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CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  60 reviews
As seen in Cosmopolitan, Elle, O the Oprah Magazine, Redbook, InTouch, People, BUST, on and Harper's Bazaar Online.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Humor & Entertainment

A star-studded collection of essays from acclaimed and bestselling authors and celebrities that illuminates the lasting power of desire and longing, and celebrates our initiation into the eupho
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by William Morrow (first published February 2nd 2016)
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Start your review of CRUSH: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush
Who was your celebrity crush? Why them? What did it mean at the time? What did you learn about yourself from it? What do you realize about it now?
This book will definitely provoke some self-examination, but it's kind of amazing that a book that should be vividly thrumming with the intensity of early adolescent sexuality is so darn...flat.

Half of the book seems to be halfhearted contributions from names they wanted to put on the cover (Stephen King's bio in the back was longer than his entry), an
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This is a fun read as authors write about their first celebrity crushes. I think most of remember a time in our youth that we developed a crush on someone unattainable. As you would imagine, some writers had crushes on musicians, actors, athletes, etc. which is to be expected. One writer's first crush was on Speed Racer and another's was Rydia from Final Fantasy. I don't think that is even particularly weird to be honest. When I was a teen, I ha ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A couple of years ago, I stumbled onto one of my old journals, roughly chronicling ages 12-17 in my life. One of the more cringeworthy entries involved my total obsessions with whatever man I enjoyed on television or movies. A lot of those crushes I still have now but with age came practical perspective, thank goodness! Other crushes, I was like, WTF?

Reading Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton's Crush: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush felt very re
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audiobook, essays
Some of these stories re: first celebrity crushes were really interesting, and some were far too long. I experienced so much sympathetic embarrassment during the Brian Austin Green remembrance that I had to skip the track and don't know how it ends (hopefully well?). First crushes seem to be an indicator of changes on the horizon, and, like the audiobook said, they are more revealing about the crusher than the crushee.

My first celebrity crush was George Chakiris, of West Side Story fame. My folk
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of essays (by writers, some of whom I was familiar with and some not) about first celebrity crushes. Some of the essays were long, some were short. Some were quite interesting, and some, not so much (I fast forwarded through a few). I think most appealing were those crushes from the 70's and 80's, which were the ones I could relate to, and I think most readers would have a similar perception: those from your growing up years would generally seem to be the most appealing. Ove ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Crush: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing, and the Lasting Power of their First Celebrity Crush" is a sweet fun lighthearted read of 38 essays by authors contributing from the Baby Boom Generation, Generation X to the Millennial Generation and is edited and compiled by Cathy Alter and Dave Singleton.

Most Baby Boomers can recall February 09, 1964 when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show to thousands of screaming American fans. Janice Shapiro contributed the delightful comic pages to the b
Erika W. Smith
It's a compilation so there are some high highs (Roxane Gay on Almanzo Wilder, Emily Gould on Jared Leto/Jordan Catalano) and some low lows (James Franco's poem about River Phoenix; and various male writers sharing some sexist nonsense about the things that make various female celebrities lose their crushability - like talking publicly about breastfeeding).
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Uneven and disappointing. A book on crushes should read like a crush - making you breathless and shy. Instead, with few exceptions, this read almost like a clinical study. Bright spots included Roxane Gay's piece on Almanzo from the Little House series.
Lisa McKenzie
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are two reasons to read this book.
Reason One: Roxane Gay's homage to Almanzo Wilder serves as a reminder of the powerful characterizations and world building in The Little House series.
Reason Two: James Franco's poetry will settle any debate as to whether he has literary talent.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This dumb book had a good concept but failed on organization and depth. It's simply a bunch of random short thoughts on star crushes from writers I've mostly never heard. They range from a few sentences to a few pages. Nothing of substance to any of them. A few go inappropriately into politics (condemning Donnie Osmond for failing to support gay marriage?). And there are even inclusions that aren't actual crushes at all but just running into a celebrity. There's not enough to any of it to make i ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rounded up from a 3.5.

This is a collection of short - some very short - essays about celebrity crushes. I like that "crush" is defined in many different ways: there's the romantic longing sort of crush, yes, but there's also the "I want to be like this person" crush.

The essays themselves vary in quality and interest; this is subjective, of course, but I felt like there were a few that were outstandingly good and a few that were not very good at all, but most were somewhere in the middle.

I wou
Lee Ann
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I don't know for what author I was searching when I came across this breezy book in the library's catalog. This is a fun, fast read where authors, most unknown to me, talk about their first celebrity crushes, including David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, and even fictional characters like Almanzo Wilder. I loved this musing from an essay on Rivers Cuomo of Weezer: And there's the fact that you can still get Tiger Beat delivered to your door, in print. Adolescent girls and their affinity for collage wil ...more
Of course this book is for anyone who has ever experienced a celebrity crush (and who hasn't?), but why is the book so... boring? It took me far too long to get through this, especially since I have it as an e-book. It's been a miss for me with all my e-books lately, but I suppose it's a relief I didn't pay more for most of them. Also I would have preferred if this book featured crushes on younger people that I'm familiar with. I mean, I know who everyone mentioned is, but I've never watched the ...more
Rachel Reeves
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I read this one for one of the book clubs I run at my library. I really enjoyed it and it brought back many memories of my own celebrity crushes and those of friends and family. It's a fun topic that most anyone can relate to, and reading the stories of several writers I enjoy was a neat glimpse into them as a person and not just for their fictional works. It's nothing earth-shattering, but for anyone looking for a light, fun read, I do recommend it.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essays about celeb crushes...most are first celeb crushes and very young crushers...I dig. We've all been there (Bryan Adams, circa 1991). Some of these essays I really loved...the James Franco/River Phoenix one made me so emotional and I did not see that coming. Franco is a beautiful writer.

Also noteworthy...Kareem Abdul Jabar one, and for personal reasons, Jared Leto. Specifically Jordan Catalono. Circa 1995.
Amy Johnson
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a proud Fangirl I loved these essays. Some were funny, others moving but so much to relate to if you've ever loved a celebrity from afar and possibly beyond reason. My faves were Cathy Alter's charming Donny Osmond letter writing campaign aided by her mother, and Caroline Kepnes LOL letter writing campaign to Brian Austin Greene aided by his mom!
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this, as it was really sweet. Personally though, I'm maybe a little bit too young and didn't recognise all the names in the book (or did, but didn't realise that they were once heart throbs!).
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a total joy to read about other people's crushes and beliefs and mindsets during the teen years as you start to feel like you weren't the only one thinking a member of a band was singing "directly" to you.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a neat idea but it lacked the sense of a coup de foudre that I was seeking. In short I could care less about the celebrity part and that was a pretty big part of the gist. I was hoping for more of the heart. Wasn’t quite there as much as I’d hoped. Not bad by any means though!
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a quick read. Interesting to hear about the crushes.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this light read and it sparked some fun conversations with friends about their firsts.
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This isn't a complex book, but it has its charms. It's a series of essays written about people's first celebrity crushes. Some people outgrow their crushes, others still love them years later. Whether it was a crush on David Cassidy, Brian Austin Green, or John Travolta, the authors reveal something about themselves by describing their obsessions.
Rachel Haas
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
CRUSH is delightful - both hilarious and provocative, I found the wide range of stories incredibly entertaining and deeply personal! And in a period that feels increasingly divisive and polarized, it is so important, now more than ever, to remind people that we are all human - and this is exactly what CRUSH delivers! That first crush is universal (even if only a 'celebrity' in the eyes of the CRUSHER) - something I think all readers can appreciate and enjoy. This would be a great book club book ...more
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I went into this book thinking it was going to be like those cringe-worthy gatherings in bars where folks read publicly from their teenage diaries. Some of the essays qualified, no doubt about it. However, overall I have to say the collection wasn't as cringe-worthy as I had hoped. There's juicy stuff here, just not a large quantity of it.

The last section of the book is my favorite, the one where folks start with goo-goo eyes for a celeb but end with "eww." If the book had more of that I may hav
Lisa Blake
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is pure joy to read. Seriously the perfect Valentine's gift as it is sweet, insightful and fun.
What really made the book enjoyable for me is that I could relate to virtually every single story. Each celebrity crush mirrored the many I developed as a kid. A genuinely charming rememberance of that special time in life when everything seems possible thru love.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a very sweet book that made me smile.

Celebrity crushes take many forms. For some, it is a matter of a feminine or masculine ideal that will stick with them throughout their lives. It can be a matter of sexual awakening. It can also be completely platonic and instead be focused on aspirations and trying to achieve goals in order to emulate the object of the crush.

This book looks at various aspects of "crushitude" (I just made that up) and how it affects people throughout their lives. Le
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
It's exciting reading a book from the library from someone you know, and my path has crossed Cathy Alter's. This explains why I'm reading this, since anthologies are usually not that high on my list. This was pretty good, but uneven. I feel like there were only a handful I thought were really good. There was also something funky going on with the ebook formatting which made it annoying to read (enlarging the text made only the headers larger, while the text remained very tiny.) Ultimately I foun ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I sloooowly crawled through this one. I'll admit, I read it because I saw "James Franco" and "Stephen King" on the cover. But Stephen King's entry was less than a page long and James Franco's story was more about someone he admired and less about a's a neat idea, but I guess I didn't care about any of the other less-famous people's stories, as stuck-up as that sounds. It's the truth, though. One highlight was a comic by Janice Shapiro, but maybe it's because I had/have a crush on John ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this. A collection of essays by well-known writers about their first crush, which usually happened to be a celebrity. Darn you Tiger Beat magazine for your pull-out posters of Jonathan Knight and Luke Perry!

(Does Tiger Beat magazine still exist?)

Most of the celebrities written about in this collection were before my time. I had no idea Donny Osmond was so beloved by his teenage fans. The essays were well-written and sweet, but the generation gap definitely impacted my enjoym
Kyle Nicholas
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was quite enjoyable, until the bit about Brian Austin Green. The author of that piece made her contribution far, far too long. She comes off as completely narcissistic. She's repetitive and dull - how often does she have to utter "Robin Thicke is a boy!" or some variation, before it sinks in? And, can you really call yourself a "writer" if you actually use "WTF" anywhere in your work? I think not. Skip over that bit and the rest is an interesting, insightful read... one that had me thi ...more
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