“That’s still valid, even if it wasn’t built to last. It’s not any less significant.”
All of you already know that I am a huge Emma Mills fan. I think it’s pretty much impossible for me to not like her novels. Contemporary YA isn’t really a genre I reach that much for anymore, but her books always make me feel so safe and warm, which is why I keep coming back for them. And when I got an eARC of Lucky Caller, I knew I had to read it immediately, even with the knowledge that that meant I will have no more Mills novels to read until the next release. And lucky that I did pick it up, because it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2019.
Lucky Caller follows Nina, who decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year of high school. The class entails for students to make and host their own radio show, and Nina finds herself in a team of people who she has nothing in common with, and which also includes Jamie, a childhood friend who she doesn’t want to talk to ever again. The show takes off, albeit in an unexpected direction, and Nina’s whole life is turned upside down.
I loved the premise this book was based on. As part of their class about radio, Nina, our protagonist, and her classmates have to produce and broadcast a radio show for their student radio station. I thought this was such a nice concept and I think it translated into the book so well. I loved seeing the bits about their show and parts of their broadcast in the book so much. I think the setting of the radio booth really allowed for the dynamic of the group to blossom and I just loved how it played into their personalities. Nina’s dad is also a radio show host and we also get bits and pieces of his show, and I really enjoyed that as well. I am a huge podcast lover, so I really loved that this book is sort of adjacent to that, and I think it’s such a unique setting.
As with any Emma Mills book, the characters were amazing and the friendships and family relationships were beyond cute. I loved Nina a lot as a main character. I think as with any Emma Mills protagonist, she felt very real and flawed, but she was also very self-aware and wanted to grow and change in the end. That’s why I love her characters so much – they feel like real teenagers and real people, who are flawed and make mistakes, but are also self-aware and grow so much during the novel. Plus, Nina is really sarcastic and funny and has a problem with expressing her emotions, so you know – RELATABLE.
Jamie was one of my favorite Emma Mills love interests. He is such a cinnamon roll and he is just the purest, most kind human being. I LOVED learning about his and Nina’s relationship before they had a falling out, and I loved seeing them slowly become friends together and then more. It was so soft and pure.
The rest of the characters were also amazing! I loved Joydeep so much, because he is a riot and I loved Sasha so much because she is the coolest person ever. I wish we could get a book from her own point of view. And their group dynamic was superb. I loved seeing them get to know each other and then become friends, IT WAS PRECIOUS.
And again, I loved the way Emma Mills acknowledges that there are people who are temporary in your life and that those relationships aren’t less valuable. I think that’s something that the people who are leaving high school right now will really benefit from seeing in books. And older people too. I think she manages to write high school and friendships really realistically and I really enjoy that about her writing.
I loved Nina’s family so much. She has two sisters and she lives with her mom, who just got engaged to her boyfriend Dan. Emma Mills is really good at writing great sister dynamics and I loved seeing how Nina interacted with Sydney and Rose. I also loved the way her relationship with her dad was explored, and how she dealt with her parents’ divorce. Dan is a superb character (I mean he is paint-by-number Youtuber!!!) and seeing his and Nina’s relationship evolve was again, so well done.
There was a play-pretend game that the girls and Jamie used to play when they were younger, called The Kingdom. All of them had their own characters and we get flashbacks of them playing, but also Nina and Jamie used the game to communicate when they did not know how to start a conversation with one another and that was just so precious. And I used to have the same kind of elaborate play-pretend game when I was in preschool with my friends, so this was so nice to see on-page.
ALSO, we got a Megan Pleasant reference (from Famous in a Small Town) and a significant TION (from the rest of the Mills universe) appearance and that just made me really happy.
I loved this book and could not recommend it more. I think this has such a lovely and unique premise and if you love books about friendship and family, this is one you definitely want to pick up.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Have I convinced you to read an Emma Mills book yet (say yes)? Let’s chat!
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