It took me a little while to fall into the groove of Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, but taking the time to let the plot draw me in was worth it. It so perfectly captures the sheer awkwardness of being a young adult, with the added awkwardness that can be falling in love in the age of technology.
Penny and Sam’s relationship grows in a way that it probably never could have a couple of decades ago–over text message. As plausible as that is now, with dating apps being the trend and all, this story still nails how downright strange it can feel to take the witty banter and feel-good text messages and transition to in-person interaction. Sometimes it just doesn’t translate. Another truth, though? It’s possible to move past the awkwardness and into something awesome. When you’ve found your person, no matter how you were brought together, you’ve found them and that’s that.
As you read this, you’ll laugh a lot, cringe a lot, and then start fervently praying to Cupid that your soulmate will fall awkwardly into your life the next time you’re in a coffee shop.
“What kind of question is that? It’s art, man. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. If you waste your chance, your talent dies. That’s when you start dying along with it.”
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 at The Strand here.
(This happens to be my favorite indie, but please support your local ones!)
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