Whether you’re looking for a fluffy, cute romance or a story about the strength of family and friends or characters with fun banter, Emma Mills always pull through.
As Nina begins her last semester as a senior in high school, she expects the radio broadcasting class to be a breeze. Instead, she’s placed in a team with people she has nothing in common with, including her ex-childhood best friend, Jamie. Amid the chaos of internet rumors about their show and navigating her tense relationship with Jamie, Nina struggles to accept her mother’s plans to remarry and the fact that her father feels so far away.
While Lucky Caller includes a lot of aspects I don’t often see in YA contemporary, the plot didn’t seem to together until about halfway through the book. The first half sets up a lot of the second, introducing Nina’s family dynamics and drama, the radio broadcasting class, and her awkward tension between Nina and Jamie. Some parts were fun but came across a little unrealistic. For a fluffy contemporary story, though, I’ll give it a pass.
As for the romance, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The synopsis and cover gave me the impression that the romance would be the focus of the story. Instead, I thought the focus was more about Nina and her family. There were still a lot of cute moments between Nina and Jamie, especially as more is revealed about how their childhood friendship turned into an awkward acquaintance relationship. But overall, I don’t think it would have mattered to me whether they got together in the end or not. Their relationship is adorable but not detrimental like other YA contemporary books come across.
But what I love the most about books by Emma Mills are how strong and realistic the relationships are. Nina’s dynamics with her sisters, her mom, and even her soon-to-be stepfather are fantastic. (Dan is probably my favorite character just because he’s so unexpected and different than other YA “father” figures.) Her awkward dance with Jamie feels recognizable and the banter between the radio group seems like it was plucked straight from the mouths of teens.
I also love that Emma creates her own “fandoms” for her stories and that they crossover between her books. (Something I finally caught on to after reading this one.) She makes you feel like you’re part of this contemporary world she’s created through all the details. I almost believed Existential Dread was an actual 90s grunge band with a cult following of raving fans.
While I expected a bit more from the novel, I enjoyed reading and would definitely recommend it to anybody who likes Emma’s other books or wants a fluffy, contemporary read.