Squishy Crushy Something by Kieran Frank

Squishy Crushy Something by Kieran Frank
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), LGBTQ, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jayden never expected he’d be the type to develop a squish on a boy, never mind a full-blown crush.

It started with Kail, a boy with looks and popularity and all-around awesomeness. Developing a squish on Kail might’ve been natural for Jayden, of course, as anyone could fall for that boy. But it’s now three years later, the summer before senior year, and Jayden’s squish on Kail has grown into a crush that he can no longer ignore. And this crush is leading Jayden to make decisions he knows he’ll regret later.

But Kail isn’t the only one Jayden is having squishy crushy troubles with.

He used to be friends with Ollie, but when Ollie got too deep into religion, it drove Jayden away. Now, Ollie is back and he seems much more open-minded—not to mention much more attractive—and Jayden can’t help but develop a squish. But could it turn into a crush?

Jayden is caught between two squishy crushes—the crush on the boy that he knows is toxic, and the potential crush that could make or break a friendship—and he doesn’t know what to do. The right choice could bring him happiness, but if he makes the wrong choice he could lose everything.

This was the first asexual and gay romance novel I’ve read, and it won’t be the last!

Small towns can be lonely and sometimes even dangerous places to grow up for kids who are LGBTQ, non-Caucasian, or a member of other minority groups. I enjoyed seeing how Jayden figured out who was safe to talk to and who would accept him unconditionally as not everyone who lives in a small town will be prejudiced against folks who are different from them by any means. There are wonderful people to be found in every corner of the globe, and I smiled with joy as the main character discovered who could be counted on in his community.

The ending suited the characters nicely, especially Jayden. People change quite a bit when they’re in high school, so it made a lot of sense to leave everything as open to interpretation as the author did. He left plenty of room for his characters to learn and grow as they finished high school and went off to college. That was exactly what this storyline needed, and it made me excited to read the sequel that was hinted to be in the works.

Some of the most memorable scenes were ones that showed members of the LGBTQ community loving and supporting each other. Some shared the same label while others did not, but what really mattered were their friendships and the common ground they found as members of various romantic and sexual minority groups. I never had stories like this when I was in high school, so it was heartwarming to see such a thing written for today’s teens. Solidarity makes for great storytelling and sends a powerful message of hope to readers who are still looking for a place to belong.

Squishy Crushy Something made me sigh with happiness.

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