The Stillburrow Crush
The Stillburrow Crush was a finalist in the 2011 EPIC ebook contest. (Winner of the YA category went to THE CINDERELLA SWAP by Linda Palmer)
Young Adult Romance
Reading Age: Acceptable for 13 and up
The Wild Rose Press
ISBN : 1-60154-651-3
Length : 61,000 words - 214 pages
Available : February 26, 2010
In Print and Ebook
Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn't the most popular girl in her small town.
But that's never concerned her before.
Her life revolves around her writing and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper.
But when she gets assigned to interview the football team's beloved quarterback,
she takes one look into Luke Carter's blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she
doesn't like her lowly rank so much.
Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes
her in return. But there's no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a
nobody like Carrie Paxton.
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Stillburrow Blog Tour|
October 6, 2009 - Interview at Happily Ever After
January 27, 2010 - Interview at Bookworm Nation
February 11, 2010 - Interview at Tales of the Ravenous Teen Reader
February 16, 2010 - Interview at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
February 22, 2010 - Interview at The Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press
February 23, 2010 - Guest Post at The Book Butterfly
February 25, 2010 - "Luke's" Interview at Linda Kage's Blog Page
February 28, 2010 - "Carrie's" Interview at This Writer's Life
April 19, 2010 - Interview at The Long and Short of it - Aurora
September 19, 2010 - Interview at Teens Read Too
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Map Of Stillburrow
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I turned to stare out the passenger-side window,focusing on an old house that had been abandoned for as long as I could remember. I said, “They really ought to tear that place down. Just look at that sagging roof.”
Want to read more? Okay, here you go!
Luke gave a soft laugh behind me. “That would involve change.”
“What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you ever noticed this town’s stuck in a time capsule? It’s like we’ve never heard of the term
progress. I mean, there’s hardly any cell phone towers around and forget about high speed internet.”
“High speed what?” I asked, glancing back to give him a puzzled look.
He opened his mouth to explain, when it dawned on him I was joking. “You always have to be a smart aleck,
We shared a smile.
I looked into his face and relished these minutes where I could ogle him selfishly. I knew I should give
him the information he wanted from me now, but I could only stare. It took me a moment to notice his expression, though.
His gaze had been roaming my face but had paused on my left ear. When he snorted out a surprised laugh, I frowned.
He pointed a finger toward my hair. “Uh, I think the wind messed it up some.”
I patted my head, my face flaming.
“Here,” Luke said, and flipped down his visor,lighting up the mirror underneath. I looked up and groaned. Not only had the wind caught a hold of my hair and ripped it half out of its ponytail, it had also
knotted and twisted it into a healthy-sized rat’s nest.
I tried to ignore the fact that Luke was sitting
next to me—and already knew exactly what the
disaster looked like—and ripped the holder out of
my hair. I combed through the mess with my fingers
but there were knots everywhere. When I caught
him staring again, I glared.
“What?” I demanded. But he continued to gawk.
I patted at my hair and wondered what he could
possibly be thinking about the mess.
“I’ve never seen it all down before,” he said.
Startled, I glanced back in the mirror. I’d seen it
down millions of times. I just didn’t leave the house
with it loose. There was too much of it to let it run
wild. I tried to see it how Luke must see it. It was
curly—so curly it bobbed. Tight little curls framed
my face like a border full of personality. From the
corner of my eye, I saw Luke lift his hand toward
one spiraling lock.
But when I turned to him, he lowered his fingers
and shifted his attention out the window. I stared at
his profile for a second, breathing hard.
“It’s pretty,” he said, more to the windshield
than to me.
I wanted him to lift his hand again. I wanted
him to touch my hair.
“I think yours is prettier.”
He laughed. “Guys do not have pretty hair.”
“Well, yours is.”
I reached over and touched his hair. I thought maybe if I touched his, he might get the guts to touch mine. But at contact, I gasped.
“It’s so soft.”
I ran my fingers through the part that always
curled around a cowlick when it got wet. I scooted
over, leaning across the console between us.
His voice sounded strained so I looked down. I
hadn’t realized I’d moved so close. But when I gazed
into his face, we were only a breath apart. I was
positioned a little above him so I could reach his
hair. He lifted his face up to stare at me. His eyes
were a blazing blue.
That’s when he touched my hair. He drew his
fingers through the curls to cup my head. Then he tilted his chin to the side and pulled me down. I was
shocked when our mouths connected. He was kissing
Oh my God, Luke Carter was kissing me.
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three
(Chapters two and three provided by Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press Blog : dates 2/24/10 and 2/25/10)
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Amazon.com (4 Stars)
I expected just another OMG-he-is-so-hot story but this novel has so much more depth than that. I absolutely loved Carrie, the main character. She's strong and fearless and not afraid to speak her mind, even as she's overwhelmed by her feelings for Luke. The story takes a tragic turn--and it's not an exaggeration to say that the town of Stillburrow is changed forever--but I'm very glad I picked up Carrie and Luke's story.
Aurora (4.5 Suns)
Ms. Kage also has a gift for unusual, meaningful description. Tactile details enhance the evocative aura at the outset. We are beautifully in tune with our main character's emotions.
Book Wenches (Rating: 4.5)
I certainly wish there had been more stories like this when I was growing up, during that time that I devoured pointless romance novels by the score. The Stillburrow Crush adds a little substance to the fluff, and I thought it to be very well done. Nicely done, Ms. Kage.
Gothic Asylum Reviews (4 Stars)
I was blown away by how good it was. I was prepared for a sappy, cute, predictable love story. What I got was a heart-wrenching, roller coaster of emotions that kept me reading until the wee hours of morning. The writing was easy to read and the story was realistic. I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Linda Kage will definitely be on my watch list.
Just Your Typical Book Blog Review (4 Hearts)
At one point in the story, my jaw actually dropped. I love when an author can write a shocker, and make it not so out of place. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised how much I did enjoy this book.
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf (Grade: A-)
I adored the characters! From the smart, head-strung, and witty Carrie from the surprisingly sweet jock hiding a few secrets named Luke, this book had so many fun and diverse characters that had me in giggles throughout. I really liked how Carrie and Luke's relationship was down to earth and so completely innocent and sweet. Plus, I loved reading their little fight scenes.
Night Owl Reviews (4.75 Stars)
Not very often is a book hard for me to put down, but I found one, and I absolutely adore it. The Stillburrow Crush, written by Linda Kage is a rare gem to book lovers...The Stillburrow Crush has already made it into my book discussions, and I have already recommended this book be read. Linda Kage is an author I will whole heartedly follow...To conclude, The Stillburrow Crush Is a MUST read and I hope girls and women of all ages read this. The Stillburrow Crush more than exceeded my expectations.
The Romance Studio (5 Hearts)
This was a hauntingly beautiful young adult novel. I loved the fact that it was such an authentic representation of life. The setting was wonderful, the whole community came vividly to life with each word. The characters were compelling because they were average small town residents with typical issues. I found I was easily able to relate to everyone. It was refreshing to have a heroine who was not stunningly gorgeous, rich and popular, not someone with too much money and not enough sense. I loved how the relationship between Carrie and Luke developed; it was so genuine and sweet. There's nothing I like better than a good cry while reading and this book gave me that. It also gave me moments of laughter, and it gave me a happily ever after. This was such a poignant novel that I just know I will read it again and again. This author is definitely going on my must-read list. I highly recommend you pick up this book and be sure to get a copy for any young woman in your life.
I Heart YA Books (5 Hearts)
"The Stillburrow Crush started off with a sweet chic-lit contemporary storyline. I said, okay, this is really cute. With the rich jock quarterback and the poor girl who falls for him . . . But halfway through this novel, Linda Kage throws me a fantastic curveball, and one heck of a powerful storyline. Linda Kage’s writing is one that sneaks up on you, and I found myself biting my nails and crying my eyes out. I Love Kage for that kind of surprise attack. The Stillburrow Crush is a short read, but Linda Kage delivers a powerful story in this short read, with some of today's most important situations teenagers find themselves in. Linda Kage is a very talented writer and I’m definitely going to be reading more of her novels.
Still Seeking Allies (4 Stars)
Carrie grew up in the small town of Stillburrow, where the people judge your worth by how rich you are. When Carrie starts to crush on the town’s rich, hot jock quarterback, she wants to slap herself, because she knows Luke is never going to have the same feelings for a social low-class like her. Carrie’s right about Luke at first and Luke will have to figure out what means the most to him.
I also love Carrie's brother, Marty, who is twenty-two and is considered a loser. Marty has been seeing the high-class principle’s daughter, Abby, who is a year older than Carrie. What happened between Marty and Abby really broke my heart and it also gets this judgmental town to start thinking about what their teaching their kids.
The Stillburrow Crush was an awesome surprise that I just wasn't expecting from a two hundred page novel, but I love when novel can surprise me. I highly recommend The Stillburrow Crush."
"I honestly read this looking for a fluff break after some intense reading experiences, but it turns out to be pretty darn poignant, with themes of family, growing into emotional maturity and self acceptance taking the forefront. The book is artfully structured, with secrets and issues revealing themselves and unfolding in an emotionally satisfying and moving way that had me going "Oh! Now I get it," at some crucial points."
Book That Thing (5 Stars)
"Reading the synopsis, most will come to expect an American "Plain Jane falls for Jock" love story and they wouldn't be completely wrong in doing so. Now prepare for the big but (because there is definitely one just around the corner):
The Procrastinator's Corner (5 Stars)
This story is about so much more! It's about the joys and hardships of living in a small town where everybody knows each other. It's about parents raising their children. It's about misconception and clarity. It's about your way to find happiness and the realization that it means to face not only good things, but also loss and anger along the way. It's about the relationship between siblings and how it takes one to understand the other. It's about fear to be who you really want to be and that special person who gives you a swift kick in the butt. Last but not least (no more starting sentences with "It's about" afterwards) it's about teenagers finding out what love means.
Did I scare you off yet? I really hope not!
I don't want to mislead you. The book doesn't have some big unbelievable whopper of a plot. It's simplicity is what makes it complex. Carrie's story might as well be yours or mine. You shouldn't just skip through it, for I can guarantee you'd miss the hidden meaning that can be found between the lines."
"You know that expression "warmth that spreads from your chest..." when the protagonist internally swoons over the love interest? Yeah. I totally felt that not with Luke, but with his relationship with Carrie. They're so cute and so adorable to look at. The characters are all so very likable. Carrie is a straight up honest girl, the editor of the school's paper, who thinks she's not good enough to be with people like Luke. But even if she's aware of this, she's not the type of girl who will back down from him. She's aware of it and is very vocal about it. Though her tendency to downgrade herself could be very uncomfortable."
"I really enjoyed the characters of this story and how they reacted to different situations. It was a very riveting book because of the ups and downs of Carrie and Luke’s relationship, and I never wanted to put it down!! One thing I was disappointed with was the underage drinking done by the main characters, but it also furthered the plot. I really related to Carrie, because I am the editor of my school paper, and I understand how much stress there comes with having such an important."
Ellz Readz (4 Stars)
"I was pleasantly surprised by this book. This turned out to be one of those books that I could not put down and stayed with me, even after I finished the last page. The story was well very written. The plot is classic, Romeo and Juliet-different worlds, un-approving people, secret meetings, but it felt very current. The dialog between the characters, the situations they were in, and their emotions made the story very believable. While the story line could be guessed, at times it surprised me and kept me interested. While this is a story about first love, I felt like it was also a story about life, the decisions we make, and the circumstances we have no control over."
Bookworm Nation (3.5 Stars)
"I thought the characters and story were deeper than expected. The writing was well done, and although there were a couple things I didn’t care for, overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA books. Carrie was a likable character, really easy to relate to. I like that she kind of did her own thing and didn’t worry about what other people thought (for the most part). I also liked Luke, he is the hot quarterback who everyone loves, but he is also a nice guy. I thought Luke and Carrie had good chemistry together; they actually seemed like a good/believable match. ."
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