Can Young Love Last? A review of “The Crush” by Penelope Ward

Farrah has had a crush on her brother Nathan’s best friend Jace since she was in grade school but with a six year spread in their ages, he couldn’t go there even if he had wanted to back then. However now that he’s returned to Florida and moved back in with Nathan and Farrah, she is a twenty-one year old knockout. But worst of all, she not only didn’t outgrow her childhood crush, it’s more intense than ever. Jace’s reputation as a commitment-phobe womanizer is all the reason Nathan needs to be certain that Jace will never be right for Farrah. Nathan is protective because their parents were killed when Farrah was only fourteen and he’s been a brother/father figure to her since. But what the heart wants can’t be controlled or wished away and eventually Jace and Farrah give in to temptation and begin sneaking around to be together, knowing that Nathan will flip out if he ever finds out. How long will it take before Nathan notices the way they look at each other? What will be the price of the fallout?

“The Crush” by Penelope Ward is full of romance and angst, family ties and angst, angsty trust and even a second chance romance. And did I mention the angst? I have read more than half of Penelope Ward’s books but this is not on my list of favorites. The dialogue is reminiscent of what I’d expect in a YA (Young Adult) novel, minus the bedroom scenes. The plot premise is very good but the characters just didn’t do it for me. I never felt much of a connection to, or empathy for, any of them, perhaps because they’re not all that likeable. Jace came across as weak and Farrah was supposedly an old soul but I couldn’t see past her manipulative demeanor. I truly dislike having to write a negative review but, as the umpire says, “I calls ’em like I sees ’em”. Three stars.

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