Graphic Novel Review: Crush by Svetlana Chmakova

Crush by Svetlana Chmakova. Yen Press, 2018. 9780316363242. 240pp.

This third graphic novel in the Berrybrook Middle School series focuses on the athletic and shy Jorge Ruiz. People think he’s kind of intimidating because of his size, but he’s pretty awkward. He has two great friends, Olivia and Garrett, and a huge crush on Jazmine, who he can hardly bring himself to speak to. Things get weird as he tries to figure out how he’s feeling, and weirder still when he finds out Jazmine has a boyfriend. (It doesn’t last.) There’s an upcoming dance that adds to Jorge’s stress, some friend drama as Garrett makes poor choices in trying to become friends with a popular quarterback, James, and a terrible situation when everyone thinks Jorge made awful comments online (and won’t believe that someone hacked his account).

Chmakova’s books take me right back to all the middle school drama I remember and imagine. Her characters are easy to identify with, and the way she tells stories always wows me. The next book in the series, Enemies, will be released in September 2022. While I’m waiting for it I’m going to reread my favorite book of hers, Dramacon!


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