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Emergency Contact by Mary H K Choi

Emergency Contact a boy and a girl lie back to back while on their phonesA review by Lynne Larby

Emergency Contact is a young adult coming-of-age romance. Penny heads off to college, relieved at leaving behind her mother who’s a stereotypical MILF. Penny wants to write. (Sound familiar?)

Simon looks goth, cooks and shares the running of a cafe while attending community college because he’s too short of cash for an expensive college. Simon loves baking but wants to make documentaries for a career.

When they meet, Penny realises they’re dressed identically. She’s mortified. And he’s related to her college roommate, which makes things more complicated.

After their first meet-cute, Penny sees Simon having a panic attack and rescues him. Cue discussion of healthcare (or lack of it) in America! Other social issues are also worked seamlessly into this story.

Having rescued Simon, who is short of people to be his emergency contact, they swap numbers so Penny can be his emergency contact. (Surprise, surprise.) Their texting relationship develops apace while their lives become a roller coaster ride.

I have so much love for Emergency Contact, for the style of writing, for the depth of characters, for discussions of writing and writing class, photography and doco class, engaging plot, FOR THE ENTIRE PACKAGE, that Marie Kondo says I must keep this novel BECAUSE IT BRINGS ME JOY.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 2018)
Length: 400 pages
ISBN13: 9781534408982
Grades: 9 and up
Ages: 14 – 99


Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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