Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact

Book - 2018
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"After a chance encounter, Penny and Sam become each other's emergency contacts and find themselves falling in love digitally, without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other"-- Provided by publisher.
When Penny Lee 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 is stuck, literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too; he knows that this is the chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he's a famous movie director but right now life is really testing him. When they cross paths it's a collision of unbearable awkwardness. But as they stay in touch via text and share their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BYFR, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781534408968
Branch Call Number: YA FICTION Choi
Characteristics: 394 pages ; 22 cm


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jcljessicaj Jun 18, 2020

I love these characters so much. They're so real and raw and honest. I was fascinated by their relationship and they way they thought about looking or acting "just right" but it never ended up happening. It bothers me sometimes how romances feature characters that always look their best and act their best when they're around each other, but these two were just messy and I thought it was perfect.

Apr 14, 2020

I found myself hating this novel by the end. A great idea for a story, especially in today's life with our need for phones and use of online contacting styles. However the characters seemed very two dimensional and the story seemed more like a poorly plotted fan fiction of another story, then its own stand alone version. I felt like I was always missing something important during reading this novel, so much so I even went back to re-read some chapters in the beginning. unfortunately despite the hype for the love of this novel, I found myself hating all the characters and glad to be finished and done when I reached the last page.

Apr 06, 2020

Mary Choi has such an amazing voice in this book, the character development is amazing and incredible. I really loved this book, it's such a cute romance and a realistic look at life and college and relationships.

Apr 01, 2020

This was another selection from my library, and it was another excellent choice. This was actually a New Adult book, which was a nice change from the YA books I’ve been reading. And the main character, Penelope Lee, is a wonderfully strange character.

Penny Lee is an Asian-American who is sooo glad to be heading off to college. All she wants is to get away from her ‘cool’ mom, her boring boyfriend, and her embarrassing life. When she gets to her new school, she meets her new roommate and her roommate’s snarky friend. Though she has gotten away from her mother and boyfriend, she just can’t seem to get away from her own thoughts, which were the main contributors to her embarrassing life.

Sam Becker is a loser inside his own head and full of bad habits. While trying to stay away from alcohol and getting over a bad breakup (for the second time), Sam finds a job at a coffee shop. His day is filled with coffee, baking, and avoiding painful memories, and at night he goes up the stairs to an old store room that his boss lets him stay in. He enrolls in a film class in college, excited to get somewhere else in life, and then his niece through marriage pops into his life, bringing her roommate Penny into his life.

After a terrible panic attack, Penny and Sam exchange phone numbers and become emergency contacts. But as they text each other, they begin to realize that they have a lot in common. With Penny’s roommate Jude forbids either of her friends to date Sam, and Sam demanding that Penny not tell Jude that his life is a wreck, things start to get crazy.

This was a great book that I really enjoyed. Both Penny and Sam were fun to read about, and this was a fantastic look into the not-so-perfect lives of two very different and not-so-perfect people. If you’re looking for a NA book with interesting characters, this is the book for you. Give it a chance and enjoy the awkwardness of being a strange person in a ‘normal’ world.

As a diagnosed Aspie, I can relate to Penny’s askew view of the world. And I recommend this to all of you who feel like life is out of control or who just don’t fit in.

Apr 01, 2020

This is an enjoyable and quick read. However, I would not categorize as a "love story" but you do see how a potential relationship is possible. The characters are flawed but they do mature some throughout the novel. I also enjoyed how the story was told through the text messages as it provided a unique relationship between the two main characters.

Sep 04, 2019

I have never given a book a thumbs down emoji! Honestly this book was such a let down...I had been wanting to read this book since before it was released. Everyone marketed it as a "Modern Day Love Story," and to me "Love story" was not the first thing I got from reading this book. The texts between the two main characters Penny and Sam were more like "Therapy Sessions," than love notes. Was this book well written? YES, but the two main characters kind of sucked. Sam is a looser alcoholic that can't seem to get his life together. Penny is a selfish, self-centered girl who is mean to her friends and horrible to her mother. I just really couldn't relate to these two characters, they had no redeemable qualities what so ever. If you go into this book with an open mind, and not thinking the main focus is LOVE then you may like this story because the plot line wasn't horrible. But I will say this book should have a trigger warning for rape. I think my expectations for this book were just too high.

Jul 09, 2019

Adorable read. I fell in love with the characters and I really didn't want this one to end. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. Definitely check it out if you like quirky pov's with something that everyone can relate to in some way.

Jun 26, 2019

Penny- a college student studying fiction- and Sam- a documentary student/barista- exchange phone numbers and become each other's 'emergency contact'. They open up about all the shitty things going on in their lives and allow themselves to be vulnerable with each other.

3/5 : This was good. To me, the characters and relationships were flawed and imperfect in a realistic way. I like how Sam and Penny's relationship developed. Nothing mind blowing happened; it was a simple story. I enjoyed it (read it in two days...)

I found myself relating to most characters. I related to Penny's insecurities, harsh judgement, relationship with her mom, and desires to be a writer. I related to Sam as he tried to get over his ex; how he was still in love with Lorraine despite knowing it was over. I related to Bastion (side character) wanting to become an artist! I really like Bastion. I related to Jude's positive attitude and her insecurities of always. Saying this however, Penny didn't do much to deserve the ending she got. She was a jerk to everyone, yet they all saw her as 'cute' and 'a really good friend'. I feel like she could have grown more as a character.

What I Take Away : I could tell Choi was an experienced writer from her writing style. I aspire to be her honestly; to work hard in the writing industry, get experience, and eventually publish a novel. I guess this book also taught me to be more vulnerable to the people who make an effort to know me; to not be so closed off all the time.

Jun 21, 2019

I really like this book. It was interesting, and I couldn't put it down, even at the dinner table (sorry mom...) I loved all the characters, especially penny, and I feel like she really represented me well. It was a really good book and I'd recommend it to people who like to sit at a comfy arm chair and read a romance novel!

Jun 13, 2019

I really enjoyed the dynamic, dialogue, and overall sense of humor between Penny and Sam. This would make a killer film adaptation in the style of those indie-humor flicks like "Juno" or "Booksmart"!

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Apr 06, 2020

CORI D. MORRIS thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Apr 01, 2020

elisabeth_23 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Apr 02, 2020

Penny has finished high school and is headed to college to be a writer in Austin, Texas. All she wants to do is to get away from her boyfriend, mom, and her hometown. Sam works at a local cafe in Austin and is stuck in life in every way possible. His dream is to be a famous movie director. They meet in not in the typical "meet cute" way, but in an awkward collision. However, they swap numbers and begin a friendship through text while switching point of views between Penny and Sam. They share their fears, random thoughts, and dreams. All without having to see each other.


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