Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

Emergency ContactTitle: Emergency Contact

Author: Mary H K Choi

Pages: 394 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

“Smart and funny, with characters so real and vulnerable, you want to send them care packages. I loved this book.” —Rainbow Rowell

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

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.

The Review

Emergency Contact is a wonderful novel set in that post-YA/pre-NA genre which for me personally is an under explored category. It is set during the first year of university when our protagonists are just figuring out how to be adults along with figuring out who they are meant to be. It is such a joy to see writers explore this time period.

The story’s protagonist, Penny, is a bit of a loner. Her high school life was ok but she has been waiting for her real life to begin and t finally does when she starts university. Here, through a mutual friend, she meets Sam. Sam has been bruised by life so far but t is when their worlds collide that they start to really discover themselves along with each other.

At its heart, Emergency Contact is a love story, and whilst I will admit I did find it hard to get into at first, I started to fall for the characters and their desperate stories. Mary H K Choi has definitely written a winner with Emergency Contact.

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi is available now.

For more information regarding Mary H. K. Choi (@choitotheworld) please visit

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) please visit

4 Stars

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