reviews

Colorless Contemporary…Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway Audiobook Review

Title: Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: Phobe Strole

Running Time: 8 hours, 54 minutes, 7 seconds

Source: OverDrive/Public Library

Goodreads Summary: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

Well. This book was okay. Not spectacular, but I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. I guess I’m a little underwhelmed.

The characters of Emmy & Oliver aren’t particularly memorable. They’re your trypical white, suburban teens, nothing interesting. Even Oliver, a kidnapping victim, was bland. Did he experience any trauma or anything? Not really, not to the extreme. The most vivid character was Caro, one of Emmy’s best friends and a side character who barely gets any page time. But even she’s not much. There are Emmy’s ridiculously overprotective parents who bugged me to no end (I can’t imagine living in such a controlling household), but I wouldn’t say they were a plus.

Ask me the true plot of Emmy & Oliver and I honestly couldn’t tell you much. “A boy comes home from being kidnapped and the girl next door gets a crush on him” would be my best attempt and even that makes it sound more exciting than it actually is. Honestly not much happened throughout the story. There weren’t any huge twists or surprises and I saw plot points coming a mile ahead. I found myself wishing I was reading from Oliver’s perspective.

The romance is lackluster. There’s no tension, no urgency, no push and pull, no conflict. Emmy and Oliver were childhood friends, Oliver was kidnapped, Oliver returns, and Emmy and Oliver get together. That’s pretty much how it goes. There’s no real emotion put into the romance.

All in all, I wish this had been more. The premise is promising, but somehow got flattened and made boring. It’s an okay book, that’s all I can really say…

Phoebe Strole is a talented narrator and I always enjoy her work, but even she couldn’t make this novel interesting. She does a decent job with the narration, but the problem is that there’s not much heartfelt material to put emotion into. For that reason, the material didn’t translate well to audio. Strole does her best, injecting feeling into her narration in the few places she can, but the who thing just felt half hearted and lacking. Emmy & Oliver definitely wasn’t my favorite audiobook, despite Strole’s effort.

Final Rating:

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