Crave: March Read Recap

We had our first virtual meet up today and it was really great! I am still getting my bearings when it comes to hosting, outlining and leading a book club meeting on the computer, but I had fun, I learned a lot and I loved getting to chat with you about our March read: Crave by Tracy Wolff

Big apologies for not warning anyone about the pic. I planned to take another one - one where everyone was looking - before we logged off but I forgot. So out of courtesy and respect of privacy, look at all those happy book club attendees!!!


So the general consensus was: this book kinda sucked. The collective club rating was: ⭐ ⭐

The main issues we all had with it were the juvenile dialogue, the blatant rip offs of Twilight, the unlikable main character and just a story that irritated us more than anything. I opted to not continue with the series, which is against my usual way. I don't know if its because I'm getting older or what, but life's too short. I won't be continuing.


 

From this point on, please enjoy my personal review. SPOILER ALERT, CLICK HERE TO SKIP AHEAD


This book was first recommended to me by a friend who knows of my deep love of magic and vampires and when I heard that this book was a blend of both Harry Potter AND Twilight, it was an immediate ::add to card:: I was so excited to dive into yet another potentially magical, dark YA fantasy.


Knowing what I know about Twilight and HP, I knew that one of those stories was beautifully written, immersive in setting and just full of loveable characters that you want to root for until the end… and the other was a supernatural teen romance with Mormon undertones. I know what I'm doing.


So I figured, if Crave was said to combine these stories, then the story and its execution would fall somewhere in the middle, right? Not great, not awful. I feel like my expectations were moderate and realistic yet, somehow, I was disappointed at every turn, in every way.


I really, really wanted to like this book but I just didn’t and I am not happy about it.


Why didn’t I like it? I am glad you asked. SPOILERS


  • Let’s start off slowly… the chapter titles made me want to scream. A few of my favorites: “There’s Never a Hallucinogen Around When You Need One” “Is That a Wooden Stake in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?” “I’ll Get You and Your Little Dog Too” A simple, 1, 2, 3, would have been more than fine. I could not take the puns.

  • The writing was very juvenile. I think there is a misconception with YA that you have to dumb down the language so it feels yOuNgEr and that just isn’t the case. The author wrote things like “sexy AF” and “hot AF” and “dangerous AF” more times than I could count. Which would have been fine, if they had been using this lingo in texting or social media situations. No, the author made those phrases part of Grace’s inner monologue which immediately made me dislike her. I know I’m in my thirties, but I have never seen something with my eyeballs and thought to myself “wow, that’s cute AF.” I counted 9 instances of AF before I stopped counting and started dissociating.

  • The nods to Twilight were particularly obvious but I wouldn’t have been bothered by that if they weren’t used in excess. Whether this was intentional or not, it doesn’t take away from the audacity of it all. The first direct mention of Twilight was fine. I thought it was funny and even a little admirable that the author was so self aware about the obvious parallels that she chose to have HER vampire boy send HER human girl a copy of Twilight. After several more direct references though, it was like… “Ok I’m uncomfortable.” Twilight is mentioned by name like 4 times, Edward comes up once. A direct quote from Twilight is written in. The book itself is mainly set in a town at the base of Denali, which is the same city in Alaska where a coven of Twilight vampires lived. Alaska is 665,400 mi² but it had to be Denali, huh? It was just too much. It went from a nod to a rip off very fast.

  • This might not have been an intentional parallel and was simply a coincidence but Amka, the librarian, gave me big Professor Trelawney vibes. Hippie, bohemian attire, a hinted at ability to see/know things. I didn’t pick up on THAT many HP rip offs, maybe JK has more lawyers than Stephanie. I digress.


There were some redeeming qualities to the story that could have carried the book way further if the negative stuff wasn’t steadily dragging it to hell.


  • I liked that Jaxon’s emotions caused earthquakes.

  • The introduction of dragons as people/shifters and the clarification that the wolves were also shapeshifters.

  • The setting and ambiance that I experienced in the first chapters when Grace was arriving at the boarding school were really great. It felt reminiscent of Hogwarts without being a blatant rip off and it was alluring. I was excited to be there and follow her on her journey.

  • Grace could have been a good character too, but she wasn't. She was outspoken and seemingly strong which I appreciated, but she kind of sucked and came off really naive, even stupid at times. That coupled with her internal monologues of "AF" riddled nonsense made her extremely unlikable.

  • I also knew that Lia was going to do something stupid from early on, I did NOT expect that she had a hand in killing Grace’s parents, so that was a nice WTF moment.


 

To be honest, books USUALLY can’t go wrong with me when it comes to vampires. The same goes for wolves, dragons, witches, warlocks and any other magical, supernatural thing. This book could have done something, it had the potential: A dark boarding school filled with monsters in a snowy, isolated town.

A young girl learning to navigate her way through grief while reconnecting with her family and struggling to find her place in a new, mysterious home away from home. A forbidden, burgeoning romance with a dark and stormy boy with secrets of his own. Danger, mystery, magic, academia vibes and terrifying questions with unbelievable answers.


The bones were all there, but there was no meat, no substance, and the immature language and writing stripped away any redeeming qualities the story could have had.



 





Also, please enjoy my GoodReads review and follow me there if you'd like! This review is a great summary of all the things I plan to discuss at length below.

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