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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review: The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage

When I'm trying to find a book to read, I usually have a simple criteria for choosing.

One is the summary. Usually when I read the summary and it hits me as very interesting, I add it up in my to-read shelf, no questions asked. Summary is very important because it gives the readers an idea of what the book is about.

Two is the title. The catchier, the better. It doesn't matter if its one word, or a short phrase, as long as it catches the reader's attention.

Three, and ultimately, what makes me sure of reading the book, is the cover. I like to read books with really good covers. Nothing flashy, but something that also helps the reader give an idea of what the book is all about.

Truthfully, Linda Kage's The Stillburrow Crush fails in two of my three criterias. Okay, so the title made me curious a bit, but no offense to whoever created the cover of the book, it didn't even convey half of what the book is all about. Still, I gave it a try, and boy was I in for a surprise.

I think of this book as my luckiest find for the year. No other book has topped it in my list (though Jackson Pearce's As You Wish is a close second).

Title: The Stillburrow Crush
Author: Linda Kage
Pages: 202


16 year old Carrie Paxton lives in the small town of Stillburrow. Her life is all about writing, serving as the editor-in-chief of their school, and also, the town's newspaper.

When she was assigned to write an article about Luke Paxton, the popular star of the town's football team, Carrie finds herself falling for him hard and fast. And suddenly she hates her non-popular status. When Luke starts showing interest in her, Carrie couldn't believe it. Is it possible for the popular quarterback to like a nobody like her?

Again, I ignored the very cliche summary and started reading the book, and a few pages into it, I knew I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

This was a novel with depth. It's an amazing story about a sassy, smart, and honest girl. Carrie is no damsel in distress who bats her eyelashes just to get the guy she wants. She's a strong, determined young lady who, like everyone else, has a lot of insecurities to deal with.

I loved it how the author not only focused on Carrie and her love life, but also her family and the issues they have to face. In a town as small as Stillburrow, everyone knows everything. Her mother got married young when she got pregnant with Carrie's older brother, Marty when she was in high school, and her father was the town's mechanic. Carrie felt that her social standing isn't enough for Luke who was the son of a banker.

For Carrie, Luke is the guy who has everything. Handsome, smart, popular and rich, he was the complete opposite of Carrie. I especially liked the way Linda Kage molded Luke's character. There was more to him than just being the football star, the town hero. He didn't want to be just a jock, like what everyone seem to think, but instead be what he really wants to be, a poet. It was unbelievable how a guy who seems so perfect feel so uncertain about his own life and the path he wants to take, afraid to make the first step. And Carrie helped him through that.

For me, there was a special kind of love that had blossomed between Carrie and Luke, each one facing difficult issues and despite all the uncertainties, the insecurities and the countless obstacles they might face, they gave each other a chance.

On top of all the issues her family is having, Carrie's older brother, Marty, had issues and problems of his own to face. His relationship with Abby Eggrow was something Carrie was afraid of. With Marty seemingly uncertain where his life was headed, Carrie felt that Marty couldn't afford to have a relationship, let alone a successful one, with the daughter of their school director. And their mother, deep down, is afraid that Marty will commit the same "mistake" she did when she was young. My heart wept for Marty, and for the baby he had lost, for the girl he had lost. Things happen for a reason, and sometimes, death opens our eyes, makes us realize a lot of things, and brings us closer to the ones we love.

These are real issues they were facing. Its about family, love and acceptance of what we really are. The characters felt real, their emotions mirroring those that we feel. Linda Kage has written a marvelous story about love and the choices we make that shapes our lives.

From the bottom of my heart, I had rooted for Carrie and Luke to end up together. It was natural for her to be afraid of what his parents would say, and it was also natural for Luke to think of what his friends have to say about him and Carrie. It's reality. But they were able to overcome that and there were very nice surprises that greeted them in the end. In the end, things worked out the way they were supposed to.

Luke Carter was destined for great things. And he was going to be by my side through them all.
He'd turned me, Carrie Paxton—the Nobody of Stillburrow—into Carrie Paxton, editor of the school paper.

And he was going to turn Stillburrow—a dead-end town in the middle of nowhere—into the childhood city of a famous poet.

It's a perfect ending for an equally mesmerizing novel.

Seriously, everyone, give this book a try. I guarantee you won't regret reading this.

Rating: ★★★★★ : AWESOMENESS! MOAR! MOAR! - I can't believe such a book exists!


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