Whoever the object of your prepubescent passion, you'll recognize the pangs of longing in the new essay collection Crush, in which 37 writers gush about their unattainable first loves. A sample of their budding romances:

Crusher: Jodi Picoult, author of the forthcoming novel Small Great Things

Crushee: Donny Osmond

This Magic Moment: Catching a glimpse of his megawatt smile at the age of 6

Heart to heart: "I've sometimes wondered what would have happened if I'd magically teleported from my backyard...to the studio where Donny & Marie was filmed, what Mr. Osmond would have done when confronted by a grubby... child clutching a pillowcase emblazoned with a bad likeness of his face.... I like to believe he would have given me a cookie to feed my hunger, and perhaps a kiss on the cheek to feed my dreams."

Crusher: Stephen King, author of the forthcoming novel End of Watch

Crushee: Kim Novak

This Magic Moment: Watching 1955's Picnic at the movies when he was 8 years old

Heart to Heart: "It was the first time I really noticed a woman's breasts, I think.... I fell deeply in love, although she was adult and terrifying. I could imagine a kiss from her as being a prelude to ingesting me whole, but that would have been okay. Just fine, in fact."

Crusher: Roxane Gay, author of the forthcoming memoir Hunger

Crushee: Almanzo Wilder

These Magic Moments: Reading the Little House books, in which Almanzo wins the affection of pioneer schoolteacher Laura Ingalls

Heart to Heart: "There was the time he won a buggy race even though he had his horses pulling a heavy wagon. There was that time he and Cap Garland braved brutal winter weather to bring wheat to town so the townsfolk wouldn't starve. That Almanzo was such a mighty good man."

Photo of Donny Osmond: Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images. Photo of Kim Novak: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images. Book image of These Happy Golden Years: NBCU Photo Bank


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