The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Cage is a sweet YA contemporary romance with a side of depth

The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Cage is a sweet YA contemporary romance with a side of depth

In college, I worked with one of the prettiest and most ladylike girls I had ever met, and since we were trapped in an office sealing envelopes for hours on end, I decided I was going to ask her all the stuff I’d ever wanted to know about how it felt to be beautiful.  I just really wanted to know what it was like to wear the right clothes and to attract boys like flies – to be the one thing I always wanted to be but could never quite achieve.  I was a little stumped when she acted like my perception of her was crazy.  Even more surprising was when she turned the tables on me and asked what it was like to be so sure about everything, so confident.  I’m pretty sure I spit my drink across the room. I knew the anxiety and insecurity in my own head, so that seemed way off base. The fact is, though, that your perceptions of yourself can be so far off the mark.  I felt like a bumbling idiot, and she felt like a shrinking violet.  Who knew?

Carrie Paxton, the protagonist in this story, is a little too wrapped up in her own perceptions of the world and the people who populate it, and it doesn’t take long to see exactly how that is holding her back from the things she really wants in life.  I liked this book because there was the love story I wanted, fairly low on silly angst, and there were still some lessons for readers to take away.  I think you’ll enjoy this sweet and fast read if you like writers like Miranda Kennelly or Huntley Fitzpatrick.


Goodreads Summary

Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn’t the most popular girl in her small town of Stillburrow. But that’s never concerned her before. Her life revolves around her writing, and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper.But when she gets assigned to interview the football team’s beloved quarterback, she takes one look into Luke Carter’s blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she doesn’t like her lowly rank so much.

Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes her in return. But there’s no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a nobody like Carrie Paxton.

Is there?

My Thoughts

This a fast and sweet contemporary, small town YA romance that will satisfy your secret dream of being noticed by the hottest guy in town.  Surprisingly, it addresses a few deeper issues of small town life, including the perceived lines between the haves and the have nots.  I enjoyed this book and finished in a couple of hours, and I think if you are looking for a clean read with a bit of resonance, this book is a good choice.  I did think that Carrie was a little too committed to her beliefs about small town social hierarchy, but I know people who feel that about their own towns.  Luke is a bit of a lightweight of a character.  He has dimension, but I didn’t really feel like he was an actual person making his own choices so much as a character following a script.  That is okay.  I like my romantic interests a little idealized, but if you are looking for a guy that you might encounter in real life, you might find he is a bit more fantasy than reality.  Overall, this is a book that I can see my high school readers embracing, particularly those who enjoyed books like Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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