Published: 13th July 2011
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, YA
Recommended Reading Age: 16+
‘The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers.
Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe.
But something isn’t quite right about Zach Bevian. He doesn’t behave like a boy who’s been Crushed. He goes from hot to cold, from looking at her with contempt to asking her out on a date. She doesn’t know what to think. Does he hate her or is he truly falling for her? Is he trying to kill her, or is he trying to save her?’
Crushed is a fun, lighthearted read and despite it’s predictability, I enjoyed it.
It was definitely the concept of the game that drew me in and got me hooked. It’s a pretty callous thing to do to someone if you stop to think about it, but I’m willing to bet its also exactly the kind of trick most of us would play, given half the chance. My one gripe with this book would be that the game didn’t last nearly as long as I’d hoped, and the story quickly moves on to the main plot line, who or what, is after Kristen?
I have to say at first I didn’t like the sisters that much. Like Zach I saw them as snobbish, privileged, rude, self-absorbed girls, who like to play with people for their own ends, without considering the hurt or humilation they might be causing. The intense rivialry between them also took me a little by surprise. Brittany is certainly a force of nature, and the excuses both Kristen and Cyndi made for her behaviour baffled me. But I soon settled into the story and grew to like this family of witches who simultaneously love one another but are also, more often than not, plotting behind the other’s back and don’t hold back on issuing a serious warning (of the magical variety) if one of them goes too far. It made for a refreshing, not to mention, interesting, dynamic and I wouldn’t have minded seeing the sister relationships explored further.
Zach, I definitely liked. He’s your typical bad-boy package complete with leather jacket and motorbike, but is of course, a very loyal, and good, guy underneath it all. I loved Zach and Kristen’s scenes, especially in the first part of the book, when he dislikes her and is well aware she has ‘crushed’ him; but, for reasons of his own, has to play along and pretend to be in love. Theirs is the typical hate-each-other-but-are-obviously-attracted-and-in-denial affair. It’s predictable. It’s been done a million times before. But I loved it anyway. If anything, I wish this part had lasted longer. They are both well aware the spell isn’t working far too quickly. But for all that, there isn’t too much of a case of the ‘insta-love’ that graces a lot of YA, particularly paranormal, romances and though there aren’t enough scenes between the two of them, for my liking, there is the sense that they do fall in love on account of getting to know one another first. They suited one another and I especially liked how Kristen was the hot-headed, impulsive one of the two and that Zach was good at calming her down and focusing her.
The culprit is pretty obvious from the get go, but I don’t think this spoils your enjoyment of the book and I felt everything came together nicely at the end. The plot, though simple and predictable, is engaging, with only a few over-the-top, cheesy moments (the dancing scene springs to mind) and I found the romance to be well-written and definitely had several swoon-worthy moments.
If you are looking for a fun book to wile away a few hours that is non-taxing, has some good flirting, magical mishaps and a satisfactory ending, then I would recommend you give Crushed a go. It’s certainly not a favourite, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be back to read it again when the mood calls for it.
*Many thanks to K.C Blake for providing me with a copy of Crushed to read in exchange for an honest review.
For readers – Smashwords has the first 20% of Crushed available for free to try before purchasing*