New Release Review: The Crush by Allyson Kennedy

Kennedy’s The Crush (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #1) gives an honest look at what it means to support and love someone with depression and stay true to God’s plan – and how to make music through it all.


Inspired by her beloved grandma’s 60 year old diary entries, teenager Emery Brooks longs to meet the man God has in store for her. She spends her days strumming her guitar, helping her grandpa, and enjoying the pool with her sister and best friend Ryanne.

When perpetually glum Sawyer Alston is in desperate need of a true friend, Emery and her guitar are there to make him smile. While Emery is experiencing her first crush, she realizes that Sawyer suffers from depression and has a heavy cross to bear.

At this point, I half expected Kennedy to give us an unrealistic ‘it’s all roses’ love story. But instead, she nailed it!

While it was at times heartbreaking to read, I’m very glad that Kennedy gave us a nitty-gritty, raw look at Emery’s role in supporting Sawyer through his emotional outbursts. Along the way Emery suffers heartache, Sawyer goes through the ebbs and flows of depression, and with their guitars and Bibles they form an unbreakable bond that readers will admire.

This book tackles some weighty issues, including a suicide attempt. Kennedy’s realistic take on the topics, sage advice from big brother Rider, and laugh out loud comic relief throughout make The Crush a meaningful, lesson-packed book.

I recommend this for mature teens and young adults interested in clean romance and anyone seeking to understand not just depression, but true friendship. This would be an excellent pick for a book club with group discussion.

Many parts made me laugh, some made my heart soar, and some made my heart break. But like Emery says, it’s worth it. You’ll fully appreciate that line only upon finishing the book!

Get your digital copy here and paperback copy anywhere books are sold.

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