When checking out the offerings of good ol’ Kindle Unlimited, I kept seeing a certain book cover everywhere: the one for YA novel Crave by Tracy Wolff.
Somewhat Twilight-esque in its design (high contrast image against a black background with lots of white and red), it did do the trick in catching my eye every time.
Unsure at first if I really wanted to read another Young Adults vampire fantasy novel, I decided, why not. Let’s just give it a chance.
It was both exactly and not at all what I was expecting.
Sound confusing? Let me explain.
Is Crave like Twilight? Kind Of
With over 75,000 reviews on Goodreads, Crave has definitely been read by a lot of people.
I’m unsure how it got its 4-star rating though when it seems like at a quick glance, every review is virtually panning the book.
Some call it a poor man’s Twilight, others say the comparison is an insult to the whole vampire romance genre.
Many reviews are perhaps harsher than I would be, but I’ll do my best to give an unbiased assessment.
First of all, yes, it is very similar to Twilight in that it’s about a romance between a vampire and a “normal” girl.
Tracy Wolff makes use of pretty much every cliche and trope in the book to describe the pull our heroine Grace feels for Jaxon (even sensing he is dangerous and likely, not great for her health).
But being similar to Twilight isn’t a crime, and Wolff actually uses humor and self-mockery often in the book to point out the areas her book is similar. Poking fun at herself does go a long way to smooth over the slight plagiarized feels you do get from the book at moments.
So it’s not the similarities that really bothered me. It’s the writing.
Is Crave a Good Book?
Oh my gosh, the writing. I understand wanting to milk suspense and lay on the teen angst heavy.
But it’s SO intense you feel like you are wading through a molasses of tropes about “wanting to stay away, but needing to be with him” until you are covered in stickiness and just so, so tired.
The thing is, I feel like if the book was edited down to say, one expression of angst every time Grace was feeling something, you would get the point and the book would still move along.
The way it is though, you get the sense Wolff wrote the book, found it too short, and then went back and packed in more words that say the same thing just to lengthen it.
That’s fine for an English essay with a word minimum you have to hit. But for a novel, it feels forced. All of this combined leads to the conclusion that, no, Crave is not a good book.
That being said, the book isn’t all bad. Despite the very heavy-handed writing, the story was interesting enough that I genuinely wanted to know what happened next.
A boarding school in Alaska is unique enough that even thinking about the logistics of what that entails (like how do you get to classes in other buildings?), was a fun thought exercise. If you are looking for a YA novel to add to your reading group’s list, these Crave book club questions will walk you through the book piece by piece.
Ultimately though, the interesting story to iffy writing ratio just isn’t there. At least not enough to justify reading any of the other books in the series. For that, it’s two and a half stars for me, because I almost always finish a series.
As always, no matter how much a novel might lack, I still have a huge amount of respect for any author who can write a complete book period. And this one has brought its author a lot of success!
Unfortunately, respect alone doesn’t make me want to read any more books from this series (or by Tracy Wolff).
Will YA Novel Crave be a movie?
While there are no official announcements about filming yet, Universal bought the film rights before the book was even released in 2020.
Wolff has also done dream cast requests on her site, so it does look like a feature film is at least being planned for at some point in the future.
Psst! Looking for More Paranormal and Fantasy Romance Books? Check these out!
Personally, I think this would probably make a better show than a movie or a book, but I’m curious to see what the studio does with the story!
Is there Romance in Crave?
Definitely! If there is one thing the novel is full of, it’s the romantic frustrations between Grace and Jaxon.
The headiness of first love at 17 years old is pretty accurate, as well as the feelings of how your whole world will just end if you can’t be together.
The humor in Grace’s inner monologues as she thinks about Jaxon (and pokes fun at her own thoughts) can be cute and even charming at times. It does lend itself well to the romantic aspects of the book at least!
Looking to make reading a more regular thing? Why not start a book club! Check out my article on How to Form a Book Club for tips on creating the ideal club for your lifestyle.
Did you read Crave? What did you think? Leave me a comment below about what you did or didn’t like about the book!