Title: Girl Crushed
Author: Katie Heaney
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: E-Book provided through NetGalley
Leah on the Offbeat meets We Are Okay in this pitch-perfect queer romance about falling in love and never quite falling out of it–heartbreak, unexpected new crushes, and all.
Before Quinn Ryan was in love with Jamie Rudawski, she loved Jamie Rudawski, who was her best friend. But when Jamie dumps Quinn a month before their senior year, Quinn is suddenly girlfriend-less and best friend-less.
Enter a new crush: Ruby Ocampo, the gorgeous and rich lead singer of the popular band Sweets, who’s just broken up with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Quinn’s always only wanted to be with Jamie, but if Jamie no longer wants to be with her, why can’t Quinn go all in on her crush on Ruby? But the closer Quinn grows to Ruby, the more she misses Jamie, and the more (she thinks) Jamie misses her. Who says your first love can’t be your second love, too?
Katie Heaney is a full-time senior writer for The Cut, a former editor at BuzzFeed, and the author of the memoirs Never Have I Ever: My Life So Far without a Date and Would You Rather? Girl Crushed is her YA debut.
Review: This book was beyond disappointing.
As a Bi-Sexual person I’m always looking for books with positive queer representation and I had high hopes for this book and in the end I was very uncomfortable with it’s queer representation. It seemed problematic and two dimensional. The characters come across as very flat and not well developed. Additionally a lot of what was happening in the character’s daily lives that seemed important, was glossed over and only mentioned in passing.
The adults in this book were problematic as well and the main character defended their inappropriate actions most of the time. For example when the main character defends her father’s sexism. I think it’s a really bad example to present, especially to teens. Sexism is never okay and for the main character to defend her father I think sets a really bad example to teens reading this. Books have a huge impact on readers and this is just one example of several events in the book that could have negative impacts on readers.
I also did not appreciate some of the language the author used to describe queer people. While I know there is power in taking back certain terms that have historically been used to degrade queer people, the use of it here felt forced and inappropriate.
I think this book had the potential to be really insightful and deep but instead it dismissed or trivialized many of the experiences queer youth go through in high school and even beyond into adult life.
While I won’t deter customers* from buying this book I will not be recommending it.
*I fully believe people should read what they want to read. As a bookseller I gladly offer recommendations and will be honest with customers when they ask for my opinions about books. However I will never tell customers they shouldn’t read something unless they are worried about something specific (i.e. explicit language, sexual content, suicided, etc.).