Book Review: “Dear Emma” by Katie Heaney

Warning: This book review contains spoilers.


25861994There are stories that immediately gravitate to you and pull you in. With interesting characters and a very relatable storyline, Dear Emma is one of my favorite reads that is highly overlooked.

Dear Emma is about a girl named Harriet who writes an anonymous advice column in the school paper. Her column revolves around the student body’s woes whether it be school, relationships, or life. But she doesn’t hide behind her computer for long. Faced with boy problems of her own, she navigates through the awkward college scene while attempting to find love. From girl problems to bestie goals, Dear Emma is a lighthearted read that has something that everyone can enjoy.

In the story, Emma’s personality is seen as strong, direct and appears to be, one would say, Harriet’s alter ego. Harriet doesn’t have half of the confidence that she does when writing the school column and gets caught second guessing herself all the time. If only Harriet took her own advice, (from the viewpoint of Emma of course!) it would have saved her a lot of time, confusion and doubts. But, that wouldn’t be as entertaining to read now would it?

Speaking of doubts, there were many, many times where I wanted to just grab Harriet and shake her. I wanted to tell her to wake up and smell the coffee, especially when it came to boys. Throughout the story, we find her hung up about a boy named Keith. Their relationship starts off super strong only to fizzle out before it truly begins.

In life, there are clear signs when someone is not into you anymore. Sometimes it takes your friends and a hard look at yourself to see the situation for what it really is. Though the romance between her and Keith was short-lived, there was still genuine interest involved. Though I want to do everything in my power to side with Harriet, I can’t. The relationship didn’t have enough time to take off and Keith didn’t play a large enough part in the story for me to really appreciate him. But what I will side on is that no one and I mean no one enjoys the disappearing act.

Oh the disappearing act. It likes to wring its ugly little head from time to time. Unfortunately, it occurred in Harriet’s case.  And I, as many others may attest to, have fallen for someone who has pulled the disappearing act themselves. It’s never fun to be on the receiving end. One day you are having a great date with a guy, you guys are vibing and flirting and things are progressing. You really think this can be something. Then suddenly they vanish. It was as if nothing happened.

From Harriet’s confusing and aching heartache, I felt bad for the girl. But there is a point where you have to move on and remember that you have great friends to help you get past the tough times. Harriet forgot about that. She was too involved in her own little world to notice the great people she actually had in her life. This being yet another point I found relatable and a true tale that a lot of us dating folks face and go through.

Overall Dear Emma was a fun, light read. I enjoyed Heaney’s way of storytelling; it felt like she was talking to you as if you were friends talking over a cup of coffee. From boys, romance and standing by your gal pals, these components and more were wrapped up perfectly in Dear Emma. Give Dear Emma a read, you won’t regret it.

Rating: 8/10

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.