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  • Writer's pictureChrissy

Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Updated: Jun 12

I'm making my way through my physical TBR list at a turtle's pace, but as I go, I might stumble upon some older books that I'm eager to chat about. I know I might be late to the party on some of them, and there might be a few unknown you haven't hear of, regardless, I hope you'll enjoy joining me on this journey through my shelves.

Penny is average. Her life is average. Her family is average. Her boyfriend is a little more than average but their relationship lacks luster. She can't wait to get away from average Penny when she goes away to college. She immediately takes a liking to her roommate and through her is introduced to Sam.

Sam is in love with his ex. He knows that they are terrible for each other, but he can't seem to leave her behind. Which is why he is stuck living in a tiny room, working a minimum wage job, and telling himself that if he can get through today, tomorrow he will finally get his big break in the movie industry.

When Penny and Sam meet, its not fireworks and violins, its more clanging cymbals and chaos, yet there is something there. So begins a tenuous acquaintance between two strangers who couldn't be more different from one another, which might actually be just what they need.

I haven't ever seen a writer, a big deal writer, who looks like me. And sometimes when I write I imagine the hero as white, like automatically. How fucked up is that? - Penny

You know when you read a book and it is just so incredibly brilliant that it makes you question the ratings you have given to all the books before it? That is Emergency Contact for me. I have no idea why it took me so long to pick this book up off my shelf (I know I say that a lot but it's true). When I started reading it, it felt a bit reminiscent of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. Which is ironic since she blurbed the cover.

Mary H.K. Choi creates this incredibly breathtaking portrait of life in Sam and Penny.

This is done before they even meet each other. The way we are so deeply enmeshed in their lives and care for them before they are even introduced is brilliant. When they meet this song started running through my head during their initial text conversation.

Theres a lot of humorous moments written in between some really deep conversations. Sam and Penny, through text were able to talk about the hard stuff that I am sure had been holding them hostage for a very long time. Once they were free of those events in their lives they were both able to move forward and grow. Some of those moments include some pretty heavy stuff so please be sure to check your trigger warnings because I didn't and I was wholly unprepared.

What kind of question is that? It's fucking art, man. You don't choose it. It chooses you. If you waste that chance, your talent dies. That's when you start dying along with it. - Bastian

Like I said before this book is pretty reminiscent of Fangirl, only it's better. I enjoyed Fangirl, but it dealt with more surface level where as Emergency Contact hits the bottom of the pit. Do I feel like the story is unfinished? I do a little. But that's just me. I wanted more. This is my second ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read of the year and I hope that you will pick up your own copy.

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