CRUSH by Gary Paulsen


Age Range: 9 - 12
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After previous misadventures in Liar, Liar and Flat Broke (both 2011), Kevin is back again, this time applying his quirky, inquiring mind to the world of love.

Tina, aka the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, has stolen Kevin’s heart, although she's blissfully oblivious to the effect she has on him. Every time he sees her, his tongue ties itself in knots. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that hunky new student Cash appears to be joined firmly to her side. Rather than reveal his ardor outright, Kevin decides it’s safer to first make a scientific study of just how love works by setting up romantic opportunities for his victims (otherwise known as study subjects). He starts by trying to create a candlelit dinner for his parents, although he accidentally causes a fire. He then enthusiastically moves on to trying to ingratiate his brother’s hockey team with some female figure skaters and setting up a blind date for a neighbor. Each time he carefully observes the outcome. While Kevin gets in plenty of trouble, he seems ever so slightly more mature in this outing. It’s hard not to be amused by his innocent antics; his droll narration as he observes surprising but unhelpful results to his experiments just adds to the fun.

Another fast-paced romp with a well-intentioned, if severely misguided eighth grader. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-74230-6
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2012


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