Thursday, May 31, 2018

Emergency Contact (by Mary H.K. Choi)

A charming young adult romance about Penny, a girl off to college for the first time, and Sam, a boy who works and lives in an Austin coffee shop. Their romance evolves in a realistic way, with each of them having some real issues to work through as they find intimacy with each other and work throug relationships with their parents and friends.

At first the overuse of slang is a bit off-putting ("bless," "slay, hunty!" etc.), but it doesn't take long for the reader to be completely charmed by Penny's voice (and Sam's too, but Penny is the one we really root for). By the end, I appreciated how Choi integrated contemporary slang, and the voice of the characters (whether in dialogue or by text) feels very authentic.

Also, I'm currently working on a draft of my own novel, and one thing I admired here is how Jude (who seems like a classic sidekick character) had a real story arc and dimension by the end of it. I'm working on adding depth to my characters and I found it really useful. I'm also writing one non-white character and I like how Penny's Korean-ness is clearly an integral part of her personality but not in a stereotypical, over-emphasized way. This is a novel I not only truly enjoyed, but was inspired by. So hats off to Mary H.K. Choi!

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