Crush du Jour (Novel)Release date: 2007. Author: Micol Ostow. Publisher: Simon Pulse. ISBN: 9781416950271.
Plot summary: It's the summer before her senior year, and Laine Harper is certain that her constant planning for the future is going to be worth it one day. She has an awesome GPA, spends hours studying for the SATs, and wants nothing more than the perfect college application to get the scholarship money she will need; she lives with her mom, who, although she is a famous food critic for the Philadelphia Tribune, won't be able to swing Laine's Ivy league tuition on her own. To put the cherry on top of her well-rounded extracurriculars, Laine decides to give up her usual summer activity, flirting with every boy in site, and teach a cooking class for kids at the local rec center. Little does she know the biggest distraction of all will be waiting for her: her dreamy co-teacher, Seth. Laine is determined to not act on her feelings for Seth, but things get even more complicated when he offers Laine a job waitressing at his father's new restaurant, Hype. It turns out that Laine is a terrible waitress, and, after an ill-fated visit, her mother won't be giving Hype a good review. Will Laine be able to survive her culinary adventures?
Critical evaluation: Crush du Jour is the lietary-form of a cheesy romantic comedy. Full of cooking puns to match its title, the novel offers a cliche and predictable plot, but also a healthy dose of humor and pop-culture references that teens will enjoy. As a main character, Laine is a typical, neurotic over-achiever. Obsessed with the future, she's constantly fighting her urge to flirt. Apart from the fact that she's clutsy and driven, Ostow doesn't really provide much more information about the character. It's mentioned early on that she lives with her mother and her father left her at an early age, but delving further into this topic wouldn't fit the light-hearted plot. The characters are as deep as a puddle, but it suits the novel. Although Crush du Jour fails to capture any of the real emotions many other novels in its genre are able to, it is an enjoyable read that will likely appeal to many teens.
Reader's annotation: Laine Harper has everything under control: she has the perfect GPA, she spends hours doing SAT prep, and she has a flawless college application. But will her plan to earn some money for tuition be foiled when she falls for the hunky Seth?
About the author: Micol Ostow was born in New York City in 1976 to a Jewish-American
father and Puerto Rican mother. After graduating college, Ostow was hired as an editor by well-known publisher Simon & Schuster. After several years in the publishing business, Ostow became interested in writing young adult novels. Her first book Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa, won the title of a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Since then, Ostow has written over 40 published books including Crush du Jour, Popular Vote, and So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother). Many of Ostow's works are novelizations of the popular TV series Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Fearless. In 2009, Ostow received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in New York City with her husband. (http://www.micolostow.com/bio.php)
Planning for the future
Teens with jobs
Reading level/Interest Age:
Some mild teen sexuality
Challenge counterpoints:Recommended for age 13+.
Recommend parent read novel before child.
Recommend parent discuss family policy on dating.