What it’s about:
“It’s not the moment that defines you, it’s the choices you make in reaction to it.”
One smile. One bus ride. One conversation. The beginning of everything.
Julianna has never wanted anyone more than she’s wanted Eric, but sometimes, life doesn’t pan out quite how you expect. The past ten years have been defined by the worst night of her life. Blinded by the weight of her pain, she dropped out of college to marry the wrong guy and moved hundreds of miles away from her hometown. But her unsuccessful attempt to run away from her demons only lands her right back on the starting line.
Feeling lost and alone, Julianna must face the ghosts that haunt her and the people she left behind.
One crush. One wrong move. One bad decision. The end of the beginning.
For Eric, it’s always been Julianna, even though she’s never been his. She’s owned his heart and broken it all in the same breath. After a series of poor choices caused him to hit rock bottom, Eric’s life is finally on the right track—until Julianna walks back into town. He hasn’t spoken to her since she left, thinking he’d never see her again, and his resolve is crumbling.
He knows he should keep his distance—she could shatter his world—but he can’t walk away from her.
Will Julianna and Eric finally get their happily ever after, or will the secrets they keep and the shadows of their past leave them Crushed?
Guest Reviewer Tom’s Thoughts:
Crushed is a story of perseverance in pursuing true love. McCammon builds a healthy bit of tension as we follow Eric and Julianna’s (Jules) unfulfilled romance from an elementary school crush to pushing 30. While the story angle is a bit tired, McCammon does a decent job of building romantic tension and keeping our interest via alternating narration from the perspective of both her main characters. The romantic courtship ebbs and flows and is nicely enough written to keep us hoping that these two will finally realize they are meant for each other. The twenty year story time frame is useful in that it allows the author to undoubtedly hit close to home for each reader at some point in their romantic past. In the end, though, I couldn’t help but thinking that this was also the story’s undoing. McCammon creates too many near misses over the course of the courtship that make this particular 20-year success story that much harder to believe.
On the bright side, the character development of Julianna is quite good and one can easily understand the extreme tentativeness and unconfident indecision that Julianna exhibits in this romance. On the other hand, the character development of Eric was not nearly enough for us to understand how he could be so out of touch with his feelings. At story’s end, the payoff of their attaining “happily ever after” is satisfying but McMahon leaves the both characters in such an emotionally fragile state to leave us wondering if their unison is doomed. While real life romance and relationships require significant care and attention, leaving them in this emotional disarray was a bit of a downer for me.
All in all, author McCammon gives us enough to keep us interested and at a solid pace to make this a worthwhile read.
Rating: 2.5 stars (a little more exploration of Eric and a bit more believability would have garnered a 3 stars)