New graphic novel Crush- take it or leave it?

Connor George, Reporter

A new graphic novel, Crush by Svetlana Chmakova is the latest addition to a relatively new set of books. It is the third one, its predecessors being Awkward and Brave, and, like the two before, is about middle school life, drama bullying, etc.

One of the first things I was searching for during the school book fair was this book. I had really enjoyed Chmakova’s other two books that I’ve read, and I was really looking forward to reading this one.

The plot is pretty straightforward- also, spoiler alert for those who haven’t read this book yet and want to read it for themselves- Jorge Diaz, the main character, lives a pretty normal life with his two friends, Garrett and Olivia, and hasn’t every really liked middle school gossip and the such. He says it’s “who likes who” and doesn’t really seem to care for that stuff- until he meets a girl named Jazmine, who is in the drama club, which he immediately starts crushing on. Then, Jazmine ask for help getting a bunch of costumes off  a truck and there’s only one volunteer- Jorge.

After that, Garrett throws a party for all of the football kids- and James, who seems to be the big baddy of the book. Everyone has a good time, except for Jazmine, who was ditched by her boyfriend Zeke so he could “do some research for an article.” This upsets her and in response, she breaks up with him.

The rest of the book is pretty cliche, Jorge asks a now single Jazmine out, she agrees, then the rest is just a bit of fluff to fill in- Olivia arguing with her boyfriend, Garrett hanging out with James, etcetera etcetera. Then, towards the end of the rising climax, Mrs. Rashad, the Phys. Ed. teacher gives a lecture about body autonomy.

I’m most certainly NOT saying that we should disregard body autonomy, however, at this point, I personally feel as though I am being force-fed propaganda over and over again. Graphic novels with a teenage audience shouldn’t have propaganda at all. And it’s extraordinarily annoying to be told something I and a great many others already know and agree with. And not only that, but right after the lecture, Chmakova creates an example about how body autonomy could be violated- with a dumb kid running up behind a girl and grabbing her. And whilst it’s very disappointing to see this happen, it just doesn’t seem realistic and considering the rest of the book is filled with realism. First, I have rarely seen this kind of behavior happen in the school hallways, classes, after school activities etc. Second, the only times I do actually see this happen is between people who are close- dating, blood related, or otherwise. Most of the time, not all of the time, both parties are alright with this.

After that, the story reaches its climax. The rest is just fluff to keep the story going.

This graphic novel was pretty great, and aside from the force-fed propaganda, it was pretty realistic, funny and intriguing to see what came next for Jorge and his friends. Like I’ve said, I was pretty disappointed in the obvious propaganda and its role in the book, but overall, it was an interesting and fun book to read. This book is definitely one to read.