Author: Kristin Nilsen
Published July 11th, 2023 by SparkPress
Summary: Rory Calhoun is a teen popstar with perfect teeth and messy hair who’s inspiring first crushes all over the globe. Millie Jackson is just one of the millions of fans who love him―but that doesn’t mean her heart doesn’t break for him every single day in this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age story.
How many of Rory’s fans collect “data” about him in a special notebook hidden in their underwear drawer? Or have faked a fascination with whale migration for a chance to visit his hometown? Millie may not be Rory’s only fan at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, but she’s convinced she’s the biggest―and the best.
Rory’s new song “Worldwide Crush” is climbing the charts, and his lyrics are clear: he’s looking for love―and he’s looking in the audience. Meaning Millie’s secret fantasies of running in the surf and eating waffles with him may not be crazy after all . . . she could be that girl! But first she has to get to his concert―his completely sold-out concert in a city nowhere near her home for which she does not have tickets or a ride. She just has to figure out how.
About the Author: Kristin Nilsen has been a children’s librarian, a bookseller, a perfume seller, a horse poop shoveler, a typist (on an actual typewriter), a storyteller, a seventh grader, and a mom to both humans and dogs. Today she is a self-proclaimed Pro Crushologist who talks about Gen X pop culture on The Pop Culture Preservation Society podcast. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the only big cities in the world where you can look out your window and see a lake. Which she likes. A lot.
Review: This book will be a book of nostalgia for anyone who has already had a celebrity crush, it will be a book of mirrors for those in the middle of a celebrity crush, and it will be a crystal ball for those who aren’t there yet but will be soon. This book explains the feelings of celebrity crush in ways that no other book I’ve read does. It actually reminded me a lot of Turning Red in that way. It truly captures the tsunami of emotions that come with celebrity crushes. And surrounding this crush-centered story is a cast of characters that are all so real which makes the story continue to be believable. This is a fun read, and the author’s addition of a game and playlist make it even more fun (see below)!
Teaching Tools for Navigation: This book is going to connect with so many readers! Put it in your classroom, school, and public libraries and book talk it–anyone who has felt like Millie has (which is almost everyone), will want to read her story.
Check out the Worldwide Crush playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6iynP5y3qcPOUNfMcVg2Kb
Play the “Hidden Crush” game in Worldwide Crush! Info here: https://kristinnilsenbooks.com/worldwide-crush-book/hidden-crushes/
Discussion Questions: Check out the author-provided discussion questions at https://kristinnilsenbooks.com/book-clubs/. Includes questions like:
- Is Millie’s crush good or bad for her?
- How does Millie use her diary to express her crush? Did you like it? How did her diary entries make you feel?
- What do you think Rory Calhoun is like in real life? Do you think Millie’s perception of him was accurate?
- Would you like Cheryl as a grandma?
I love Rory Calhoun.
I’ve loved him forever. Since before summer, even. The first time I saw him was a concern in Paris. Or maybe it was Venice? Or Rome or something? Whatever, I’m not sure, the important thing is that I felt a prickly, melty warming in my stomach. It was not something I had ever felt before. And I liked it.
I was at Shauna’s house, and she opened her laptop, and she said, “Watch this.” It was a clip of him singing “Worldwide Crush” at a concert in Paris or Venice or whatever. And it only took a few seconds for me to understand why all those girls were huddled below him, reaching out, wishing for just a quick swipe of his hand, just a taste of his skin, which would be the most important thing to ever happen to them. And then when he put his hand on his heart and smiled–his teeth are so straight!–saying, “Ti amo! Ti amo!” it felt like he was telling me he loved me. Oh yeah, ti amo is Italian for “I love you,” so it must have been Venice. Or Rome. Anyway…that was an important day for me.
Read This If You Love: Middle school crush-focused books
**Thank you to Hanna at Spark Point Studio for providing a copy for review!**