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Crave by Tracy Wolff Review

Crave by Tracy Wolff

Published by: Entangled Teen on April 7, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 592

My Rating: 

🚨 MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD 🚨

SYNOPSIS

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.

MY THOUGHTS

❝We’re balanced on a razor-thin tightrope, and every day, every minute, is a balancing act. One wrong step in either direction, and the world burns.❞

Like, OMG WTF was this book? It was definitely not sexy AF. FML. Sad face emoji, eye roll emoji . . . Wait, you mean that I shouldn’t talk like that in the review? Isn’t that how all teenagers talk? According to Tracy Wolff, it is!

Crave was one of my most anticipated reads in 2020 and I was highly disappointed in it. In its better moments, the book felt like a Legacies fanfiction and in its worse moments, I felt embarrassed to be a teenager. First of all, not all teenagers talk in abbreviations — much less think in them — and second of all, we are complex human beings that don’t lose brain cells every time a boy enters the pictures. I was humiliated to see Grace falling for someone who acted so rude to her simply because she thought he was “sexy — as we are reminded over 20 times in the book. Yes, I counted. Middle aged women shouldn’t write young adult characters — especially not in first person — if they can’t write realistic young adults. My main problem with the portrayal was the lack of consistency in the writing. The same girl who used “FML” and “AF” in her mind every two minutes — like a basic Valley Girl — was also throwing around words like Machiavellian and laissez-faire, which most teenagers would only use in an essay. This made the writing have a disrupted flow, making it seem as if Wolff was trying too hard to be ‘cool’ or ‘down with the kids,’ only for her own voice to leak through.

❝The only thing I have been able to count on these past few weeks is that no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse…❞

In terms of the plot itself, it had a lethargic pace until towards the end when everything started to happen faster than I could comprehend. Lia has a gun? There’s a sacrifice? Gargoyles? Grace and Jaxon could be mates? Whilst the action could be seen as exhilarating, I kept going back a few pages because I was convinced I missed something. It was too sudden and the big villainous plan had a cartoon-ish vibe. Crave turned out to be rather cut and dry in the sense it followed Propp’s Character Theory and all the characters have very clear roles with the narrative following an obvious structure. It wasn’t exactly the most original book, but it’s a safe bet for those that like paranormal academies that feature a damsel-type new girl and a tormented hero.

❝There are no such things as monsters, just people who do monstrous things.❞

CHARACTERS

❝And wanting him the way I do…wanting him feels like opening a vein just to watch myself bleed.❞

Our heroine in Crave is Grace, who moves to an academy in Alaska after the death of her parents. On arrival, everyone hates her, but the hottest and most dangerous boy in school is instantly attracted to her — despite her self-confessing that she’s wallpaper, the bland and boring kind. Although, I have to agree that Grace is wallpaper and that’s why I can’t fathom why Jaxon likes her. She is unlikeable, hypocritical and shamefully stupid. I don’t like when people senselessly hate on female characters, but Grace had to google what to wear in Alaska and told someone she didn’t even know how make a snowball! I wanted to slam my head against a brick wall with her. There’s the added fact she has no self-preservation instincts and continues to put herself in danger when she has the opportunity to escape or outright ignores people’s warnings. Aside from that, she thinks Jaxon must have a reason for almost killing a student, yet insists it can’t be justified when someone almost kills her. Grace is annoying and impossible relate to.

❝He seems more misunderstood than malicious, more broken than bad.❞

Our other main character is Jaxon — unattainable vampire royalty and Grace’s love interest. He is meant to be the bad boy type, but it feel almost forced. A part of me is unsure if the author knew who he was meant to be given he seemed to be too much at times. He is arrogant, secretly funny, brooding, sensitive, protective, thoughtful, violent . . . God, I need to take a breath typing all that. It’s like Wolff couldn’t decide what type of character he is, so he’s everything at once. Having multi-faceted characters is important, but not when it results in their personality being contradictory. Also, I didn’t find Jaxon attractive whatsoever — in fact, I thought being told “He’s just that fun and that charming” was a little weird. Readers shouldn’t need to be told that, we should be shown it! Albeit, some girls might like him because he has some great dialogue and is always watching out for Grace.

MY FAVOURITE MOMENT

Picking my favourite moment is difficult — maybe the end? Because I was glad it was finally over! This book was sometimes painful to read, to be honest.

❝History is, after all, written by the winner.❞

In all seriousness, one moment I liked was when Jaxon revealed what happened with his brother, Hudson. It was the first time that it feels like there was really something at stake in the book and it showed there can be a darker side to Wolff’s universe. I would love to see this explored more in the sequel — although, I’m not sure if I’ll be picking it up myself. There was potential for some true angst and conflict, but everything in Crave seemed to be petty and surface-level. With vampires, they’re twisted and primal and it’s a shame that aspect of the lore wasn’t utilised enough in the book. Sometimes, it came across like it was meant to be a vampire lit parody — one that took itself too seriously. Even Grace said, “This caricature from every B vampire movie in existence isn’t the boy I love” and it’s ironic because that’s exactly what I found the novel to be.

MY LEAST FAVOURITE MOMENT

I always strive to be fair in my reviews, but it’s hard for me to hide that I didn’t like this book, meaning it’s even harder to pick one least favourite moment. There were so many times I debated quitting the book, so many times that I hated Grace, so many times I questioned what was even happening in the book. If I had to pick one moment, I’d be inclined to say whenever Grace was made out to be a damsel — the altitude sickness, falling out of the tree, needing to be carried upstairs . . . On those occasions, she was made out to be helpless and pathetic when it came to the smallest of things, which I despised.

FINAL VERDICT

I wouldn’t recommend this book. I finished it because it was a train wreck that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from, not because it had any redeeming qualities or was genuinely entertaining. Instead of being comparable to Twilight or The Vampire Diaries in quality, it’s vapid and frivolous. Regardless of what you think of the aforementioned, they were well-written and original upon their release. Occasionally, Crave felt like a rip-off — I drew a lot of comparisons between Grace and Elena especially.

Overall, the romance is weak, the heroine is oblivious and frustrating, the plot in itself is all over the place and doesn’t kick in until the final 20%. Speaking off, the book certainly didn’t need to be almost 600 pages and it could have lost 200 if Wolff cut some of Grace’s excessive, tiring inner monologue, the pointless descriptions of outfits and the general repetitiveness that came from Grace’s thoughts every time she saw Jaxon. Maybe someone would like this if they don’t value developed characters and they only care about how sexy a love interest is, or if they want to read John Green worthy declarations of love when the characters have known each other around a week . . . Unfortunately, that someone didn’t turn out to be me.

If you read Crave, play along with the drinking game I made for the occasion!

read it and weep,

7 replies on “Crave by Tracy Wolff Review”

[…] WHY? With reemergence of vampires in YA, Crave was easily my most anticipated read of the year. However, I was left frustrated when I found it to be a middle-aged woman writing about teenagers with no clue how they actually behave whilst churning out a flimsy plot that I could have found on Wattpad in 2013 for free. In addition, this was another book with a main character that wasn’t ‘like other girls’ (because the shame of liking similar things to people your age!) and had a plot that was dragged out for a few hundred pages too many. You can read my full review here. […]

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