Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl. So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Nevaeh goes along with it. But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.
Past and Present Intersect
'Crushed' by Elisa Dane is a story about owning up to one's past and struggling to find the courage to move on in life. Main character Nev is having a hard time living her life after she moves in with her aunt and cousin. Even though she loves her cousin Livvie and her aunt, she is distraught that she can no longer be with her parents. Life is not going how she hoped it would, and her rocky past, littered with alcohol and hard-core partying, is not doing much to calm her nerves about living a "cleaner" and more relaxed life.
With Livvie by her side, she makes some new friends at her new school, but the one true friendship she feels she makes becomes seriously threatened right from the get-go when the girl's quasi-boyfriend, Eli, turns out to be more of a player and less of a stand-up guy. Not understanding that no means no, Eli incessantly pesters Nev to go out with him. Her constant refusals only serve as an energy boost of sorts for him, making him even more persistent in his attempts. Not wanting to ruin her relationship with her new friend who is seeing Eli and thinking she can change him, Nev keeps quiet, much to her chagrin later on in the novel when Eli's jerky ways catch up to her.
In the meantime, however, Nev meets hunky Bodie, who doesn't seem to like her at first. As time goes on, he sees that she isn't who he thought she was, and the icy exterior he wore around her begins to thaw, giving way to a hot and heavy relationship that Nev seemingly wants, but is afraid of at the same time, due to what she knows about Bodie's past and how it intersects with her own feelings of wrongdoing in her own life.
Elisa Dane has shown, through 'Crushed,' how first impressions are not always right, life is not always fair, and karma sometimes comes at you when you least expect it. 'Crushed' has a little bit of everything a contemporary young adult novel needs - crushes, relationships, parties, conflicts, football, and so much more. Definitely a novel worth checking out.