Crush Paperback – Mar 1 2006
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"Absolutely charming...Mac infuses so much passion and heart into...this witty, entertaining glimpse into one kid’s summer of discovering that 'life is really hard if you’re a person who's alive.'" (John Burns Gerogia Straight 2006-04-20)
"This book achieves the goal of providing a provocative storyline with high teen appeal...Recommended." (CM Magazine 2006-06-23)
"An emotionally complex story. Communal living, drug addiction, and, of course, the lesbian content will all be sure-fire discussion points, and these same elements, especially the hot romance, make this an intriguing book for fluent and struggling readers alike." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 2006-08-09)
“I was impressed by this book and how it handled a sensitive and potentially awkward situation.” (Resource Links 2006-10-01)
"A bright, lovely novel...well thought out." (Hi-Rise 2006-08-01)
"[A] strong story of love and sexual identity, rooted in well-drawn characters and well-imagined situations." (Quill & Quire 2006-06-01)
From the Back Cover
Would kissing a girl be different from kissing boys? If all I did was kiss her would that make me queer? Because of a moment of indiscretion, Hope's parents send her to New York to spend the summer with her hipster sister while they travel to Thailand. Miserable, Hope ends up meeting Nat, and developing a powerful crush. The only problem is that Nat is a girl. Hope is pretty sure she isn't gay. Or is she? Struggling with new feelings, fitting in and a strange city far from home, hope finds that love-and acceptance-comes in many different forms.See all Product Description
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Crush is about seventeen-year-old Hope, who has been raised in a commune. She is being sent to live with her sister in New York City while her parents build a school in Thailand. Her sister, Joy, is less than thrilled to be hosting Hope. After spending all of her money on a vet visit for her Dog, Hope finds herself broke, but soon finds a job as a nanny for Maira, a woman she met on the plane to New York. When arriving at Maira's lavish house, Hope finds out something she wasn't expecting. Maira has a girlfriend, Larissa. Hope isn't too sure about working for a gay couple, but after the two women offer her a room and comfort her in her homesickness, she accepts. This would be her first step into the gay scene.
While in New York, Hope meets Nat, an athletic bike shop owner. Hope falls for Nat, but questions her feelings. The rest of the story is centered on Hope becoming more comfortable with herself and her sexuality with the help of Maira and Larissa.
Although it is occasionally hard to understand Hope's feelings for Nat, I think the story is well-written and easy to read. I think Carrie Mac did an awesome job of showing the Hope's insecurity with her sexuality. She also showed the type of parents you don't often see in GLBT teen books, the kind that accept their child as gay. Most GLBT teen stories are based on the parents who abandon and hate their kids, when in reality, most don't. I loaned this book to a friend and she really enjoyed it and said it helped her come to understand her own sexuality. I believe "Crush" would be an excellent read for anyone, whether or not they enjoy reading or are questioning they're own sexuality.
Book received free of charge.
Crush features super-short 'chapters' which jump around with set-up material that might have been relevant in an actual novel--but here wound up feeling completely beside the point. We have backstory about the main character's retro-60s parents and their life on a commune and their alternative spirituality. Lots of it. We have sketchy backstory about main character's sister and her drug problem. More backstory about vaguely unsatisfactory relationships with boys. Etc. (Can I remember main character's name, 3 days after reading this? No, I cannot.)
For what it's worth, by the time we finally get to the few actual interactions between the two girls, they do feel both au-courant and genuine (as a crush; which is all this is about). That's limited to about 15, 20 pages. The interactions between main character and the Nice Lesbian Couple who temporarily adopt her... a little stilted but alright. It's the kind of book you could assign in a liberal high school as the literary equivalent of an AfterSchool Special, but it's got no real center.
So: what is this published object, exactly? It's an outline. A book proposal with a few short sample chapters. The whole thing is no more than 50,000 words, max. And should be half that long. And costs ten bucks. I felt burned: still do. Which is the publisher's fault, not the author's. If it had been published elsewhere at greater length... it'd still have been a tough sell, with a lot of very disparate elements; and I'm still not convinced it would have worked.
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