First Crush, Last Love

First Crush, Last Love

by Elizabeth McKenna

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First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna

Back in high school, Lee Archer had the power to make Jessie Baxter's cheeks flush and her heart race. But the popular athlete never wanted to be more than just friends. Ten years later, after a failed marriage and with her journalism career on shaky ground, Jessie's come home for her high school reunion--and Lee still has the power to make her knees weak and her pulse pound.

Lee's teenage years were filled with more trauma and drama than anyone guessed. Though his damaged past has helped make him a successful police detective, it's hurt every relationship he's tried. But seeing the grown-up, stunning Jessie might just change his commitment-phobic mind.

Jessie's psycho ex-husband had her convinced no one would ever love her, but Lee is ready to step out of the friend zone and into her heart. Can she learn to trust again before she loses her chance to turn her first crush into her last love?

Elizabeth McKenna's novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the joy of finding true love at last.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940158645518
Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna
Publication date: 08/02/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 314
File size: 690 KB

About the Author

Though Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write Cera's Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website She hopes you will enjoy her first contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, as much as others have enjoyed her historical romances.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.

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First Crush, Last Love 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
IsabelSamonte4 11 months ago
Disclaimer: I receive a copy of this book in exchange for an HONEST review. Warning:There are some serious subjects covered including attempted suicide (minor character), drinking, homosexuality (minor character), AIDS (minor character), and abuse. The heat level is fairly low with only a few love scenes. There is also some swearing, including a few F bombs from one character. This book is relatable because we all go through what Jesse is going through in the book and that is having a crush and the feelings and emotions that comes with it. We start this book with a suicide attempt of Jesse's brother, Martin, who is gay and because of this he is ostracise in their backward town. I commend the author for including serious topics, which are somewhat still considered taboo subjects (especially in the country where I live in) and it is uncommon to read about suicide, homosexuality, AIDS, and abuse. In addition, I like the author's take on the subjects because it was not offensive and I have read some offensive works especially in regards with mental illness and suicide. Moving along, the characterization and character growth in this book is my favorite. I love how Jesse and Lee got more mature as the story progress. They finally got over their insecurities and fear, which kept them apart. Furthermore, the emotions that radiate through this book is so real. I had a lot of roller coaster feeling while reading this book, which is great because it means that the author did a great job in expressing the emotions of the characters in her book. I definitely recommend this novel if you like reading about friends to lovers trope, or if your just looking for a fast and happy ending book. Crossing my fingers for a book about Dean and Sarah because I would love to read their story next.
beckvalleybooks 11 months ago
Enjoy being taken back to the years of school and college, reminding you how things were back then, how you would second guess what people were thinking, the unknown of what to do and how to behave, did that look mean what I think it meant or was it my imagination? Then of course you have your first crush, your first boyfriend, those that thought they were better than you and those who suffered because they were different. This is where we first meet Jessie and her first crush Lee, even though competition was high for his attention as he was infatuated with wrongly suited Tina, never giving Jessie more than a second thought at the time. I felt myself willing Lee to notice Tina yet he was having none of it, but as the time rolled on things have a way of changing.... Turning to the first page brings you straight into the beginning of Jessie's roller coaster life and the start of events that take their toll on her as she feels that she has to make do with second best and then sadly has to suffer from the consequences of her choices. After the senior year of high school, the story is then divided into Jessie and Lee's separate lives after college and of course the 10 year reunion that marks the change of their past giving them a second chance of love that could have been so many years previously. The authors writing easily draws you in to the story as you anticipate what will happen next in the lives of the characters. I immediately felt a connection with the them, feeling their emotions, or the atmosphere in which they were creating. I felt a mix of their feelings as I followed their stories and their burdening secrets, I felt their sadness, grief, their anger and frustrations, glimmers of hope, excitement, and of course their happiness. First Crush, Last Love was a tale that took hold of me as I followed the numerous and emotional events, events that felt very real, it's one of those books that will have you picking it up whenever you have spare reading time to connect with the characters that you have felt a bond with. I enjoyed the mix of romance, suspense and in parts humor, and I am really looking forward to another chance of reading more from the author.
pughtwins 11 months ago
This is the most real romance I have read in a long time. I felt like I was able to relive so many parts of my past with this book. I loved that we were able to watch Jessie and Lee grow so much throughout this book. Most books only give you a tiny glimpse into the characters lives, you fall in love with them and it's over. Ms. McKenna was able to give us so much more of these characters lives, and that made me feel even more invested in them. It wasn't easy to watch Jessie and Lee struggle through everything to get to each other but it was so worth it. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into Jessie, but if I look back to my past I needed that too! I really enjoyed watching Jessie and Lee's growth into two people who appreciate their last love.
Jenthomason1109 12 months ago
Although I liked this novel, I struggled with both main characters, Jessie and Lee. Personally, I cringed several times at Jessie’s lack of self-esteem when they were teenagers and the way she allowed Lee to treat her. He could reel her in, hurt her, then start all over again when he wanted. I hated that she felt as if that was o.k., and even more so when she tolerated horrible behavior from Billy beginning when they started dating up through their marriage. However, as frustrating as Jessie’s tolerance was, I also reminded myself numerous times that we were seeing things through the eyes of a young woman who most likely still had much to learn about herself, confidence, and relationships. Which leads to Lee… I tried, but even until the very end, I just couldn’t like Lee. Again, I can excuse some of his teenaged behavior because he was a young man, etc. But he was truly hurtful to Jessie several times when they were younger, only to turn on the charm when they reunite years later. I don’t think he deserved another chance, however, the heart loves who it loves – and Jessie had always loved Lee. As stated earlier, there are some heartbreaking moments involving abuse, infidelity, jobs, relationships, and sometimes just life. I applaud McKenna for including such real-world struggles and obstacles, and although I wasn’t a fan of Jessie, presenting an honest portrayal of a shy, insecure young girl and the hurt and disappointment that can come into a life. Despite my issues with the characters, the story is one that in its completion, truly embraces romance and destiny. I especially loved the epilogue, which left my heart smiling!
Silvie_MySillyLittleGang 12 months ago
This contemporary romance was a nice change of pace from my usual reads. My usual reads consist of either hot and heavy romance or thriller/suspense genres. So I wasn't sure if I would like or enjoy this book. Truth is I really liked it, actually I related to the first part of the story quite a bit. This book included a few heavy topics, so it was nice that it included a note from the author that advised of trigger warnings. I really enjoyed this book, and think that unless you have underlying or severe issues that may be triggered by reading about attempted suicide, drinking, homosexuality, AIDS, or abuse you will enjoy it too. One thing that I really liked about the characters is that the author made them believable. Another thing I loved is the way this book is divided into three parts. In part 1 we read about Jessie's high school days, in part 2 we find out about Jessie & Lee's separate lives after high school. And in part 3 we read about their 10 year high school reunion which Jessie & Lee finally get a chance to come together. Will it work out for them? You'll have to read this book to find out. 
Haley Ryan 12 months ago
As a product of the 80's I grew up in the 90's just like Jessie, and this book brings back so many memories. At times it felt like I could have been reading passages from one of my old diaries, except this is written much better of course. This book is definitely one for those who enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane as you will do a lot of reminiscing about your high school crush, the friends that you had and of course, what high school experience wouldn't be complete without the bitchy one. This book is definitely more of a romance genre but don't let that fool you, it isn't one of the unrealistic romance novels that sweep us away and as a child gave us unrealistic expectations of what love is all about... in fact this book is the opposite. It is very real... real emotions, real characters and real issues. Some of the topics are quite heavy but overall the book is an easy read and once you start reading you won't want to put it down. This book is hands down my favourite so far of 2018 and I would even go as far as saying that based on this book she is now one of my favourite authors (second to Cecilia Ahern). Elizabeth McKenna has done a beautiful job of writing characters that are not only relatable but that you can get invested in as though it was your life you are reading about. This is most definitely a five star book!
JulieGB More than 1 year ago
Jessie Baxter was a normal high school student. She didn’t fit in any clicks, nor have any outstanding features except for her athletic build and unruly hair. The one thing she did have going for her was the friendship she shared with Lee Archer, the captain of the football team. Jessie wanted more from Lee, but no matter what, Lee wouldn’t let it go any further than friendship. After graduation, Lee packs up and disappears overnight without a word. Jessie goes onto college and later marries. At their ten year reunion, Jessie and Lee reconnect, but life’s experiences have changed them both, and their old friendship is not the same. I loved this story. It transported me back to my own awkward and embarrassing teen years. Every personality was covered, the bad boy, the mean girl, best friend, etc. I loved Jessie and Lee’s personalities and camaraderie. I was rooting for them all the way.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
A romance novel set in the 80’s & 90’s is right up my alley. I grew up in this time and loved flashing back to my high school years. The clicks, the attitudes, and the crushes were all perfect for the setting and the characters. While in high school who hasn’t hoped that a couple would break up so that she could jump into the open spot in the relationship? That is exactly what Jessie spent her entire high school hoping would happen with Lee. It was refreshing to see a friendship between Lee and Jessie. There was more than just hormones and lust. Their friendship was true to their age, with the witchy girlfriend being jealous and the other friends looking at them like they were hiding something. At some points in the story I was hoping Jessie could move on, forget Lee, and just get on with her life. Until she did… then I was screaming for her to find Lee and get back to the good things in life. I really enjoyed First Crush, Last Love. It was fun to reminisce about the high school years.
CryssieAddis More than 1 year ago
essie had a huge crush on Lee, the high school jock. Lee wasn’t ready to commit or even wanted more than just friendship with Jessie. They go their separate ways and find themselves back in one another’s life again at their high school reunion. Will this time be different? Is this finally their chance to find true love? Can a crush really turn into your forever love? Call me a hopeless romantic, but I LOVE to read stories like this! This was a great read by Elizabeth McKenna. Her writing was captivating and beautiful. I enjoyed reading about Jessie and Lee in different stages of their lives. The book was split into three different parts; high school, Jessie and Lee’s separate lives and the reunion. I felt as if I watched them grow up and really got to know their characters this way. They both led difficult lives and had to face traumas that ultimately made them untrusting and unsure of one another. Will they be able to work through these real emotions and figure it out? You will have to read and find out! I give this book five stars! The writing is beautiful, the characters are relateable and I was truly invested in this story. If you enjoy romance novels, you will LOVE this book! *I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own. *
BookwormNM More than 1 year ago
This was a quick and easy read for me. It took me right back to high school and my first crush! I enjoyed the story, although sad in parts and a little heavy -- it is true to life for some. I loved the ending and the hope it gives -- timing truly is everything. This was my first read from McKenna and I would definitely read another, she writes very nice with interesting characters.
MikiHope More than 1 year ago
Who doesn't remember their first crush--that guy who never really gave you a glance-but you pined over him just the same. Jessie Baxter had a crush on Lee Archer. He considered her a friend----OUCH. Neither had the best home lives and Lee left their small town very quickly without even saying goodbye to anyone!! Meanwhile Jessie ended up marrying a guy who-lets just say--should have been locked away somewhere--yeah he was that bad---Jessie finally gets up the nerve to divorce him--but he stalks her just the same. Now comes those dreaded class reunions--their 10th to be exact (I'm supposed to be going to my 50th in August---)---Both Lee and Jessie are different people who are carrying baggage around. Can they overcome everything that has happened and is happening and give their love a chance? This is one of the most readable contemporary romances I've read in a long time!!
LynchburgMama More than 1 year ago
I love that this book is divided into three parts - high school, Lee & Jessie's separate lives after, and their 10-year reunion. The flow helps you feel as though you're growing and changing along with them. If you enjoy a nostalgic take on finding yourself, true love, and life, this is a heartwarming book that you need to add to your collection! During their time in high school, I wanted to smack Lee upside the head several times. He knew that Jessie was a good thing; however, when I learned of his home life problems, everything came into perspective. It was almost as if he was punishing himself, too. Jessie fought her own demons with her father leaving them, her brother's attempted suicide, and constantly being told that she's "not good enough" by typical bully girls in high school. Like Jessie, I didn't realize that it was my strength that intimidated others and that was why they lashed out.  The years after college prove to be challenging for both Lee and Jessie. She marries a drunken, control freak of a man who thinks of her as property. The story touches on domestic violence without being overly-detailed for those sensitive to the subject. Despite the possibility of retaliation, Jessie finally finds her own ground and moves forward on it to a better life. Lee faces finding love - without that spark that makes it true love.  When Jessie and Lee finally run into one another in the midst of their 10-year class reunion, some things pick up right where they left off. They've grown into adults but their feelings have to take a moment to catch up. Are they going to be the same as 10 years before or will they discover their chance slipped by?  Through the very last page, I felt very connected to this book. I experienced many of the situations that both characters lived though and could easily see myself responding in the same way they did. The characters are well-developed from start to finish. Their growth and change are brilliantly written. I would have liked to have seen a few of the minor characters stand out a little more (Sarah and Dean) but perhaps they could get their own book!  I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, there was a note from the author that advised of trigger warnings. The warning consisted of attempted suicide (minor character), drinking, homosexuality (minor character), AIDS (minor character), and abuse. The heat level is fairly low with only a few love scenes. There is also some swearing, including a few F bombs from one character. Having lived through most of that myself, I felt that the trigger warning was a nice notice, but they weren’t severe in my opinion. So pending you don’t have any underlying, severe issues with any of those triggers – this book will be fine to read. With that said; I am pretty sure part one (up until Jessie got into a real relationship) could have been my life. I had that first crush from 5th grade through senior year. This book was different than other books I normally read. I usually read the happily ever after romances that are hot and heavy with steam and is quick with the romance or the mystery/thriller/suspense type reads. This was neither and it was a nice change of pace from my usual. I really enjoyed reading the book. The topics were heavy, the emotions were real, and the romance was heart warming. I felt it was a quick read and read it in less than 24 hours and I would definitely read this book again. It wasn’t the unrealistic romance that I am accustomed too, but really hit real life and was a great read to escape life for a little bit. If you enjoy the more real life romance, following someone’s journey through life, and are looking for a good read; this is it.
Lovz-Books More than 1 year ago
Ever since high school, Jessie has made a nightly wish to make Lee love her, but, alas, he only ever had eyes for another girl, one who didn’t love him like Jessie did. For years, Jessie has stood idly by in the friend zone, hoping and praying that Lee would see her—truly see her. Jessie’s patience and wishful thinking were commendable; she truly believed that she and Lee were meant to be together. But when Lee ditches her to make out with his ex-girlfriend at the Spring Fling, she suddenly seemed like a pathetic, love-sick fool. Why was she putting herself though this? After graduation, Jessie finds herself in a miserable marriage to a bossy, drunken playboy, and Lee discovers his fear of commitment runs far deeper than he realizes. Years later, Jessie and Lee unexpectedly run into each other, provoking the two to reminisce on their high school days and ponder the last 10 years of separation. Old wounds are certainly re-opened at their class reunion. Written in three episodes, story follows the narrative of an unrequited love in the midst of life’s trials and tribulations. Nostalgia and regret are key elements. Characters are so appealing and relatable; they are so fleshed out that readers feel like they grew up with them, naturally feeling a sense of empathy for their hopes, fears, frustrations, and heart aches. Can Jessie and Liam forget the past and find a future? Well-written, captivating, and endearing. A worthy novel!
Silverwood More than 1 year ago
Everyone remembers their first crush and the agony of loving someone who can't seem to love you back. But what happens when you don't get your happily ever after? Do you dare hope for a second chance? This is what Elizabeth McKenna explores in First Crush, Last Love. Jessie and Lee are best friends in high school, tangled and thwarted in love. It's the early 80's and initially we're drawn deep into the nostalgia worthy and more tangible than a John Hughes film. Jessie and Lee are a product of misplaced chances and the foolish mistakes of youth. Most stories would tie things up quickly, give us an easy resolution where true love conquers all. But here is where Mckenna dares to take us farther, lifting the literary curtain a bit. Jessie finds herself in an abusive relationship while Lee can't seem to move on from his destructive past. Without giving too much away, this separation between them is truly the heart of this story. Because if we didn't see their individual journeys it wouldn't mean as much as the moment they are brought back together. A gripping, emotional tale more powerful because it based on a true story, First Crush, Last Love gives us the happy ending we all wish for.
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of older music and I loved the music that was mentioned in this story! I also married someone that I went to grade school with, after not talking for awhile. There is a lot to be said about your first love, and your last love that you are meant to spend the rest of your life with. The one that you are meant to have your future, kids and retirement with. The author did a great job of making Lee and Jessie these two people. Even though they also had years apart that were filled with exes that made them doubt themselves and pasts that left their hearts damaged. I wanted them to end up together, but I also wanted them free of their baggage. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, all opinions are my own.
bhillson83 More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a book that does not just delve into the characters romance, one that brings you background information on both characters and really sets the stage for the main event, then First Crush, Last Love is the book for you. Elizabeth McKenna writes a story of love, friendship, loss and second chances in a story that will make you laugh, smile and sadness. I found myself really despising Lee's character at first - it felt like he was toying with Jessie's emotions. How did he not realize what she felt for him and he continually let her down. I will admit at first I was a bit annoyed how long it took for them to get together, however, I began to enjoy how it was setting the plot line for the story. I really enjoyed how the two characters finally got together and how Lee stood by Jessie. First Crush, Last Love shows that true love wins in the end no matter what. If you are looking for a sweet, fun read, then First Crush, Last Love is the book for you. Elizabeth McKenna is a talented writer who does not force the characters together and sets a beautiful stage for a wonderful story. Make sure you add this book to your To-Be-Read Shelf.
BaronessBookTrove More than 1 year ago
First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna is an awesome book by a really awesome author. This is my first book by this author and I really liked it. This book is split into three parts and each part is definitely different but it all goes together and makes the characters more believable. Unlike most books that I have read this one has different years that it takes place in. The first part is from 1983-1984, the second part is from 1988-1991, and the last part is in 1994. The two characters that this book follows are Jessie and Lee. These two have been friends for like ever and Jessie always thought that he only liked her as a friend. Jessie, we meet right away and she is a very interesting character. She already had me interested in the first chapter and after that I understood some of the actions she took to make some things happen. Even though I didn’t really think that they were really the best choice for her. Lee is the second lead of the book and he’s also another very interesting character. I also understood some of the actions he took that lead him into the life that suits him very well and without what happened to him he probably wouldn’t have the life that suits him. I didn’t necessarily agree with him not doing some things but I also understood as well. Lee is a very loving guy that just needed someone that he truly loved to have that person really understand him. First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna is a great book and one that I love a lot. It’s a great read and I will recommend it to anyone that likes romance books. I am giving this book five stars and I am very happy with this book. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to read it. Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by Baroness’ Book Trove. I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. If you would like to read more reviews like this one please go to
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna Story starts out with her finding Martin, pill bottle on the floor. He had overdosed but she got to him in time. Jessie doesn't understand the pain he is in. She is attracted to Lee and follows him around year after year as he dates others. Story also follows Lee as he leaves home the day of graduation and starts a new life. Like his choice and why. Turmoil on the engagement day but she goes ahead with the wedding despite Sarah's point of view. Up to date circumstances and occur in everyday lives. Class reunion and misundertandings and fear, stalking. Love the dog and German used and locations described. Excerpts from other works are included the end. Would love to read more from this author-really enjoyed. Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4.5 Stars! That first time your heart says “this is forever,” is huge, especially when your teenage hormones are running wild and suddenly there is a noticeable difference between boys and girls. Lee was Jessie’s first crush, but they remained friends only, good friends, but still…sigh… Years have passed, Jessie has grown up, found herself a husband who didn’t quite live up to her high school fantasy, but he was a good man…or was he? A freshly minted divorcee, Jessie has come home for a family visit and a high school reunion. Meanwhile, Lee had his own secrets growing up, secrets that sent him running as far as possible from home, friends and Jessie. He did come back home and is now a law enforcement officer, stable, sadder, but wiser. Little did Jessie know that seeing Lee again would spark those old teenage hormones, nor did she realize she would become the object of a stalker who would shadow her every move. Lee may be the only one who can keep her physically safe, but what about her heart? Will he finally see what he could have had all those years ago? Will the woman version of Jessie and the man version of Lee finally connect the dots that lead to intertwining hearts? FIRST CRUSH, LAST LOVE by Elizabeth McKenna is a sweet second chance romance, even though there never was a first romance to begin with! Adding the touch of danger and mystery was brilliant! There is nothing over the top, but still the sinister air is there, as well as a soft romance that is gently and tentatively blossoming. I enjoyed not having my insides twisted in knots throughout, being able to sit back and enjoy a well-told story that could bring two realistic characters together after a long journey filled with false starts and dead ends. Closure comes in many ways, and Jessie may find that more than one door will close on her past, only to find her future full of doors waiting to be opened on love! I received a complimentary copy from Elizabeth McKenna!
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
I had to think a lot about this one. How do you say in a few sentences all the emotions you feel? I have difficulty making a firm decision how to rate(stars) First Crush, Last Love. There are things about the book I really loved, There are things I kind of liked. And honestly a little that I really didn't like. Let's get it out there. What I didn't like was that the first 3/4's of the book was about the high school years. Which wasn't necessarily negative. The story was good. The characters were great and reading this back story overall made a good plot. But based on the covers synopsis I just expected more about Jessie's and Lee's budding love and ultimate happy ending and less about their high school years. There are a lot of high school parties described. Lots of drinking. A little partner switching (as happens in high school). Lee's relationship with his high school girlfriend is on again of again. Although Lee is the football quarterback he is a down to earth guy. He is dependable and doesn't mess around. Unlike Tina who on an 'off again' period goes out with Lee's best friend Dale. There are no bedroom scenes but Lee finds out that the two have been together. On a bit of a side note. I couldn't help but wonder if the author was telling her own high school romance. The high school era just flowed together seamlessly and took up alot of the book. As the story progressed and everyone graduates the story picks up with Lee and his new life. He leaves town and becomes a police officer. While Jessie stays home and ends up marrying the boy she dates at the end of high school. Things aren't rosy for them as his domineering qualities turns full throttle possessive and abusive. Things do end well and Jessie manages to get divorced and move on and then things finally come together for Jessie and Lee as the are reacquainted at their high school reunion. Jessie and Lee end happily ever after. There are many life issues touched on and included in this story. Marital abuse, and stalking, homosexuality (Jessie brother is gay), under age drinking and child abuse making First Crush, Last Love not a book I would want my young teenager to read. I question the PG 13 rating. (But I am not a fan of the ratings system.) I enjoyed the characters and the story. I would be interested in reading about some of the other characters. More of Dean's story (Lee's best friend). Jessica's best friend Sarah. And even Tina (Lee's high school girl friend.) The group of people that Lee met and worked with while he lived in another city were interesting and I would love to read more about them. Overall I enjoyed the book. I received a complimentary copy from I Read Book Tours