The story unfolds through the eyes of Grace Foster, a 17-year-old girl from San Diego, California, whose life takes a dramatic turn following the tragic death of her parents in a car accident.
Sent to live with her Uncle Finn and cousin Macy in the remote wilderness of Fairbanks, Alaska, Grace finds herself at Katmere Academy, a Gothic castle school shrouded in mystery and overseen by her uncle, the headmaster.
Grace is immediately struck by the eerie beauty of the Alaskan wilds and the imposing architecture of Katmere Academy.
However, she can’t shake off the feeling that something is amiss. Her first evening at the school only deepens this suspicion when she encounters Jaxon Vega, a mesmerizing yet rude student who warns her of the school’s dangers and urges her to leave.
Unbeknownst to Grace, Jaxon is not just any student—he is the most powerful vampire in the academy.
Despite the warning, Grace’s life at Katmere Academy grows increasingly perilous. She survives a frightening attack by two boys, only to be saved by an unknown savior, later revealed to be Jaxon.
As she navigates various challenges, including altitude sickness and a snowball fight gone wrong, Grace is supported by her friends Macy and Flint, who help her acclimate to the school’s unique social dynamics, dominated by cliques like The Order, a group of students dressed in black and led by Jaxon.
Intrigue deepens as Grace discovers the library and meets Lia, who is immersed in a mysterious book.
Over tea, Lia reveals her connection to Jaxon—she was the girlfriend of his late brother, Hudson. As Grace and Lia bond over shared grief, Grace begins to piece together the puzzle of Katmere Academy.
She realizes that Jaxon is a vampire and that the school is a haven for the supernatural, with students who are witches, dragons, wolf-shifters, and vampires.
Grace’s relationship with Jaxon evolves, and despite his cold exterior, he shows a surprising care for her.
This connection is tested when Grace narrowly escapes death in the cafeteria, leading Jaxon to confront a pack of werewolves he suspects are behind the attack.
In a display of raw power and protectiveness, Jaxon nearly kills the lead werewolf, only stopping at Grace’s plea. This incident, far from driving Grace away, draws her closer to Jaxon.
The plot thickens as Jaxon reveals the dark history of his family. His brother, Hudson, had sought to dominate all supernatural beings, leading to his death at Jaxon’s hands.
This act of fratricide left Jaxon scarred, both physically and emotionally, and set him on a path to become the next Vampire King.
Tensions escalate when Grace is poisoned by tea provided by Lia, leading to her capture. In the catacombs beneath the school, Grace learns of Lia’s plan to resurrect Hudson using her as a sacrificial pawn.
In a dramatic confrontation, Jaxon, now in his dragon form, and other dragons attempt to kill Grace to prevent Hudson’s return. However, Jaxon, fueled by Grace’s blood, manages to thwart Lia’s plans.
In a shocking twist, Hudson’s spirit appears, threatening Jaxon.
Grace, driven by a newfound power, transforms into a gargoyle to protect him, sacrificing her human form. As the novel concludes, Grace, now a stone gargoyle, is taken to the infirmary, with Uncle Finn and Jaxon vowing to find a way to restore her.
Grace is the 17-year-old protagonist of “Crave.” She moves from San Diego to Alaska to live with her uncle and cousin at Katmere Academy after the death of her parents. Grace is resilient, curious, and brave, adapting to the supernatural world of the academy while uncovering its secrets. She develops a deep connection with Jaxon Vega and plays a crucial role in the conflicts at Katmere.
Jaxon, a powerful vampire and student at Katmere Academy, initially comes off as cold and intimidating. He warns Grace about the dangers of the school. As the story progresses, Jaxon reveals a more caring and protective side, especially towards Grace. He struggles with his past and his role as the future Vampire King.
Uncle Finn is Grace’s uncle and the headmaster of Katmere Academy. He is a key figure in Grace’s life after her parents’ death. As the headmaster, he is responsible for maintaining order in the school and plays a pivotal role in the supernatural community.
Macy is Grace’s cousin and one of her first friends at Katmere Academy. She helps Grace adjust to life at the academy and is an essential source of support and information about the supernatural world.
Flint is one of Grace’s friends at Katmere Academy. He is revealed to be a dragon, showcasing the diversity of supernatural beings at the school. Flint is known for his humor and easygoing nature, providing a contrast to the more intense characters like Jaxon.
Lia is a student at Katmere Academy and the former girlfriend of Jaxon’s deceased brother, Hudson. She plays a complex role in the story, initially befriending Grace but later revealing more sinister motives related to the resurrection of Hudson.
Although deceased, Hudson Vega, Jaxon’s brother, plays a significant role in the novel’s backstory. His desire for power and control over the supernatural beings caused a rift at Katmere Academy, leading to his death at Jaxon’s hands. Hudson’s legacy impacts the events of the story and the relationships between characters.
1. The Complexity of Grief and Loss
At its core, “Crave” is a poignant exploration of how individuals cope with grief and loss.
Grace’s journey begins in the aftermath of her parents’ tragic death, thrusting her into a world where she must navigate her sorrow while adapting to an entirely new and daunting environment.
The theme of loss is further mirrored in Lia’s character, who is grappling with the death of Hudson, her boyfriend.
This shared experience of loss creates a bond between Grace and Lia, emphasizing the universality of grief and the varied ways individuals process it. The novel portrays grief not just as a journey of pain, but also as a catalyst for growth and self-discovery.
2. The Dichotomy of Belonging and Otherness
Throughout the novel, Grace’s struggle with the sense of belonging in a world that is starkly different from her previous life in San Diego is a central theme.
Katmere Academy is a melting pot of supernatural beings, and Grace, being the only human, epitomizes otherness. This theme is skillfully woven into the narrative, as Grace navigates the complex social hierarchies and unspoken rules of this new world.
Her journey from feeling like an outsider to finding her place – not just in the school, but within the supernatural community – speaks to the broader experience of adapting to new environments and the human need for connection and belonging.
3. The Nature of Power and Responsibility
The theme of power and its accompanying responsibilities is another cornerstone of the novel.
Jaxon’s character embodies this theme as he grapples with his emerging role as the Vampire King, burdened by the responsibilities and expectations it entails. His struggle is contrasted with the story of his brother, Hudson, whose misuse of power led to catastrophic consequences.
The novel explores the ethical dimensions of power – how it can be used for both good and harm, and the importance of responsibility and self-control.
This theme is also reflected in Grace’s character development, as she discovers her own hidden powers and the responsibilities that come with them.
“Crave” is a compelling blend of romance, fantasy, and adventure.
Tracy Wolff masterfully crafts a narrative that not only explores the complexities of love and grief but also delves into the intriguing dynamics of a supernatural world. The novel excels in building a gothic atmosphere, complete with a mysterious boarding school and a diverse cast of characters.
Grace’s journey from a grieving teenager to a strong individual entangled in a supernatural romance is engaging and emotionally resonant. The book’s blend of suspense, mystical elements, and character development makes it a captivating read for fans of young adult paranormal romance.