This Time it's Real by Ann Liang

This Time it's Real by Ann Liang

Author:Ann Liang [Liang, Ann]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 2023-02-01T18:30:00+00:00


Back home, hidden away in my bedroom, I create a brand-new PowerPoint titled A Step-by-Step Guide on Getting Over an Unwanted Crush.

I’ve spent the remaining school day compiling articles and advice columns and every resource out there on how to do this, scrapping all the bullshit tips like “just give it time” or “accept your feelings” and tailoring the information to my own situation. All I really need now is to follow through with it.

So, Step One: Look for Things to Hate about Him.

This should be easy enough. I crack my knuckles and spread my fingers over my keyboard. Things to hate . . . There are a number of anti-fan forums up and running, populated by people who absolutely loathe Caz Song: a perfect place to find inspiration. Still, I feel weirdly guilty going on them, as if I’m somehow engaging in an act of treason.

Then I read a few of the hate comments:

@fionaxia: Caz Song is so fake it creeps me out. You just know that it’s all a persona created by his company to win over brainless teenage girls. Does he even have an actual personality?

@phoebe_bear: let’s be real: if Caz Song weren’t born with a pretty face, he’d be a nobody. His acting is just okay. So many people are 1000x more deserving of what he has.

@stanxiaozhaninstead: A former fan here (don’t judge). Used to love him until he changed his hair. Wish he’d dye it again; now he looks too feminine.

@cazno1hater: I have this theory that Caz has hooked up with at least two major players in the entertainment industry. There’s literally no other explanation why he’d keep getting these big drama opportunities.

Next thing I know, I’m clenching my teeth so hard they hurt and creating an account under a fake name and replying: Caz Song is FAR more talented than you’ll ever be. You have no idea how hard he’s worked, you pathetic little—

Okay, so maybe the first step wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped. Whatever. I turn my attention to Step Two instead: Develop a Crush on Someone Else.

Over the next couple weeks, I force myself to admire photos of other celebrities every morning. Gong Jun. Deng Lun. Yi Yang Qian Xi. Jungkook. They’re all very attractive. I know this objectively. Yet my pulse stays the same no matter how long I stare at them, willing myself to just feel something. But I feel nothing, not until I get to school and catch sight of Caz laughing with his friends, where my pulse promptly skyrockets and my stomach somersaults ten times over.

Desperate by this point, I move on to Step Three: Observe Him More Closely. The apparent logic behind this is that crushes are like mirages; they don’t hold well under intense scrutiny. So I observe Caz Song, searching for flaws, a crack in the fantasy. At school, and during our chemistry training sessions while we explore the city and memorize as much of each other’s backgrounds as possible. In late November


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