Saturday, June 17, 2017

A guest at Book Café

This year we are featuring two authors at Book Café. Robin Benway will join us on Tuesday, June 20th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch. Her first teen book was Audrey, Wait!, a story about a girl who breaks up with her musician boyfriend, only to have him write a song about their break-up that goes viral and gives her dubious fame. She then wrote about three sisters with magical powers, in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, followed by a fun duology about a 16-year-old safe-cracker whose parents are spies, called Also Known As and Going Rogue. Her latest book is Emmy & Oliver.

The basic story of that book is: Emmy and Oliver are childhood friends. Then, at age six, after his parents have divorced and are following a common routine of the kid living with the mom and seeing the dad on weekends, Oliver's dad picks him up for a three-day weekend and never brings him back. Instead, he disappears with Oliver, and all the efforts of Oliver's mother, the police, and the FBI are unable to locate him. This is all in the past, though. When the story opens, it's 10 years later, Emmy is 16 and still living next door to Oliver's mother, who has remarried and had twin girls, and then one day, Oliver returns. He was doing a school project that required the students to be fingerprinted, and when he was, the fingerprint popped up in the missing children database, and the police and Oliver's mom retrieved him and brought him home.

Now Oliver has to adjust to being with his mom instead of his dad (who is on the lam to avoid arrest), and try to fit back into his old life, with his old friends (who are happy to see him but don't know how to treat him), and to reconnect with Emmy, his best friend from birth to six years old.

Emmy has had her own issues since Oliver disappeared, the most obvious one that it made her parents turn into "helicopter" parents (they hover). This wasn't so bad when she was 10, but now that she's 16, she is chafing under the curfews, the prohibitions, and the constant surveillance. So she welcomes Oliver back and takes particular enjoyment in (mildly) breaking some rules. As you probably figured, at some point romance ensues.

The romance is sweet, but the parts I liked best were the darker moments, including when Oliver reveals to Emmy that coming home to his mother after 10 years of living with his father felt like he was being kidnapped all over again. There is also a moving scene when Oliver expresses his bitterness that his mother was supposedly all broken up about losing him but somehow had the time and attention to get remarried and have two more kids.

We will be having a drawing to give away copies of this and Robin's other books at Book Café, including an Advance Reader Copy of her new one, which is called Far from the Tree, and is due out October 3rd! I'm sure she'll be pleased to answer all your questions about this and all her other novels.

Please join us at Book Café on Tuesday, June 20th, at 7:00 p.m., in the Buena Vista community room to meet Robin Benway! Book Café is for teens in grades 7-12 only.

See you there?

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