Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi


Rating:  5/5 Bookworms

Short and Sweet Summary: In this day and age in which a relationship can be a click away two young adults form a relationship almost solely through text.

Genre: Contemporary Romance (coming of age)

My Review:

Penny knew emoji hearts were flying out of her eyes. She was smitten mitten kittens.

Oh man you guys, I don’t even know where to start! I absolutely adored this book and I could not put it down; it’s such a refreshing take on the modern love story. We live in a time where technology is almost pivotal to having a relationship; imagine not being able to text your significant other or not be able to post your latest cute selfie on Instagram. Yeah, pretty hard to picture right? I love that this book totally embraces this new realm of dating.

It wasn’t a romance; it was too perfect for that. With texts there were only the words and none of the awkwardness. They could get to know each other completely and get comfortable before they had to do anything unnecessarily overwhelming like look at each other’s eyeballs with their eyeballs.

In the world of online/app dating it’s so easy to pretend to be something or some one that you’re not. Although Penny and Sam aren’t hiding who they are they use texting as a sort of security blanket. When they text they take away the added stress of having to look each other in the eyes and gauge the others’ reaction. They don’t have to worry about what they look like or think of something off the top of their heads, they could be in pj’s and take their time thinking of the perfect response before hitting send. With my particular brand of sarcasm basing a relationship on just texts may not translate so well for me but it’s perfect for Sam and Penny. It allowed them to open up in a way that they wouldn’t have been able to if they were face to face.

Loving someone was traumatizing. You never knew what would happen to them out there in the world. Everything precious was also vulnerable.

This book also covers some mental health issues. Both characters suffer from social anxiety and Sam even has a panic attack at one point. With the current rash of suicides, celebrity or otherwise, it is imperative now more than ever that we address mental illness and have open and honest discussions about it. I appreciate when authors address it in their books because I think it makes readers feel as though they are not alone and may make them more open to discussing it and/or seek help. I still vividly remember the first book I read in which I connected to the character because of what she was going through mentally. We NEED more books that portray characters with mental illnesses because it sheds a light on it and helps to lessen the negative stigma that comes with it.

Dude. Every mom is the most annoying human in the universe, but most of them, besides the super-abusive genuinely bad ones, are in your corner.

I know we’ve all had moments where we think our parents are the worst but in the light of day I think we all now that our parents have our best interests at heart. Penny and Sam both have varying parental issues that are addressed throughout the book. And similar to addressing mental illness I think it’s just as important to show young readers that it’s normal to fight with your parents/siblings/family/friends. I mean obviously there’s a point in which it gets toxic and if that’s the case you should get help but bickering is normal. The teen/early adulthood years are a tough transitional period for all involved and flare ups are bound to happen.

If you’re going to be racist you should at least try to be less ignorant, although maybe that was a contradiction . . .

I’m so for this movement to include more diverse characters in books. Penny, for example, is Korean-American.  Including characters of different ethnicities is just as important as including characters with mental illnesses and disabilities. More and more people are demanding representation and it makes me insanely happy that there are authors out there writing these types of books!


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.

Buy Emergency Contact here:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible

Get to know Mary H.K. Choi:


Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer.

Connect with Mary H.K. Choi:

WebsiteTwitter | Instagram

Mary and I at BookCon!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Add yours

  1. I actually have this sitting on my TBR for awhile now and with you’re review, I’m more than excited to start reading it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: