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The Crush

(The Ballad of Emery Brooks #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Never settle for anything less.

A combination hopeless romantic and old soul trapped in a teenager’s body, closet musician Emery Brooks wonders if she’ll ever find a love as timeless as her grandparents’. Fear of judgment and social alienation due to her older brother’s past mistakes render her incapable of writing a love song. Still, Emery holds fast to the ideals her Gra
Paperback, 280 pages
Published October 24th 2020 by Allyson Kennedy
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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How do you review a book that made you cry your eyes out and turned your world upside down? — I don’t know but I’m going to try because this book definitely deserves a review. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about the ending. As a lover of happy endings, it was hard to face. Just know this book is sad and will make you cry! But it will make you smile too.

From the first few pages (and the cover because I love it so much!), I knew I was going to like this book. Really love it. I connected with
2-21-2022 Update: The Crush is currently on sale for the first time ever for $1.99 on all my ebook retailers, from now until February 26th! Grab your copy here:

Paperbacks and ebooks are now available! Grab your own copy here: .

A tale of love and loss reminiscent of old-fashioned values with a bit of sass and music mixed in, The Crush is perfect for fans of A Walk to Remember and This Lullaby.

Add Book 2, The Fall t
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-read
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

ok um wow...

what an emotional ride! And to be honest I feel mildly betrayed by that ending. One of the craziest curve balls ever thrown at me!

But so anyway... this book was so good. At first I was not liking it that much. It just seemed like another one of those cheesy cliche christian books but once I got into it, man I fell in love with the characters.

What I liked:

Kennendys writing style is so nice. Often nowad
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
UPDATED: 9/14/20
I’ve read and reviewed Allyson Kennedy’s books before, and while I’ve always, always loved her stories, I was not even ready for The Crush.

YA Christian Contemporary is a much needed genre, but it’s very hard to find books within this genre that are both amazing stories, and amazing at presenting Christianity in a way that isn’t preachy. The Crush is a story that is so amazing that I literally laughed out loud and cried my eyes out in more than one place. It’s so beautiful.

“I’m ashamed to admit I may be wrong, for now my heart is a puzzle I’m struggling to solve.” - The Crush (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #1) by Allyson Kennedy
Rating: 5/5 ⭐️
The Crush was so good!! It follows Emery Brooks from her last few weeks of middle school to halfway through her junior year of high school as she learns about life, first love, and God’s grace.
The Crush is set in a small NC town, which is so similar to where my mom grew up! In a lot of ways, Grahamwood feels l
Jes Drew
I've read two of Allyson's books before, and I liked them both. But I like this cover most of all, and thought I'd like this story the most, too. I was right.

But at what cost?

This story is everything one would expect from a sweet contemporary coming-of-age tale with a hint of romance.

Except that it's way, way more.

Brooke is such a relatable character, and old soul with a young heart. She longs for romance, but has both feet planted firmly on the ground. She has a loving family and a good friend,
Loretta Marchize
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This book definitely took me on a rollercoaster! There were some plot twists I did NOT expect! I enjoyed reading it. I read it in about 2 1/2 hours, in one afternoon. (I do read very fast). I couldn't put it down!

It was a little deeper and darker than I'd originally expected it to be. It's definitely for a little bit more mature audience, but it's pretty clean overall. I actually enjoyed it even more than I thought I would, and I'm considering marking it as one of my favorite novels.

I received a
Hufflepuff Book Reviewer
When I first read Allyson Kennedy’s debut novel Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl more than two years ago, I realized that I enjoyed the author’s style immensely. But I still deemed her a fairly generic YA romance writer, who writes ‘fluffy’ stories about young people meeting their true loves. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, to be clear. Fluffy reads can be great!) But then when I read Kennedy’s second novel, Speak Your Mind, an inspiring coming-of-age story that centers on per ...more
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
Looking at the title, you may think that this is a fluffy read, just full of sparkles and glitter. That would be inaccurate. This book was so emotional, thought-provoking, and real.

One of the best parts about this book was the emphasis on friendship. Even though Sawyer and Emery were dating, they focused on keeping a strong friendship instead of a romantic one.

Also, can we get a round of applause for a romance that is not 'insta' anything? I really liked how this book was set over the course of
Mary Elizabeth
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. ;)

This book is so well-written, and the characters are very in-depth! I love how Emery- the main character- is searching endlessly for her true love, but at the same time making careful decisions about who she lets into her heart!
This book is appropriate for ages 11-18, and is the perfect introduction for young readers to christian romance novels. It assists young readers in understanding God's plan for your future!
What I didn't
M. Boyle
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kennedy's YA novel The Crush gives an honest look at what it means to support someone with depression and stay true to God's plan - and how to make music out of it all. It's a lesson-packed novel that would be excellent for a book club.

I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Karen (BaronessBookTrove)
The Crush by Allyson Kennedy is about two people falling in love and believing in God.
Does Emery find her forever man like her grandma Adeline did?
Emery Brooks
We follow Emery Brooks from her last few days as an eighth-grader to going to high school. Emery isn't just a normal fourteen-year-old girl as she idolized her grandparents' love for each other. So much happens for Emery, from when we first start her book to the very end when she's sixteen. Emery is a good character, even if it's a bit
book_loversdreams Betty
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Review:

I received this beautiful ARC called “The Crush: The Ballad of Emmery Brooks, Volume1” from its author Allyson Kennedy @authorallysonkennedy for my honest opinion of her newest novel which will be coming out Saturday October 24th, 2020❤️

The story revolves around a young sassy southern girl named Emmery Brooks whom we initially meet when she is 14 years old and watch her evolve over a 3 year period of time. She is brought up in a family with a strong faith in the church. She has a won
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blessed & Bookish
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Crush by Allyson Kennedy is a sweet, young-adult story with an old-soul vibe. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story, and I especially loved Emery and Ryanne. They are all so genuine--even the characters you aren’t meant to like. And while the story may have moved a little slow at times, it was full of real-life, heartfelt issues that are so, so relevant today. You will quickly get swept away in Emery’s quest to guard her heart for the love God has for her. You will fall ...more
Ryan Elizabeth
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it

(I received a copy of this book to review by the author, but all opinions are my own!)

What I thought was going to be your average fluffy, cute love story turned out to be a thought-provoking and emotional story (while still sweet) with a lot of depth.

I LOVED the writing style! I don't know how to exactly describe it, but it was really enjoyable to read.

Overall, I'm really impressed by Allyson Kennedy right now.

I'd mostly recommend this for younger teens. :)

~(May add more to review later!)~
Shamika Lindsay
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sweet book with a southern flair. I must say. I'm a huge fan of books that transport me to another realm. And this did just that. It was so innocent and sweet that I smiled like a goofball at certain scenes. But ugh completely adorable.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I think this book told a really sweet story, but... not for the right age group. I don't think it is healthy for someone so young to be so obsessed with finding the person they're going to spend the rest of their life with... which leads me to the relationship.

When she is fourteen she meets the Sawyer- the guy, the crush- and I don't want to repeat myself, but like I said she has an unhealthy obsession with finding the one (who she decides is Sawyer).

Sawyer is the love interest, and when the boo
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished an e-ARC of The Crush by Allyson Kennedy. Thank you for letting me read an e-Arc in exchange for my honest review. It was a rollercaoster of emotions. It was so deep and heart breaking.
The journey of the main character, Emery, in search of love was so painful. She deserved so much better than what she got. I Could feel how beautiful her heart was. Always there for her family, suffering alone in order to spare others from the pain. Well, not everyone can do that. My heart broke for he
Samantha B
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the setting of this novel is "very Southern". I've never been to the South for more than a week, so I really don't know a lot about it. But after this book...I feel like I've been dunked in the South for the couple of days it took me to read it. Excellent immersion in the setting.

The plot was perhaps the strongest, but also strangest, part of this book. The book spans two years, showing the trajectory of Emery's thoughts/feelings about Sawyer
Katelyn Furtick
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I received a digital ARC of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

I want to start by alerting to trigger warnings for suicide attempt and depression.

This was such a sweet little story! It is a very young adult novel. It follows our main character, Emery, from ages 14-16. It is a great coming-of-age story.

The writing was really good, it kept my attention and made me want to continue reading. It reminded me so much of my raising. Being set
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
4.5/5 stars (rounded up to 5)

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Emery has a goal in life: she wants to find a love like the love between her grandparents. However, the people in Emery’s small town don’t care for her family too much. It doesn’t help that Emery has an old soul, discouraging most people from being friends with her. Suddenly, the Alston family moves into town. Emery meets Sawyer, a boy who no longer believes in love after the disastrous marriage of his p
Riddhi B.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it
First of all, thank you for providing an eARC to me, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely mine and they are not influenced by anyone.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

The Crush is a very well written novel by Allyson Kennedy. The language is lucid, the characters are well-portrayed and I enjoyed reading it. However, there were a couple of flaws in the book.
First off, I was warned that there was mild Christianity in the book but in the book the word 'God' was literally in every other se
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Crush was excellent. The beginning was fabulous, and I would love to read the next book in the series, as the ending was jarring but beautifully foreshadowed. I enjoyed the pacing and the characters, specifically Ryanne. I recommend The Crush highly and await the next book eagerly!

*Note: I received an advance review copy for free, and am leaving this review voluntarily*
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
Review to come.
Trigger Warning Database
Trigger & Content Warnings:

Attempted suicide
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Allyson Kennedy is an author from eastern North Carolina whose main goal for writing is to honor God without sugarcoating the realities of the world. In her time as an indie author, she has written contemporary fiction books for middle graders and young adults, and non-fiction for Christian authors. When she's not writing, Allyson enjoys watching movies with her husband, shooting arrows with her r ...more

Other books in the series

The Ballad of Emery Brooks (2 books)
  • The Fall (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #2)

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35 likes · 1 comments
“He once told me not to cry over him, that he wasn’t worth it. That he wasn’t worth being cared about by anyone else. That he was replaceable. Discardable. Trash.
That’s what the world decided he was, but the world never knew Sawyer Alston quite like I did. Despite my love of a lifetime allotting me only ten months’ time, despite Sawyer taking to heart all the wrong things in life, he only ended up being wrong about one thing.
He was worth it to me.”
“All I want is my own love story, and all I get are fake chances with guys who don’t understand what love is.” 1 likes
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