At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.
Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?
Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans?
Have you ever started a book and realized you have picked it up at just the right time? This happened to me with DEAR EMMIE BLUE. I was in quite a bit of a book slump, feeling down about the extended social-distancing orders, and was finding it extremely difficult to focus on reading. Nothing was holding my attention. Everything I picked up seemed kind of pointless.
Then I decided to give DEAR EMMIE BLUE a try. I don’t think I could have picked a better read. Not only did it pull me out of a slump and grab my attention right away, but I also connected with the main character so much. I couldn’t have planned the timing better if I had tried.
Emmie Blue is 16 when she releases a balloon in England into the sky with a secret and her email address. It travels hundreds of miles to a beach in France where 16-year-old Lucas finds it. Through that connection, the two form a strong and close friendship. Now 14 years later, Emmie Blue is hiding the fact that she’s in love with Lucas. When he tells her he has something big to tell her, Emmie is certain that he is going to reveal his feelings for her. But things don’t always go according to one’s plans, do they?
I loved this story so. much. The book starts off with a bang and draws you in right away. Emmie’s backstory was quite heartbreaking, but I loved how she found support in Lucas and Lucas’s brother Eliot. The story progression felt natural and real. Emmie thinks her life is meant to go in a certain direction, but when reality has different plans, she has to figure out what she really wants in life, and what she wants her life to look like. I found her struggles completely relatable and I empathized with her and her feelings of loneliness.
I really liked how the story unfolded. I realized a few things before Emmie did, but that made the story both sweeter and perhaps a bit more heart-wrenching while I waited for her to figure it out and for things to be revealed.
At its heart, this story is about family and friendship and also love. It’s about learning that family should not be regulated to just those who happen to share your genes. We shouldn’t limit family by such a narrow definition because love and family mean so much more than that. I also loved the love story (not a surprise there!). It was incredibly lovely and sweet and just absolutely heartwarming.
Put this one on your summer reading list. You do not want to miss it.
CW: sexual assault (off-page in the past, but there is some (relatively vague) description of what happened)
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Lia Louis lives in the United Kingdom with her partner and three young children. Before raising a family, she worked as a freelance copywriter and proofreader. She was the 2015 winner of Elle magazine’s annual writing competition and has been a contributor for Bloomsbury’s Writers and Artist’s blog for aspiring writers. She is the author of Somewhere Close to Happy and Dear Emmie Blue.