by Lacey Weatherford, contemporary (2012)
Moonstruck Media, $2.99, ISBN N/A

Crush is a charming combo of cliché overload and sheer implausibility - it's one of those stories that can only exist in the fervent imagination of a randy teenage girl craving to lose her virginity to her favorite member of One Direction.

Cami Wimberley is one of those "have my cake, eat it too, and won't get fat even as I whine endlessly about the possibility of getting fat" heroines cynically designed to allow readers to imprint their libido for whichever boyband brat that is in fashion without being made to feel like a slut for wanting to come into physical contact with a penis. She's prone to moments of "hee-hee, oops, clumsy!" gaffes because a certain undead-shagging mother of a demon vampire child made it fashionable to be so, but every guy, including our hero Hunter Wilder (don't laugh), knows that she is just too beautiful for words. It's only her association with her best friend Clay, the nerd, that somehow makes these guys hesitate to ask her out.

Of course, in case I miss out on the fact that good girls don't put out, this story also has the obligatory skank competing for Hunter's "affections". We can't be allowed to forget for even a second that teenage girls who willingly put out to boys are all sluts that deserve our unbridled hatred, after all. The fact that Hunter's supposed promiscuity adds to his bad boy allure is a double standard that we should pretend not to see because boys can't do wrong in this universe as they have penises and we will die without finding our one true love with one.

So, Hunter Wilder, which is either the worst name one could curse a boy with or the most clichéd porn star name ever. He does drugs, he plays with the girls who bring milkshakes to the yard, but that's okay, he's a boy so he's hot and, therefore, utterly worthy of our heroine's love and affection. He asks her out, she goes "Uh, ah, maybe I should demur a bit because I don't want to seem too much like a slut...", they go out anyway, the slut makes a move on Hunter, our heroine acts like her world has ended, the author gets rid of the heroine's male best friend in the worst and most clichéd braindead manner possible, and these two decide that they are in love and anyone who disagrees with them can go fly kites in Wonderland.

It's so nice that they are in love, except, here's the thing: Hunter is actually an undercover cop and I am reminded many times through his point of view that she's "jailbait". And, frankly, Cami acts like a very slow-witted twit so often that I have my doubts that she's actually seventeen like the author claims. Because Cami acts like a twit, she often feels far younger than seventeen, and this makes her "true love" with Hunter a hundred times more baffling. I can only imagine that he's one of those guys who like their women dumb and constantly in need of a man to do everything for them, as I can't imagine why he'd find a blank slate like Cami appealing, at least beyond the obvious physical assets she sports.

And really, these two wrap up the story deciding that the age difference between them is really not a factor. I'm sure teenage girls needing validation that their age should not hold them back from doing everything and anything would love this, but me, I can only hope that Hunter doesn't get too attached to his job, as I suspect he may need a career change once he decides to make his relationship with Cami "official".

Let's not even get into issues like whether Cami is mature enough to handle being a cop's girlfriend - as I've mentioned earlier, Crush is a fantasy that makes sense only in the fervent imagination of a teenage girl. For this reason, Crush is a story that is only acceptable if it was written by a girl below the age of eighteen. That the author claims to be married and with children only makes Crush a hundred times more embarrassing to behold.

Rating: 47

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