Emmy & Oliver

352p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062330598; ebk. ISBN 9780062330611.
Gr 9 Up—Emmy and Oliver were the best of friends up until the third grade, when Oliver disappeared, leaving their community forever changed. Years later, high school senior Emmy still lives next door to the house where Oliver lived with his mother and she has never been able to forget him. Emmy lives with the consequences of Oliver's kidnapping, as her parents smother her with rules and restrictions meant to keep her safe. She doesn't feel like she can be her own person with the weight of the past constantly influencing her life. But then one day, Oliver is back. He is grown up, guarded, and confused. Oliver thought that his mother had abandoned him, when in fact his father kidnapped him, and he was discovered by chance when he gives fingerprints on a school field trip. Although Emmy is a vaguely familiar face, he doesn't know how to bridge the time gap and find a place to belong in this community again. Oliver and Emmy try to do just that, amid the chaos surrounding Oliver's past and Emmy's uncertain future. The circumstances of this story provide a perfect setting to explore how two young people navigate new adulthood and forge new identities. This book is at times heartfelt, funny, irreverent, and ultimately satisfying.
VERDICT Plot driven as well as introspective, it is a good choice for fans of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss (Dutton, 2010) or any of Sarah Dessen's novels.

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