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Book Review: Crave by Tracy Wolff

Publisher’s description

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Amanda’s thoughts

Here is the passage that really sums up what is happening to Grace and should hook readers:

“Five weeks ago, Heather and I were shopping for homecoming dresses and complaining about AP English. Now I’m an orphan living with half an encyclopedia of supernatural creatures and dodging death on the regular”(341).

You in?

Confession: I’ve never read Twilight. Well, that’s not entirely true. I read about 1/3 of it as an ARC while working at a bookstore, said, meh, this isn’t for me but will probably be popular, and moved on. I am very much a contemporary/realistic reader. I am also very much a fan of Buffy. Every once in a while, I try to read outside of my preferred genre, so I gave this a try. I read the final 150 pages in one go, my house growing dark as I finished, my dogs whining at me to get up off the couch and feed them. I found this book totally enjoyable. There were many points while reading that I did shake my head at how quickly Grace gets wrapped up in powerful vampire Jaxon, but that’s the 42-year-old human/parent of a teen reading, which is not who this book is aimed at.

Jaxon is frustrating and terrifying and exciting. Grace is instantly attracted to him, despite him warning her that she should leave, that she should watch her book. He doesn’t exactly seem friendly, but there’s just something about him that she’s drawn to, even when he outright tells her he’s made her a pawn in a game. Jaxon is deep, he’s in pain, he tears pages out of an Anais Nin diary to give to her. He flips chairs around to sit on them. Grace repeatedly notes that he’s “damaged.” He’s notorious and powerful and growly. Grace is very into all these things.

The very distinct groups at school all seem to be against Grace, or at least wary of her. In fact, it would appear that someone may be out to get her. It’s hard to know who to trust, especially when it seems like Grace isn’t being told some very important details about life at her new school. Once she learns the truth, she continues to fall for Jaxon, even though everything about him is a warning. Everything about him also makes her swoon. (A few times in my notes I have written, “NO. THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP.”) And while Jaxon rescues her and cares for her a lot, Grace is pretty self-aware, and certainly not helpless.

The story of life at the academy is that of history, secrets, power, distrust, prejudice, genocide, lies, plots, and protectors. In the one week or so covered in this book, Grace gets an intense crash course in what it means to fall in love with a vampire. The first in a series, this ends with lots of drama, action, and a dramatic reveal. A satisfyingly engrossing read, especially if you can get past wanting to tell Grace to just pack up and go back home to California.

Also, friendly reminder: Twilight came out in 2005. That’s a loooong time ago. While this might seem derivative to many adults who lived and read through the vampire craze of that era, today’s teens were not even necessarily born when that book came out.

Review copy (ARC) courtesy of the publisher

ISBN-13: 9781640638952
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Publication date: 04/07/2020
Age Range: 14 – 17 Year

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