stand before you. I raced through it, thoroughly enjoying every page of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! I read it for hours until I finished it! You won't be disappointed if you get it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very real and easy to connect. Couldn't put it down!
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
There are certain books that just stay with you long after you've closed them and long after you've moved on with your life. Emmy & Oliver is one of those books for me. It will definitely go at the top of my contemporary list along with My Life Next Door. The story, the relationships, the characters.... I was engaged from the beginning and immediately connected with all of these elements. I really enjoyed Emmy's character. I felt for her, as her parents are extremely overprotective of her and it made me sad that she had to hide things from them because they have such a good relationship. Their overprotectiveness makes sense though. After seeing what their dear friend Maureen went through next door after her son's disappearance, it's no surprise that Emmy's parents would react that way. They want to keep their daughter safe, but they are hindering Emmy from living life like a normal teenager by imposing strict rules and curfews. I loved how snarky and sarcastic she could be. It's not done in a negative, mean way, but it added humor and there were quite a few exchanges with her parents that just put a smile on my face. I adored Oliver too. He was such a sweetheart and I REALLY felt for him. Trying to assimilate back into a life he doesn't really remember is no easy task. He has been lied to by his father and while that hurts, he can't bring himself to hate the man who has raised him for the past ten years. He comes home to a family he doesn't know, friends he doesn't remember, and is not having the easiest time at school. It's natural that he would be withdrawn and even a bit angry. Things are tense with his mom and she is worried about him. Emmy and Oliver's friendship becomes such a big focal point in this book because let's face it. Oliver needs a friend. Emmy doesn't judge him and she is a good listener. I liked that she could be awkward sometimes because it made her so much more endearing. Before Oliver's kidnapping, the last interaction he had with Emmy was a note being passed to him asking if he liked her, to which he circled YES. That last interaction while a faint memory in Oliver's mind, has never been far from Emmy's. Seeing them spend time together and get to know one another again makes for a very sweet romance. The friendship aspect in this book is phenomenal. Emmy's best friends, Caro and Drew, are great. Benway develops their characters so well and I liked seeing how realistic their friendship is. When Emmy starts dating Oliver, she does end up spending more time with him and Caro does feel like a third wheel at times. When she finds out something Emmy has kept secret from her, but Oliver knows, Caro gets upset and rightfully so. These are real issues best friends would face and I'm glad Benway illustrated those. Overall, I cannot gush enough about this book and I could go on and on. It's a very emotional story, but it's also filled with hope and love. Oliver and his mother have some reconnecting to do and it will not happen overnight. The book ends on such a hopeful note, but I am going to miss these characters dearly. I foresee many rereads in my future!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
This one had such a strong voice and really great secondary as well as main characters. I think Benway did a great job really inhabiting the emotional complexity of Emmy and Oliver's relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only because its about YA's. No matter how old I get or how trends change, teenagers will always be just what they are, and no matter how old you are, you'll always carry a piece of yourself around with you from those days. This novel was a beautiful, realistic reminder of those bittersweet years when life seemed to be so complicated, yet as we grow and move farther away from those years, all we seem to recall is how simple it all was. This book reminds you of all the learning and growing up that took place in those years, and that the only truly simple thing about it was the love and connection we all searched for, and if you were lucky and blessed to have found it, you could truly get through anything....together. Of course none of it would be possible without the love and support of your parents, who were always nearby just hovering;) I highly recommend as a quick, insightful and feel good read.
Beth_Rodgers_Author More than 1 year ago
'Emmy & Oliver' by Robin Benway is a beautiful, poignant story of friendship, truth, and how love has the power to both benefit and hurt relationships. Main characters Emmy and Oliver, seventeen-year-old neighbors, were separated ten years prior when Oliver's dad, Keith, kidnapped him and took him to Chicago, where they started their life away from Oliver's mom and his dad's ex-wife, Maureen. The reality of a scenario like this actually occurring is truly frightening and beyond comprehension, but the fact of the matter is that it likely happens more often than people might think. The raw and realistic emotions that Benway was able to inject into her characters' dialogue and into Emmy's inner thoughts, since the story was narrated by her, proved incredibly touching. Oliver's return brings out a variety of responses from people who live nearby as well as those who were once close to Oliver and his family when he was young. Emmy and her friends Caroline (better known as Caro) and Drew try to help Oliver come to terms with being home, but the fact that he loves his dad despite the fact that he kidnapped Oliver all those years ago takes a toll on Oliver's ability to assimilate himself back into his former life. Making matters more complicated are Emmy's parents - especially her mom - who have been more overprotective than Emmy feels should be possible, since Oliver went missing. As a result of this, she feels the need to keep secrets from them about her life, including her desire to attend college out of town and surf as often as she can. Set in a contemporary high school and suburban neighborhood, 'Emmy & Oliver' shines a light on an issue that is scarily relevant in society nowadays, while at the same time showcasing the beauty of reconnecting with your past and learning how to cope with the future that is still to come. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen,' A Young Adult Novel
PagesofComfort More than 1 year ago
This book has been on my TBR for so long and I couldn't wait to read it. I've read a lot of good reviews about this one and it sounded like something I would enjoy. So when I was browsing the library last week and saw this, I knew I needed to grab a copy while it was available. This felt a lot different than the typical young adult novel, but I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because of the difficult content of this book, or maybe it was because of Emmy and Oliver's relationship. I really loved how they were such good friends for a long time. They were obviously friends before he was kidnapped, and then when he got back, they became friends again. Emmy helps Oliver exactly how he needs when he is thrown back into his old life. Although everyone thinks he should be super happy to be back home, they all forget that he didn't know he was kidnapped; he thought he had a semi-normal life with his father. Then he's ripped away from everything he knows. As their friendship grows, they realize they have feelings for each other in a new way. They slowly explore those feelings and don't jump right into anything. I really, really enjoyed this book. I can't believe I waited so long to read it, but I can definitely see what all the fuss was about! I'm really curious to read what else Benway has written. Big fan of this book! pagesofcomfort.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This would make a great chic flick!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a good friends-to-lovers story here, but I never expected EMMY AND OLIVER to have such an amazing cast of friends. Or hey, a pair of super involved families, including two sets of parents who play equally important roles. And although I like trauma narratives as much as the next girl, the thing I loved most about the whole kidnapping arc was how conflicted it left Oliver and Emmy feeling. Robin Benway doesn't demonize or excuse Oliver's dad for the crime that he commits, and she refrains from letting the seriousness of the kidnapping dominate the whole story. I laughed out loud far more often than I thought I would, and squealed far more often than I would've hoped. This is Benway's best yet.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
This book was so adorable. The voice was great. I couldn't put it down. It's a story of friendship and of love. But it's also a story about growing up, of figuring out what you want out of life, and of standing up to your parents and going after what you want. Emmy's parents kind of freaked out when Oliver disappeared. They couldn't imagine losing their beloved child as they'd seen happen to their next door neighbor and best friend, so they became extremely overprotective. It makes sense, especially to me as a parent. But now Emmy is a senior in high school and she's been sneaking around and surfing for three years, and she's applied to college behind her parents' back. Then Oliver comes home. It's awkward at first. I enjoyed reading about them rediscovering their friendship. Emmy has remained best friends with Caro and Drew for the last ten years, so Oliver has to find his place. And Emmy tries to balance these old friendships with her rediscovered friendship with Oliver. Everyone is so happy to have Oliver back, but they don't really know how to relate to him. He's 17 now, not 7. Oliver opens up to Emmy because no one is asking about his life for the past 10 years. It's through their sharing of truth that something more develops between them. I think this is a great book for teens to read. The love story is so healthy, which isn't always the case in YA books. Emmy and Oliver fall in love while also finding themselves. They don't get lost in each other. They encourage each other to follow their own dreams. It's also a great YA book for adults to read, especially parents. There's so much in the book about the love between a parent and child; I think any parent could relate. But it's also a great story about letting your child go and trusting them to make their own decisions. This book definitely lived up to all of the hype. I need to read Benway's other books. I love her writing. http://momsradius.blogspot.com/2015/07/book-review-emmy-oliver-ya.html
DonnaGambale More than 1 year ago
Though the plot is based on a Lifetime-movie-worthy childhood abduction and dramatic reunion ten years later, it speaks volumes of Benway's skill as a writer that this book feels normal and not at all overdone. If you love books with a wry, witty sense of humor that explore complicated relationships between characters you want to befriend, you should be reading EMMY & OLIVER! For the full recommendation, check out This Is What You Should Be Reading! http://www [dot] thisiswhatyoushouldbereading [dot] com/recommendations/2015/3/25/emmy-oliver-by-robin-benway
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous 17 days ago
Read the whole book in less than 6 hours. It was so cute I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would have been better if you could read from oliver's point of view too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the book just to read for fun and I ended up being hooked! Reminded me of high school days and how my parents were. Was very hooked and had to read it all in two days!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read! It will get you in the feels.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read Emmy and Oliver because it sounded like an emotionally charged book, and that is something that I normally gravitate towards. Emmy and Oliver were best friends at a young age, and we do get a small piece of time in the before, setting up that they were close and grew up together. Until the day that Oliver disappeared. He got into the car with his dad, and had no idea that his life was going to change, and Emmy had no idea that she wouldn't be able to tell him what she tried to get his attention to tell him before he got into that same car. I quickly saw that the effects of being so close to Oliver's mom, and wondering where Oliver could be has had an effect on Emmy. She has to sneak around to surf, and she understands their over protectiveness, but she still wants more freedom. Her best friends Caro and help her to have her freedom, and cover for her parents. Even though it was a two girl and one boy, he has come out as gay, so its not quite as strange about the allowance of him sleeping over with the girls. This was pretty much a very realistic feeling story. There was of course the cliche high school party with alcohol and weed. And let me just say that when I was in high school we didn't have drugs, and most of the alcohol was pretty scarce. But the friendships, the parents who are involved and gives out curfews, and consequences. They are also dealing with very real issues like classes, pressures of college. I liked how Emmy and Oliver had to learn all over again how to be friends, and share life with one another. He finds a safe place where he could talk about some of the things he was afraid to say for fear of hurting or disappointing his mom. Which I get, and its sweet, but I did like that he found that outlet. The chemistry between the two was nice as well. There was the flirting, moments of vulnerability and their bond that even though there was a gap, some things translated over time. They had fun together and had an easy banter. One thing that I wanted to know that I wasn't sure I was going to get answered (I write this at about 50%) is more answers about his dad. What made him run with Oliver? Where did he disappear to? The motivations behind it, especially since it seemed that Oliver was relatively well adjusted. He was home schooled and they moved around a bit, but he had a relationship with his dad, and it didn't seem to be any sort of sexual or predative motivation. I appreciated that the drama that was present in this book was real and it was over meanwhile issues. For example her friend Caro felt pretty left out because and felt like her two best friends were moving on and that she wasn't as much a part of their life as she used to be. and I mean that a huge issue especially when they're best friends of the number more than two and even with just one best friend like if you're all the sudden dating someone. It begins the start of a shift and you can feel left out. but this is such a universal theme because everyone has felt what its like to have a friendship change or feel left behind when other parties are changing and it feels like one person still has the same goals and dreams and there's nothing wrong with that its just different dynamics. I liked the ending, and I got some answers, but I don't think you can ever understand a parent's desperation and things they do sometimes. I could almost understand why his dad did it but it was from a huge bad place from him and did irreparable damage. I also loved the growth in Emmy, that she finally talked to her parents, and even though part of it was done in teenage drama, the rest, she made adult points, and accepted her punishments for lying. Emmy and Oliver were left in a good place but I always wanted more with them. I loved their chemistry and connection, as well as their past and a second chance to fall in love. Posted on: Brandi Breathes Books Blog Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy) for free. I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free. Bottom Line: Great premise and loved the characters of Emmy and Oliver.