Atticus Hobart, the protagonist of The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds, has a lot on his mind (that tends to happen when you have an imagination that works on overdrive). Bullies. Teachers. His dad. And, of course, Audrey Higgins.
Audrey is brave, assertive, and everything Atticus thinks he isn’t—and he’s crazy about her. In celebration of The Looney Experiment (and especially of Atticus and Audrey) the EMUs are sharing stories about our own crushes, loves, and romantic entanglements. Read on. It gets juicy!
Tamara Ellis Smith
In second grade I developed a crush on Jimmy Henricks. (I know, I know, but I THINK I am remembering his name correctly!) I can’t recall, now, what it was about Jimmy that caught my attention. He had long eyelashes, I remember that, but I don’t remember much else…except that he played the violin. So naturally I wanted to play the violin. I begged my parents to let me play—which they agreed to—and I began to take lessons at school. I was never very good at it, but boy did I love those half hour sessions when I got to leave the classroom WITH Jimmy to go to our lesson down the hall to make beautiful* music together!
*Jimmy made beautiful music. I made sounds.
Debbi Michiko Florence
When I was in the first grade, I was extremely shy. I hated recess. I was at a new school and had no real friends yet. One recess, I was so upset I started to cry. I remember a teacher’s aide walking me from the yard back to the classroom. As we walked, we passed a boy who was the son of my mom’s friend. We’d met briefly. When we walked by him, he said, “Who hurt her? I’m going to get him.” I don’t think we ever talked after that, and I can’t really call it a first crush, but I thought it was sweet. And I finally stopped crying at recess and made friends after that. I think his comment made me feel less invisible.
When I was about five years old, my mom would often bring me along when she visited a close friend of hers. That friend had two little boys: Reid, also five, and Travis, a year or two younger. Though the memories have blurred around the edges, as memories do, I remember that we played Bionic Man and Woman, The Rescuers, and many other grand games of pretend. One particular day we decided to a little kissing, just to see what it was like. Later, I fessed up to my mom and told her, “Reid kissed me.” Naturally, when she asked where (as in cheek? lips? elbow?) I answered, “In the closet.” I’ll never forget my first crush on dreamy, five-year-old Reid what’s-his-name! 🙂
My first crush was a boy my family knew. The romance was short and sweet. One day he kissed me underwater at the JCC pool. I immediately popped out of the water, ran over to my mom who was playing cards with her friends and told her that Jimmy had kissed me. She smiled. I then promptly jumped back into the pool. And, that was the start and finish of our romance.
My first crush was a boy named Peter. We rode the bus together in 5th grade, and he sat across the aisle. We talked, we talked, we…talked. Then I moved halfway across the country. All I remember about Peter was that he was tall and had dark hair. Oh, and the man I married a bajillion years later (not Peter)? Tall, with dark hair.
My first crush was in first grade. Her name was Jean Kelly. She was awesome. I seized every opportunity to spend time with her. I even befriended her brother, Kevin Kelly, so I could be around Jean more. I’d visit his house all the time and I was always disappointed when Jean wasn’t home. It drove me nuts that Kevin kept denying even having a sister!
It took me another year before I understood that two people could have the same last name but not be related. Oops. Anyway, Kevin had neat robot toys so it was cool.
I’m a dawdler and a dreamer and was always late for school. When I was in fourth grade, I developed a crush on a classmate. (He shall remain nameless because I still live in the same town.) Anyway, I decided to reveal my crush by leaving a mushy note in his desk. I wish I could remember what it said, but I do remember that what-have-I-done, flop-sweat, sleepless night. I launched out of bed like a rocket the next morning and RACED to school, arriving even before the teachers. I yanked that note right out of his desk and he never knew. I still feel relieved. Whew!
My entire adolescence was a daisy-chain of (mostly) unrequited crushes. I didn’t fall in the kind of love that matters until I met my husband, and I had mostly given up believing that it would happen for me… but not quite. There was a part of me that still believed in the fairy tale, and that part of me was awake and alive the night I met him, in a bar in New York City. He wore a Voldemort t-shirt. I wore Weasley Is Our King. We talked Harry Potter and drank beer and were giddy with the at-first-sightness of it all. A couple of years later, just after we both finished reading book seven in the Harry Potter series, he proposed. We were at a vineyard with all our geeky friends, and the celebration was epic. In fact, our engagement made it into a book – HARRY, A HISTORY, written by our friend Melissa Anelli.
Has this compilation of the EMUs’ greatest love songs put you in the mood for love? Then pick up The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds. You’ll fall head over heels, guaranteed! You can find it at your nearest independent bookseller by visiting indiebound.org. Or find it at any of the following booksellers:
Better yet, if you comment on this or any other post this week you’ll be entered to win a signed copy!