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From National Book Award-nominated authors Laura and Tom McNeal
Audrey and her two best friends have just transferred to Jemison High from their tiny private school. They're a nerdy little trio, so everyone is shocked when the handsome new guy, Wickham Hill, asks Audrey out. Audrey is so smitten that she doesn't pay much attention to The Yellow Paper, a vicious underground school newspaper...until it threatens to tell a tale that could change everything.
Crushed is reminding me quite a bit of The Penderwicks. Both books feature a setting that would have been perfectly natural in a book from 50 or 100 years ago: The Penderwicks' summer vacation cottage, and in Crushed, the one-room private school the lead character, Audrey, attended before going to public high school.
I'm just a few chapters in, but the characters in Crushed are becoming very well rounded, especially the mysterious boy who's always staring at Audrey.read more
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The McNeals (Crooked) again focus on teens facing a bully and caught in family drama in this engaging and complex-though at times overwrought-novel. When smart, rich Audrey Reed starts public school for the first time, the popular girls harass her, and "thug" Theo Driggs tells her she's on his "to-do list." But when confident Wickham Hill, with his southern drawl, transfers into Jemison High, she immediately feels a spark. Study dates quickly move to romantic ones, and although Audrey feels awkward about helping Wickham cheat on a quiz, just seeing him makes "everything feel okay again." Their romance hurts Clyde Mumsford, a shy, awkward boy with a crush on Audrey; but when he tries to reveal Wickham's dark past to her, she gives Theo ammunition to beat up Clyde. Told mostly in third-person narrative from Audrey and Clyde's perspectives, readers get to know their nearly unbelievable amount of problems (Audrey's widowed father seems to have lost all their money; Clyde's own mother is dying of cancer; Wickham is the product of a long-term affair between his mother and a rich married man). Some plotting doesn't gel (e.g., a teacher who makes a personal confession about her marriage to Audrey), and Theo and his cronies (including one that "wore a black jacket studded with chrome") seem two-dimensional. Ultimately, though, these authors carefully construct a compelling story about youthful mistakes-and how to make amends. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved