The Blurb

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighbourhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about.

But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?

The Review

Robin Benway’s latest novel – Emmy & Oliver is a clear example of YA fiction at its best.

Emmy and Oliver were best friends from birth. Growing up next door to each other meant they were always together. Until one day they were not. At the age of seven Oliver is kidnapped and is not to be seen again until he is 17 years old when he returns to the neighbourhood that he was snatched from 10 years ago. But can Emmy and Oliver’s friendship stand the test of time?

What is great about Emmy & Oliver is that the plot is so unusual but not that bizarre that you don’t believe that it could happen. You totally buy into the premise from the get go. You feel the pain that Oliver’s mum goes through as she mourns the disappearance of her son; you completely understand the overprotective nature of Emmy’s parents. More than anything, you feel for those left behind – Emmy and her other friends Drew and Caro; their lives have been affected more than they realise.

Besides all the drama of having their world rocked by the reappearance of Oliver the group also have real world problems of just being teenagers and making decisions about their own future; as if things aren’t already complicated enough.

Benway is definitely onto a winner with Emmy & Oliver; it is so easy to relate to and besides that fact it is also a damn good read. Buy it now.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway is available now.

Follow Robin Benway (@robinbenway) on Twitter.

Emmy And Oliver

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her own relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A Phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it with sensitivity, gentility and honesty.

The Review

In the past month I have read three young adult books which centre on the topic of teen suicide. This contentious issue seems to be (somewhat worryingly) en vogue. As worrying as it is that books for young adults are focussing on such dark subject we have to also be thankful for them. With any book, a reader will feel a sense of escapism and whether or not the subject of the book is happy or sad the reader will learn about the consequences of a person’s actions. Therefore, we have to be thankful to the likes of Gayle Forman who, in this instance, writes about the impact that suicide can have to those you leave behind.

In I Was Here, Forman explores the dangers that the internet can provide for those who are contemplating killing themselves. How a person can learn tips on how to end your life and support from others who encourage you to take the next step or “catch the bus.”

However, what is more powerful is the sheer devastation that the character Meg leaves behind, in particular with her best friend Cody. She feels anger, rage, grief, guilt and sadness – a thesaurus of emotions that she cannot begin to fathom. In the end she tries to search for an answer, for someone to blame.

Out of the three ‘suicide stories’ that I have read recently, I believe that I Was Here is the most powerful. The sense of loss and all the emotions that come after losing someone really make this story resonate. I would implore anyone to read it.

Gayle Forman brings a unique and inspiring voice to YA fiction.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman is available now.

You can follow Gayle Forman (@gayleforman) on Twitter.

I was here