Book Review: "Crush Control" by Jennifer Jabaley

Summary from Willow has spent most of her life as her mother's sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she's in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind - and more importantly, the heart - is something you can really control.

With a nod to A Midsummer's Night Dream, this story really gets in your head and messes with how you think. Ok maybe not really but when was the last time you read a fun story involving hypnosis and finding your true love? After moving back to her hometown, Willow discovers that she is in love with her best friend but she doesn't know how to let him know how she feels. She decides that hypnosis is the best way to go, after all her own mother has a Vegas act doing this. She decides to test out her skills on two other students from her school which leads to mixed and sometimes hilarious results. It's a different way to approach teen love and I found myself glued to the story in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

I was a bit confused as to why Max never mentioned that he had a girlfriend. He states that he's talked to Willow every day since she moved away and he never thought to bring this up? I mean even if all they were going to be was JUST FRIENDS, having a boyfriend/girlfriend is a BIG deal when you are in high school. You can't just not acknowledge it unless you have feelings for the other person. Unless that's why Max didn't bring it up, it just seems odd that he never did it. Or maybe he's just being a guy and being clueless about these things.

I found it very interesting that Willow's mother kept saying and trying throughout the entire book that she wanted to make her own mother respect her. She keeps mentioning about how she wanted to turn a new leaf and start things over. Yet she knows that something that is putting a barrier between them is how she dresses. I'm not saying to not be who you are or not let your creativity show. However, if Willow's mom knew that the first thing her mother is going to start judging her on is how she dresses, perhaps it would have been best to tone things down, at least for the first visit?

This was a cute story that I enjoyed reading. It's nice for a change to have a story be, not so much as clean, but focusing on the lighter stuff that teens face. While there are topics that are a bit heavy (the feeling of acceptance, the need to be perfect, obsessive love) they are handled in a way that is both entertaining and looks at the situation in a different light. I enjoyed Jabaley's storytelling and how she engaged the characters. It's a really fun read and if you're in the mood for a good story about love and the roundabout ways to get to it, you'll enjoy this book too. I look forward to going back and reading her previous book as well.

Crush Control by Jennifer Jabeley is published by Razorbill (2011)

This ARC was provided for a blog tour with Booksparks PR


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