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Crushing It

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Twelve-year-old Kat woos the boy next door on behalf of her best friend, and in the process realizes that true beauty—and true confidence—comes from the inside in this hilarious M!X novel from the author of Small Medium at Large .

Kat is already so over seventh grade. It doesn’t help that her best friend and cousin, Olivia, grew a foot over the summer and won a spot on the school’s dance team, shooting her up on the popularity scale. In the jungle that is middle school, Olivia is a gazelle. Braces-wearing, manga-loving, uncoordinated Kat is a warthog.

Plus, Tyler, Kat’s next-door neighbor and buddy since birth, morphed into a really cute boy over the summer. Suddenly the person Kat’s used to playing Xbox with is causing her stomach to do cartwheels.

When Olivia confesses that she has a crush on Tyler and wants to ask him to the Fall Ball dance, Kat knows there’s going to be a Tyler thinks Olivia is just another ditsy girl who only cares about lip gloss and boy bands. But since Kat’s one of Tyler’s oldest friends, Olivia’s sure she’ll know how to get his attention.

Trying to be a good friend and squash her own feelings, Kat makes it her mission to get the two of them together. From writing “Tyler cheat sheets” listing his favorite things, to feeding Olivia lines through her headphones during Tyler-focused study sessions, Kat devises schemes by which Tyler will fall for Olivia. And to her delight—or maybe horror—her plan begins to work. Now that Olivia’s caught Tyler’s attention, Kat has to wonder if she’s fooled Tyler into falling for the wrong girl. But what boy would ever choose a warthog over a gazelle?

229 pages, Paperback

First published January 10, 2017

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About the author

Joanne Levy

12 books214 followers
Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age. Being the youngest and the only female among four children, and the daughter to voracious readers, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book.

A survivor of the corporate world, Joanne now works from home, supporting other authors and creating the friends she wishes she had when she was a kid.

She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two mischievous cats, a mean African Grey parrot and a sweet but not-so-smart dog. When she’s not busy writing or assisting, she enjoys reading (obviously), needle-felting with wool (Google it), and taking long walks with her faithful writing companion, Labrador Retriever, Zoe.

About my reviews: I'm an author, so I know what it's like to get a non-stellar review of my book. So, with that in mind, I only review books I really like.

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5 stars
51 (38%)
4 stars
43 (32%)
3 stars
32 (23%)
2 stars
7 (5%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Nielsen.
Author 44 books7,711 followers
February 10, 2017
Joanne Levy's writing always puts a smile on my face, and CRUSHING IT is some of her best writing to date. This is the kind of book to pick up on a day when you just want something fun to read, when you want to remember what it was like during those awkward years, or when you want to smile. I can't wait to see what Levy writes next.
Profile Image for Joanne.
Author 12 books214 followers
May 27, 2015
Well, technically I haven't read it since I'm still writing it, but that wasn't an option. :)

Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,655 followers
February 6, 2017
3.5 stars

Crushing It takes Cyrano de Bergerac to the middle grade set. Levy cleverly retells the tale, and it’s pretty dang cute.

In case you can’t tell from this here blog, I read a lot. One result of that is that I’ve read a whole lot of variations of Cyrano, so for me this wasn’t the most original tale, and it’s not my favorite ship set up either. That said, I’m impressed with what Levy did with it.

The tale actually lends itself much better to the middle school age than to adults imo. Setting the person you’re into up with someone you know isn’t right for them, manipulating them into making that choice, is not a wise decision. But it’s so much more understandable of a mistake when your hormones are just starting to be like “oh hey, boys are cute, and also omg your best friend Tyler’s SUPER CUTE in case you haven’t noticed” and you’re kind of freaking out about all of it. Also, Kat’s self-esteem’s way low because hello MIDDLE SCHOOL, aka destroyer of all self-esteem. Kat agrees to help set Tyler up with her pretty, popular best cousin Olivia, immediately regrets it, but really can’t see a way out.

One thing I do really love about Crushing It, aside from how well it works with this age group, is Tyler. It’s so cute how he knows what he wants, and he isn’t just into popularity and prettiness. He’s pretty forward-thinking, looking for personality and common interests. That boy will go far. I would totally have loved this book as a kid, because it shows that the nerdy girl can get the guy.

In addition to that, I also really appreciate the subtle hints that Olivia and Kat may have some things to work through in the future. Their relationship’s a bit toxic; Kat is starting to see that, and, while they’re not there yet, things will need to change or their relationship will end. It’s nice that Kat takes a moment to realize how much she tries to care about what Olivia’s into and how dismissive Olivia is of what Kat’s into. Without being about that, I think that’s a nice little element for younger readers who might struggle with similarly unbalanced friendships (I know I did).

Middle grade romance is so cute, and I’m glad there are a few middle grades with a strong focus on romance and crushes, because lbr that’s basically all middle and high school for most of us.
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,632 reviews251 followers
March 13, 2017
This is a fun, lighthearted romantic MG read. Yes. Romantic. MG readers often want those too and this is perfect for the age range. It is a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, which the audience isn't going to know or care about, but I think it makes sense to retell this story in the context of middle school. Any one older should know better. My one big complaint with the book was how flat a character Olivia is. She is built on stereotypes and never goes much deeper than that. I really loved the dynamic between Kat and Tyler though.
Profile Image for Valerie McEnroe.
1,541 reviews50 followers
November 9, 2019
Kid rating: 5 stars
Adult rating: 3 stars

Cute book about first romance. Kat and her cousin, Olivia, are best friends despite having little in common. Olivia is tall, beautiful, graceful and popular. Kat is plain (so she thinks), nerdy, artistic, and smart. Tyler has been Kat's best friend forever. Over the summer he turned good-looking and Kat is suddenly seeing her longtime friend in a different way. Olivia notices too and would like nothing more than to attend the fall dance with Tyler. Like Kat, Olivia and Tyler have nothing in common. No matter what Olivia does, she can't seem to attract Tyler's attention. Since Kat knows him so well, she seeks her help to make it happen. Kat makes cheat sheets about Tyler's interests, pretends to be Olivia online, and feeds her lines through the phone. It works. Tyler thinks Olivia is a perfect match and asks her to the dance.

You can predict what's going to happen. They can't maintain the charade. The poop hits the fan. Everyone must come clean with the truth. I especially liked Tyler's reaction. He's upset at first, but then he spills the beans about liking Kat all along. As a 7th grader, he already realizes that shared interests is way more important that looks when choosing a girlfriend.
Profile Image for Nancy.
34 reviews8 followers
August 5, 2018
The end of the book moved me the most, that Tyler didn't care how she looked. What really matters to him was their common interests and how they could understand each others choices.
Not many people can look past the looks(not even me). Kat is lucky to know someone who cares about the mind of people than the appearences as Tyler is.
And the process of Kat helping Olivia with her crush showed that she was brave enough to hold back her feelings for someone she really cared about. The problem of many books is that both people are clueless to what type of person the other desires. And that complicates things.
Profile Image for Colette.
275 reviews2 followers
August 30, 2017
Crushing It is a Cyrano de Bergerac inspired modern day novel about Kat who is asked by her cousin Olivia to help get Tyler to ask her to the Fall Ball. Problem is, Tyler is her next door neighbour, her best friend and has absolutely nothing in common with Olivia. The storyline is fairly predictable but entertaining in the way that Kat goes about trying to hook up her two best friends while at the same time ignoring her own feelings. Kids will enjoy the contemporary language with texts and note-passing in class. The plot ends in a satisfying way and is recommended for tween who like romances.
Profile Image for gabymck.
219 reviews
February 23, 2021
My daughter’s review:

So much fun to read!!!! My mom read it to me and she put a lot of feeling in it. I really recommend it for you!

My review:
After a few chapters, my daughter asks, “Mommy, what is a boy band?” I am more than happy to explain and give some examples. Also, I get to see what is passing through her head in those moments. It’s fascinating.
You see friendships on the page, you read what a crush feels like on the page, IMO it gives kiddos words and ideas to describe what they might be feeling. If a young person is interested in love, I would suggest reading this.
Profile Image for Zoya.
139 reviews45 followers
April 16, 2021
I'm really confused about this book so I'm not going to give it a rating yet.

If I had to, it would probably be about 3.5 stars...
First of all, I guess I'm kind of embarrassed to have read this book, but I did actually like it a little.
It wasn't bad, but not a jewel either.
It was pretty predictable and right from the third chapter I had already kind of read it in my head - because I knew what would happen at the end.

It was a fun and very, very short read ( I read it in one sitting or maybe even an hour) but I'm still not sure about this.
Profile Image for Stacey.
491 reviews3 followers
May 26, 2017
This is a feel good juvenile story. It was a plot that has been done over and over, but it was still ok. Nothing special, but I would say I liked it. It is probably more of a 2.5, but I'll give it 3 stars.
133 reviews
November 9, 2020
So cute!

Aww I loved this sweet romance, Cyrano is one of my all time favorite one stories and I'm always in the the hunt for a good retelling, this one was cute and fun. Made my day.
Profile Image for Christina Boulard.
203 reviews27 followers
February 6, 2017
Such a fun little book! A great way to help kids understand that they're amazing just the way they are. ❤️
Profile Image for Melissa McGuire.
256 reviews4 followers
October 31, 2017
Im well aware this book was for a younger audience and I usually love these kind of books. But throughout the book Olivia infuriated me. I was all about her and she didn't care about anyone else.
8 reviews
January 20, 2022
All the problems were resolved well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mia.
31 reviews
September 22, 2021
It's good ngl. Kat has a pick me girl's mind but didn't we all at some point lol. Hey, at least she follows the girl code and can play video games, gotta salute to that🤌Also, the ending makes me want a boyfriend but at the same time I really don't find any dude to my liking😭🤍
Anyways, my only critique would be that the storyline isn't really that interesting to the point where you need a moment to "digest" what you just read or to move on after reading the whole book.
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 12 books53 followers
March 1, 2017
A fun and funny middle-school version of Cyrano de Bergerac.
Profile Image for Stephanie Faris.
Author 16 books92 followers
December 30, 2016
In Crushing It, we meet a 12-year-old girl dealing with new feelings about her male neighbor. Kat and Tyler have been friends for their entire lives, yet over the summer Tyler blossomed into a hottie. Her BFF has also undergone a summertime transformation and, worst of all, her BFF now has a crush on him. The story follows the basic Cyrano de Bergerac theme, but the fact that Kat has had existing relationships with the couple she's helping makes it even more complex. Anyone who has ever felt "less than" can relate to Kat. This book has a very strong message about being yourself and embracing your interests as you try to find friends and romantic partners.
Profile Image for Barbra.
1,273 reviews6 followers
December 8, 2016
I love the books in The Aladdin Mix series. They are mature reads without the worry. Look for the colorful stripes down the outer edge of the paperback. The characters are best friends unique in every way, facing the world of school, dating, and social media. This book is about Kat helping her best cousin get together with the boy she really wants to be with. These novels are perfect for reluctant readers, and will appeal to girls ages’ nine to fourteen.
Profile Image for Jodi Rudebusch.
13 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2021
A good read for middle school aged students or upper elementary. A fair recreation of Cyrano, but lacked the same impact. Thought the turnaround at the end was a bit cheap, but again it is a middle school read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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