Strawberry Crush by Jean Ure

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Strawberry Crush by Jean Ure

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Another winner from the Queen of Tween. This time Jean Ure looks at crushes and when they become problems. Well written, a great story and important issues. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007553969

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Mattie has sometimes felt that she has her work cut out with her cousin Maya. Maya's mum and Mattie's mum are twins and they live around the corner from each other, but Maya's mum is, well, just a bit fragile and Uncle Kevin, her dad, is absent at the moment and no one knows where he is. All that would be enough to cope with, but Maya has crushes. Well, crushes doesn't do what happens justice: it really amounts to obsession and a new one starts when Maya falls off her bike (not unusual) and is 'rescued' by Jake Harper, the school heart throb. What deeply worries Mattie is that Maya is twelve and Jake is eighteen and there are occasions, as Mattie listens to Maya, when she wonders if something really is going on. Or is it all in Maya's over-active imagination? What should Mattie do?

I know that I'm many times the target age group for Jean Ure's tween novels, but they're a treat every time. They deal with the subjects which tween girls want to read about and they do it in a non-patronising, non-judgemental way. This time it's crushes and I love the fact that there's no suggestion that they're silly or not real, because they're not and they are. It's the first stage of pre-adolescents trying out their sexual feelings and there's an elegant look at when a relationship between an adult and a child moves into the abusive or at least an abuse of trust. There's been a lot about this in the news recently and it's good that a discussion can be opened up about what's right, what's wrong and what you should do when you find yourself in - or on the edges of - such a relationship. It's essential information for young people and Strawberry Crush is a good way to open up the subject.

I've always said that if the book's by Jean Ure then you don't need to read it first to check that you're not going to get into a difficult discussion which you'd no thought of starting right now, but the book's well written and reading it is no trial. The characters are well drawn and although Mattie narrates it the star of the book is Maya, who nearly lost her hair in an attempt to become what she thought her obsession wanted. It would be easy to feel rather cross with Maya, but Ure draws her sympathetically and you can understand how everything about her home life contributes to how she acts.

Ure's books are never one-trick ponies. As well as a look at crushes and all the surrounding issues such as first love there's an underlying thread about the value of friendship, both between the cousins and the friends on whom Mattie relies for advice. It's a great read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

Older tweens will also appreciate Lemonade Sky, also by Jean Ure, which looks at mental illness.

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Buy Strawberry Crush by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Strawberry Crush by Jean Ure at


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