Skip to content

Jealous Haters Book Club: Crave introduction and Chapter 0, “If You’re Not Living on the Edge, You’re Taking Up Too Much Space”/Chapter 1, “Landing Is Just Throwing Yourself at the Ground and Hoping You Don’t Miss”

Posted in Uncategorized

All right, all right, all right. I just lost 2,000 words of a manuscript and basically that’s four weeks of work on my fiction at this point because I’m so freaking stressed and blocked, so I’m going to get into this right away. If you’re not sure why there’s a new selection for JHBC, you can find the answer here. But why have I chosen this book, out of the blue? What is it about this book that made me skip past all the requests I’ve had so far?

I first learned about Tracy Wolff’s Crave when the story of Universal’s pre-empt of the screen rights rolled across my Twitter timeline. I hadn’t heard any buzz about the book at all until then and suddenly it was everywhere, touted as “your next vampire obsession” and “the next Twilight.” I like vampires. I like Twilight. I’m so gonna check this story out, right?

And that’s when I see who published the book: Entangled. And who was interviewed for the story? Not Wolff, the actual writer. Liz Pelletier, the book’s editor and the publisher at Entangled.

Let me give you some backstory on my relationship with Pelletier and Entangled, so nobody can be like, “BIAS! BIIIIIAAAS! You didn’t disclose that you had a personal beef with the publisher!” Well, I don’t. I have professional beef. I’ll disclose that so you can read my critique of this particular title with that in mind and decide whether or not my bias has affected my analysis of the text. So, here’s the beef:

Entangled bought my book, Such Sweet Sorrow, with a film/TV development deal already in place. It was work-for-hire, meaning my agent connected with an awesome, supportive, much-missed guy out in Hollywood who came up with the idea, brainstormed it with me, and got it representation at a major entertainment agency. Meanwhile, I wrote the book and its sequel and the series proposal and bible for the eventual television show. I sent book two off to Pelletier, my editor, about two weeks before my partner in crime died. I was devastated.

I was even more devastated when months went by with no word from Pelletier on the second book. The book that Nick and I had worked so hard to mold and shape. More months. Then a year. Then two years. Since the television show was off the table–and very likely since she does not like “controversial” authors, which I was quickly becoming in the wake of the Anne Rice dust up–my book was abandoned. A year of my work will never see the light of day. A year of work with someone who, five days before he died, was still sending me notes on the project and was pursuing a graphic novel adaptation. This was a project that both of us cared about and poured a lot of work into. And it was just out there, in a void of unreturned calls and emails.

During the waiting time, I expressed my frustration to another Entangled author at Literary Love Savannah. The author rolled her eyes, laughed, and said,  “She is always chasing the next Twilight. Or the next something. She wants a movie. If you can’t give it to her, she loses interest.”

Back to a few years before. Pelletier had contracted an author to write Pelletier’s idea for a series she once described to me as “Twilight with aliens.” The series was a big success for Pelletier and the author who wrote it. But it wasn’t enough; though the film rights were optioned, the studio let the option expire and revert back. Pelletier didn’t get her movie, no matter how many times she tried to repackage and relaunch the series over and over again. Now, Pelletier has played it safe, going for “Twilight with vampires.”

But not just Twilight with vampires.” This one…has a twist. From PopBuzz:

There’s one key detail that looks set to set Crave apart from Twilight though. Liz states that it will be told from a “decidedly feminist perspective.” Given that Twilight was panned by many feminist critics for Bella’s storyline, it will be interesting to see how Crave compares.

I agree, PopBuzz. Because the thing is, Twilight was over a decade ago. Its success has waned and its esteem in the eyes of readers–even its most ardent fans at the time–has somewhat lessened, judging by how many people expressed dismay that Midnight Sun will finally be released. Authors wouldn’t dare use Twilight as a comp in their query letters, lest they get roasted behind their backs by slush pile sorters who like to mock rubes living ten years behind the times. But Liz Pelletier seems to be the only publisher who doesn’t realize that. So, I’m absolutely dying to see how this pans out from that perspective.

So, you can see where this might end up with accusations of a personal vendetta against Pelletier or Entangled. I don’t have a vendetta. I have a grudge. Vendettas require a lot of effort and frankly, I don’t have the time to ruin anyone. I’d still be looking into this book even if it didn’t come with my personal baggage; “feminist Twilight” is just as enticing a lure for me had it come from any other publisher.

And here’s where things get really interesting: I’ve never read Tracey Wolff. At all. Ever. And this is shocking to me because she’s written a lot of books, most of them romance or erotic romance. Like, how did I miss her? Especially since she wrote for Harlequin Desire back in the day and that imprint was an auto-buy addiction for me before I started shopping at a grocery store that doesn’t carry them. I should have read at least something of hers before. Since I haven’t, I get to walk into this thing fresh as a daisy. And I’ve never heard anything bad about her that would have put me off reading this book. Everything seems pretty above-board with this one, ethically.

Plus, I actually did love Twilight, despite a brief period of insisting I only liked it “ironically” or I downright hated it because it’s what all the cool kids were doing at the time and I was furious with Breaking Dawn.

Seriously. That is how you wrap this conflict up? Really?

Anyway, I’m going into this with a brand-new-to-me author, in a book that seems to be part of a burgeoning vampire renaissance, masterminded by the woman who thought signing Alexa Riley was a great idea. What could go wrong?

Honestly, though, I’m hoping it goes right. And I haven’t really heard anything from anyone to suggest that it won’t. So let’s dive in.

First of all, the writing in this book? It’s not bad. A lot of times, books we read here will be a trash heap in terms of content, story, the nature of its publication and the terrible writing, but a lot of the books we read here are also overwhelmingly first efforts from brand new authors. There are only two, I believe, that we’ve done that hasn’t been the first book or series for the author. So, it’s refreshing to have someone who actually knows how to get the story moving in the right direction, right away.

I stand at the outer tarmac door staring at the plane I am about to get on and try my hardest not to freak out.

It’s easier said than done.

Not just because I’m about to leave behind everything I know, though up until two minutes ago, that was my main concern.

So, the opening of Feminist Twilight ™ gives us the heroine, Grace, who is moving away from everything she knows. This tracks with the Twilight connection, but honestly, a lot of YA books start out this way. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Her Uncle Finn has sent a dude name Philip to pick her up for the last leg of the journey.

If you had told me a month ago that I would be standing on the outskirts of an airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, I would’ve said that you were misinformed. And if you had told me that the whole reason I was in Fairbanks was to catch the tiniest puddle jumper in existence to what feels like the very edge of the world–or in this case, a town on the edge of Denali, the highest mountain in North America–I would have said that you were high as a freaking kite.

…Denali?

For those not fully immersed in the world of Stephenie Meyer’s vampires, Edward spends time with the Denali clan in Alaska. So, that’s a clever nod.

In fact, 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…

Then we move on to chapter one. As you can see above, the chapters have long titles. This one makes more sense than the first one.

Anyway, Grace got on the plane and we rejoin her as her destination comes into view:

“There she is,” Philip says as we clear the peaks of several mountains, taking one hand off the steering column to point to a small collection of buildings in the distance. “Healy, Alaska. Home sweet home.”

“Oh, wow. It looks…” Tiny. It looks really, really tiny. Way smaller than just my neighborhood in San Diego.

Well…that’s a bit like Twilight, isn’t it? I mean, lots of YA books start out with a “new in town” aspect, but California girl moves to Alaska and Arizona girl moves to Washington is a little on the nose.

During an intense, rough landing, we get some exposition about why she’s leaving her home:

I bite my lip, keep my eyes squeeze firmly shut even as my heart threatens to burst out of my chest. If this is the end, I don’t need to see it coming.

The thought distracts me, has me wondering just what my mom and dad might have seen coming, and by the time I shut down that line of thinking, Philip has the plane sliding to a shaky, shuddering halt.

I know exactly how it feels. Right now, even my toes are trembling.

This. This, dear reader, is how you subtly work in the character’s backstory. See the context? She’s not remembering her mother’s grisly murder because she saw her own hair in a mirror, an event that would take place at least once a day for most people. She’s not launching into some elaborately detailed flashback that takes us out of the action. One little moment of connection to the tragedy that explains what that tragedy was. Her parents died in some kind of accident. Bam. That’s all we need at the moment.

By the way, this is the kind of thing that you have to work at relentlessly and Wolff does it very well.

After the harrowing landing, we get a little more of what’s going on here:

After taking a few seconds to make sure I’m not going to crumble—and to pull my brand-new coat more tightly around me because it’s literally about eight degrees out here—I head to the back of the plane to get the three suitcases that are all that is left of my life.

I feel a pang looking at them, but I don’t let myself dwell on everything I had to leave behind, any more than I let myself dwell on the idea of strangers living in the house I grew up in. After all, who cares about a house or art supplies or a drum kit when I’ve lost so much more?

I have a weird feeling that this book is going to give me a few uncomfortable moments with regard to how Twilighty it will be. I think marketing it as the “feminist Twilight” was a bad move when there are so many things that stick out as just a little too close, changed juuuust enough. But at the same time, this is such a common way to start a YA novel. Kid moving somewhere new, thinking about their stuff all packed up, remembering their old life, etc. Marketing it as “feminist Twilight” (much in the way Entangled marketed another series as Roswell-meets-Twilight) puts that title in the mind of the reader, making any similarities seem larger and more suspect (except for in the case of Twilight-with-aliens. That was 100% ripped off).

Basically, what I’m saying is, I’m not accusing Wolff of copying Twilight, I’m saying that using Twilight as a comp has done a disservice to Crave. I mean, let’s take a look:

  • Heroine moving from big city, warm climate to small town, cold climate
  • Takes place in a small town near Denali National Park, a mountain area home to a vampire clan in the Twilight franchise
  • Description of how little heroine has brought, weather inappropriateness of clothing at the same percentage in the ebook as in Twilight

And that percentage I just mentioned? 2%. We’re 2% into the story of Crave and there are three striking similarities. None of these things would have probably pinged my radar if I hadn’t already been told to expect to be reading Twilight by the marketing campaign but once we’ve been told that this is specifically supposed to be like Twilight, it makes it seem shady.

And to be honest the cover:

The cover of Crave features a black background with a white carnation, drops of blood on it. The title and author name are both in a very Twilight-esque font.

It does seem a little bit…

Wait, what’s this on the copyright page?

A screenshot of the ebook in the Kindle app. The text reads: Edited by Liz Pelletier and Stacy Abrams, Cover design by Bree Archer and Liz Pelletier

That certainly explains a few things, doesn’t it?

Grace and the pilot, Phillip, take Grace’s bags to the parking lot and there’s some description of how the airport is really just a runway and some parking spots. Again, great detail, it tells us exactly how small and isolated this town is.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do from here, how I’m supposed to get to the boarding school my uncle is headmaster of, so I turn to ask Philip if Uber is even a thing up here. But before I can get a word out, someone steps from behind one of the pickup trucks in the lot and rushes straight toward me.

I think it’s my cousin, Macy, but it’s hard to tell, considering she’s covered from head to toe in protective weather gear.

“You’re here!” the moving pile of scarves and jackets says, and I was right–it’s definitely Macy.

Macy is described as being sixteen-years-old and eight inches taller than Grace, who we learn is seventeen. Right away, this book has something Twilight did not. It has two female characters in a scene and one of them isn’t thinking about how much better she is than everyone else. Bella came off that way a lot of the time, and Grace does here, just for a second:

“I’m here,” I agree dryly, wondering if it’s too late to reconsider foster care. Or emancipation. Any living situation in San Diego has got to be better than living in a town whose airport consists of one runway and a tiny parking lot.

So, there are two things that could have been fixed here, right? One of these things is that her thoughts about foster care or emancipation seem at first to be in reference to the presence of her cousin. It hits as a very, ugh, this girl is talking to me, moment until she follows it up with her complaint about the town. It took my brain a second to catch up that she wasn’t being bitchy about the fact that her cousin was happy to see her, she was thinking about how awful the place is. And you know what? That’s another place I feel Wolff has been set up by the publicity push with this book; because I’m expecting Twilight, I’m expecting the heroine to loathe all the other female characters.

The other thing I might have changed is that at this point, I’ve heard way too much about how small the airport is. It just doesn’t seem like something a teenager would fixate on the most. It feels more like someone buying a vacation rental and worrying about accessibility.

But that’s just a nitpick.

Macy tells Philip that her dad owes him a case of beer, and we learn that though Grace doesn’t really know Macy or Uncle Finn, they’re her only family left. Philip says that it wasn’t a big deal to pick up Grace, since he had to run errands, anyway.

He says it so casually, like hopping in a plane for a couple-hundred-mile round-trip journey is no big deal. Then again, out here where there’s nothing but mountains and snow in all directions, maybe it’s not. After all, according to Wikipedia, Healy has only one major road in and out of it, and in the winter sometimes even that gets closed down.

So, remember that movie 30 Days of Night? It’s about a group of vampires who take over a small, isolated town in Alaska during a month with no sunlight. At one point, the main vampire says something like, “Why didn’t we think of this before,” and I laughed so hard at it. Because it’s just so obvious. Of course, vampires would want to go to Alaska. Why isn’t every vampire story set in Alaska? It’s like, the perfect place for half the year. So, I’m quite tickled by the setting here, and the ominous foreshadowing on one road in, one road out, sometimes blocked.

Macy tells Grace that Uncle Finn couldn’t be at the airport due to an emergency at the school, but Grace doesn’t mind.

Besides, if I’ve learned anything in the month since my parents died, it’s just how little most things matter.

Who cares who picks me up as long as I get to the school?

Who cares where I live if it’s not going to be with my mom and dad?

Here’s another place where you can see the difference between a seasoned writer and a first time writer. One of the most common complaints about Twilight is that Bella comes off as a haughty brat. The reason she comes off that way is that she has a pretty shallow reason for going to Forks: her mother is moving in with her boyfriend, wants Bella to come along, but Bella decides to go live with her father, in a town she doesn’t want to be in, where she mopes about not wanting to be there for two books straight. Bella made her own choice to leave and made it the reader’s problem.

Here, Grace doesn’t have a choice. She has no parents. She has no other place to go. She’s suddenly alone in the world and she has nothing. Now, I’m not saying that Twilight needed to have Renee die to make the plot work. In fact, I think it would have made less sense (my take on Bella’s motivation to become a vampire is that it has less to do with undying love for Edward and more to do with the idea of being part of a functioning family but I won’t write that dissertation here, as I’ve already written it for SyFy Fangrrls). But what if it was Renee’s idea for Bella to go? Or, what if the theme of Bella being her mother’s stand-in mom was explored a little more thoroughly? The seeds were there, but when we read Crave, Grace has actually sprouted.

Macy warns Grace that if she needs to pee, she should do it before they leave on the ninety-minute drive to the school.

Ninety minutes? That doesn’t seem possible when the whole town looks like we could drive it in fifteen, maybe twenty minutes at the most. Then again, when we were flying over, I didn’t see any building remotely big enough to be a boarding school for close to four hundred teenagers, so maybe the school isn’t actually in Healy.

Again, because I’ve got Twilight on the brain, the high school in Forks had just a shade under four hundred students.

The reason it’s going to take so long to get to the school is that they’re not taking one of those pickups in the parking lot. They’re riding on a snowmobile.

Now, I’ll admit, this part bored the shit out of me. There are some little details that are nice, like Macy bringing Grace hot pink snow pants and a scarf because it was Grace’s favorite color when they were kids (this tells us that they haven’t seen each other in a long while), and Macy reassuring Grace that it’s okay if she doesn’t know everything about how to live in Alaska, yet, but mostly it’s a description of Grace not knowing how to work a scarf, then an explanation of what snowmobile helmets do. I’m not going to lay a blanket, “This is bad writing!” on it, because I’m not sure that I, a Michigander, can accurately judge the level of detail needed in a snowmobile ride preparation scene when compared to, say, what someone from San Antonio might need explained to them.

Macy wraps an arm around my shoulders and squeezes tight. “Alaska is a lot. Everyone who comes here has a learning curve. You’ll figure it all out soon enough.”

I’m not holding my breath on that one–I can’t imagine that this cold, foreign place will ever feel familiar to me–but I don’t say anything. not when Macy has already done so much to try and make me feel welcome.

“I’m really sorry you had to come here, Grace,” she continues after a second. “I mean, I’m really excited that you’re here. I just wish it wasn’t because…” Her voice drifts off before she finishes the sentence. But I’m used to that by now. After weeks of having my friends and teachers tiptoe around me, I’ve learned that no one wants to say the words.

Here again, the mark of an author who knows what she’s doing. So often, we’re reading protagonists in Jealous Haters Book Club who are so consumed by their own lives and drama that they don’t care how they’re treating other people. Here, we have the heroine going, you know, my life sucks right now, I hate where I am, everything is awkward and terrible, but I recognize that it’s not easy for other people to face my grief, either, and none of this situation is Macy’s fault, so I’m not going to lash out at her.

There aren’t many Jealous Haters Book Club characters we can apply that to. So, maybe these recaps are going to be a hell of a lot easier than books of days past.

The chapter ends with them racing off on the snowmobile and Jenny wiping the sweat of relief from her brow because she’s actually recapping a book that might not increase her risk of stroke.

Did you enjoy this post?

Trout Nation content is always free, but you can help keep things going by making a small donation via Ko-fi!

Or, consider becoming a Patreon patron!

Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!

53 Comments

  1. New Fan
    New Fan

    Welcome Back!
    I’m writing this only after having read your intro. I’ve strapped on my boots and am super excited to hit the trail with you.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
  2. Laina
    Laina

    Huh! I’m surprised by this one. It kind of seems like the author wrote a decent book and then… got completely screwed over by her publisher’s Twilight obsession.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
  3. many bells down
    many bells down

    I remember at the height of Twilight-mania publishers redid EVERY BOOK COVER they could in that style. I saw a copy of “Jane Eyre” with the white-rose-and-ribbon-on-black and “Love Never Dies” splashed across it. I feel for whatever kids picked that up and couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any vampires.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      Oh, there are vampires, alright, (One is even named Edward) they just don’t sparkle in the sun or melt panties on sight.

      What might have confused them was Jane’s refusal to swallow *her* Edward’s crap.

      May 28, 2020
      |Reply
  4. Ilex
    Ilex

    I only just heard of this book a few weeks ago, with it coming out of the blue as “vampires are back!” Speaking as someone who tried querying a vampire novel a couple of years ago only to realize that vampires were in no way coming back in, this caught my eye. (Granted that my take on vampires was that you in no way want to be one … maybe only sexy vampire romances are back.)

    The story in this as presented in the Goodreads blurb doesn’t really sound like my thing, but I’m very excited to read your recaps, Jenny. This way I get to find out all about it without having to read it! Awesome first installment.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
  5. Adam Carr
    Adam Carr

    30 Days of Nights! While I do like the premise of that movie, it always annoyed me that the vampires spend ages setting themselves up to invade the town… and then kill everyone except the main characters within moments of being there.
    Why did they even bother hanging around for the next 29 days? Realistically, this movie would have consisted of several vampires dossing around the town, looking for anything to do and wondering why they didn’t save their food for the week.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      I’ve only read the graphic novel, not seen the film. The GN is kind of short.

      May 30, 2020
      |Reply
  6. Ah, the eternal question… will we ever know what the fuck is going down with the Alexa Riley thing?

    Or will Liz Pelletier continue to pretend it never happened lalala she can’t hear you?

    True story; in my own tiny moment of protest, I elected NOT to enter my unpublished urban fantasy in RWAustralia’s Sapphire award this year because LP is the final judge. And I said so publicly on the RWAus FB board, and ALSO said that I didn’t think it was appropriate that a publisher should be the final judge bc she would be biased towards the kind of books her company would want to publish. Quite a lot of people agreed with me, so fingers crossed it won’t happen next year.

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      You are awesome, Caitlyn 🙂

      May 26, 2020
      |Reply
  7. Tami
    Tami

    You know what would be cool?

    Is if Grace is from a family of vampires and that this is where they’re from (because, as you said, “30 Days of Nights”), and her parents were killed because they were vampires who got cocky thinking they could make it in sunny SoCal…

    May 25, 2020
    |Reply
    • Eclairmaiden
      Eclairmaiden

      That would be brilliant!

      May 26, 2020
      |Reply
  8. Tez Miller
    Tez Miller

    she does not like “controversial” authors

    Yet she signed that mega-deal with Alexa Riley, and it never eventuated, and no one involved spoke of it ever again.

    masterminded by the woman who thought signing Alexa Riley was a great idea. What could go wrong?

    *insert laugh emoji*

    Is it rare for a book to have two editors at a publisher credited with working on it? I mean, two at the same time. (As opposed to manuscripts that started off with one editor, then that editor left the publisher, so it was passed to a different editor.)

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • E.
      E.

      Who is Alexa Riley? I never heard of her??

      June 3, 2020
      |Reply
  9. Avery Knight
    Avery Knight

    I’m honestly really looking forward to learning from a book that’s well-written for a change. The bad ones are definitely instructive and provide more laughs, but a chance to appreciate some good storycraft is a refreshing change.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • LT
      LT

      Agreed- I love the commentary on craft either way, but it’s a fun switch-up to hear positive things!

      June 16, 2020
      |Reply
  10. AdAstra
    AdAstra

    Hope things will get better for you soon, Jenny.
    This post reminded me of a fantastic movie about vampires, in case you have not come across it, called “What we do in the shadows”. So good and funny, definitely worth watching 🙂

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      It’s by Taika Waititi, the guy behind Thor Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit!

      May 30, 2020
      |Reply
      • Coco
        Coco

        If you like those you should check out Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s wonderful and also directed by Taika Waititi.

        June 12, 2020
        |Reply
  11. Maggie
    Maggie

    So far it’s quite interesting! Beautiful Disaster (or whatever it was called) was fun to dunk on but also really fucking boring and also so many of its flaws were the exact same shit JHBC has dealt with so many times already. Even with your commentary reading some recaps was such a slog. I’m excited to see how this one will turn out.
    Oh, and I love these writing tips and all the advice you give! It’s so helpful in improving my own writing

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  12. Sara Thompson
    Sara Thompson

    This book doesn’t sound like the shitshow I love to hate on….

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  13. Anon
    Anon

    I know it’s probably true that everyone in Alaska drives a pickup, when I read that, all I could think about was how terrible they are for driving in icy conditions …

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  14. I’ve read the first few chapters, and the ‘Twilight’ similarities actually struck me as *lampshading* ‘Twilight’ rather than ripping it off.

    Both books start with the protagonist about to get on a plane and move to a new place to live with someone new, and unhappy with events. But, in Grace’s case, the unhappiness is 1000% justified; she’s just lived through a massive tragedy, she’ll never see her parents again, and she’s leaving her home for good. Even with all this, she’s still trying to deal with her unhappiness and not just vomit it over everyone/whine about everything. Bella, OTOH… all she does is whine about having to move to a small town where it rains a lot, OH NOES, HER LIFE IS OVER.

    Of course, the parallels could be a total coincidence; I might be reading too much into it because of being primed with the whole ‘it’s feminist Twilight’ thing. But if this is a nod to ‘Twilight’, I think this author’s done a great job of subtly highlighting just how whiny Bella’s being, with an opener that’s effectively ‘Here is what an *actual* tragedy looks like, and here is what dealing with it with some style and character looks like.’

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • JaneEyre
      JaneEyre

      I agree and in Grace’s case I wouldn’t hold it against her if she DID lash out at people or was annoyed with them and wanted to just be left alone. Grief does things to you.
      Also, this heroine will have a reason to be withdrawn when it comes to her new schoolmates.. If the author follows that route that is. I mean grief and mourning tend to make one less sociable and not too keen on making new trends and socializing.

      May 26, 2020
      |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      Excuse the shittily formatted essay.

      I’m glad you brought that up.

      Bella’s motives for moving to Forks have been analyzed and critiqued to death but, I want to run this by you and see what you and others think.

      I kept waiting for Bella to explain why she wouldn’t have been welcome.

      how did Phil *actually* feel about her.

      Was he resentful of what little time his wife devoted to the product of a past relationship?

      Did he creep Bella out?

      Did he try to play the disciplinarian?

      Did Renee either tacitly suggest or explicitly state that Bella’s presence was going to cramp their style?

      Also, I actually read Bella’s rationale as a kind of antifeminist dig at
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW7Op86ox9g

      Divorce! Errant women! Second marriages! Blended families! Women whose worlds aren’t child shaped 24/7! Fickle women who leave their husbands/kids’ fathers without a housekeeper/cook/performer of other wifely duties!

      I think Bella is supposed to emblemize the ideal woman, the self-sacrificing people pleaser who lives for others, as any *good* woman should do.

      She’s going to give Phil total access to his wife and give Charlie the kind of helpmate he’s been missing all this time.

      Meyer develops the “good woman” to its fullest by the end.

      Cut to Breaking Dawn.

      She’ll endure the traditionally feminine wedding she never wanted for Alice’s and Charlie’s sake.

      It’s also worth noting that said wedding is Edward’s opportunity to make clear to every single one of Bella’s male admirers that she is taken, but I digress.

      She’s going to carry this baby if it kills her.

      Her vampirism(I know that there’s much more to this, but the “live for others” thing pops up here, too) makes it necessary for Rosalie to live the dream of motherhood.

      How many times does she hand the baby to Rosalie? How often is Rosalie charged with caring for the baby?

      TL; DR: Bella, like a lot of these heroines, is a paragraph in the argument against what many people feel that feminism has wrought, a generation of women and girls who’ve moved away from their primary jobs as homebound mothers and helpmates.

      May 28, 2020
      |Reply
  15. Also… art supplies and a drum kit? Whoa; Grace has already been given more in the way of hobbies in the first few pages than Bella was given in four books.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  16. *Also* also (damn, knew I’d forgotten something) I love the nod to Douglas Adams.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  17. Brandi
    Brandi

    This one sounds promising, but comparing it to Twilight really does make those little details stand out.

    As a kid whose stepdad worked construction and had to move every 6-9 months, Bella’s decision to stay with her dad actually made sense to me. High schools across the country are on all different kinds of schedules, and once I hit high school, moving really screwed with my credits.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • Raven
      Raven

      I thought Bella’s step-dad was a professional baseball player?

      June 1, 2020
      |Reply
      • Brandi
        Brandi

        He was, but if I remember correctly, that was part of the problem; she was going to have to move around, or her mom was wanting to hit the road with him.

        June 2, 2020
        |Reply
  18. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    This book does indeed sound promising. It’s kind of weird, right, doing JHBC with a halfway decent book? Then again, didn’t The Mister also start out not completely awful? And we all know how quickly that changed, lol.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • Karen Skedgell-Ghiban
      Karen Skedgell-Ghiban

      At least it was to be expected, considering who the author is.

      May 26, 2020
      |Reply
      • Bookjunk
        Bookjunk

        True. 🙂

        May 27, 2020
        |Reply
  19. Karen Skedgell-Ghiban
    Karen Skedgell-Ghiban

    I’m glad Jenny has decided to do recaps on this. As I was looking for comp books for my own vampire novel to send to agents, I came across this one. When I saw the cover, I thought this looks like a new Twilight book, or one wanting to be a Twilight book. Read the blurb for it and sure enough. That connection to Twilight was enough to turn me away because I’ve read Twilight and I didn’t want to read a Twilight wannabe. I wasn’t very taken with Twilight to begin with. But now I get to read it vicariously through Jenny’s recaps.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  20. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Actually, the author’s aviation-related research is pretty bad.

    The ‘Tiniest puddle jumper in existence’ (a 2-seat Piper Cub or Cessna 150) wouldn’t be able to carry her and her 3 suitcases.

    Healy airport (FAA ID: HRR) is 2910 feet long by 60 feet wide (HUGE in AK airport terms) and actually sells both aviation 100 octane gasoline and jet fuel from (gosh!) an office in the building that aviators call an ‘FBO’ (Fixed Base Operator). This airport is so advanced it actually has two instrument approaches that allows a pilot to fly in the clouds solely on reference to instruments when arriving at the airport, and also has an “Obstacle Departure Procedure” (ODP) when departing in same-said low visibility (cloudy) conditions to safely guide the pilot away from terrain and obstacles during takeoff/departure when they can’t, you know see them by looking out the window. You know, so you don’t run into what we pilots call the “cumulo-granite”

    Yup, it’s not a big airport, as only 10 aircraft are based there (8 single-engine, 2 multi-engine), but what’s with the comparison to San Diego? That town is pretty much paved and covered in housing from the Mexico border all the way up through Los Angeles to points northward to Santa Barbara (if you don’t count the gap from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton that’s sitting on some very nice and expensive real estate halfway between San Diego and Orange County) and of the 18 airports in the region from MCAS Pendleton to the border, 8 are the size of Healey or smaller and 6 of those are privately owned.

    So, dude, when it’s dark outside and you have to run for your life when you can’t see the terrain around you in the clouds at night, maybe an airplane with only 2 seats with the proper instrumentation and a pilot who knows how to use it may save your ass.

    Or is this the kind of person who moves in next to an airport that was built there before she was born and then complains about airport noise?

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
    • @MyDogsPA: The ‘tiniest puddle-jumper in existence’ line comes from the protagonist, and from the context it’s pretty clearly hyperbole; she’s already in a very strung-out emotional state, for good reasons, and now she’s looking at a tiny plane and having a reaction of ohmygod is it even safe to fly on that? I think it’s perfectly fair *not* to read that line as meaning that either Grace or the author has actually checked the matter and confirmed that this is literally the smallest plane in the world. It’s being used as a figure of speech.

      May 27, 2020
      |Reply
  21. WuBomei
    WuBomei

    I would like to protest that my hometown has only 500 year round residents, and people mainly fly in the winter, and our airport is a runway, a parking lot, AND a small building.

    I assume if you’re sending your child to a boarding school in the Alaskan wilderness, that child has tried to murder you.

    May 26, 2020
    |Reply
  22. Tez Miller
    Tez Miller

    https://entangledpublishing.com/author/tracy-wolff

    “she writes contemporary romance and erotic romance as Tracy Wolff, paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Tessa Adams and young adult novels as Tracy Deebs”

    I was reading reviews on Goodreads, and someone mentioned they were wary of this because they didn’t like the books published under the Deebs name.

    Not necessarily a bad sign. There are authors where I’ll read one of their pseudonyms, but not another. Still, if I know I’ve liked an author’s work before, I’m more likely to at least try their work under a different pseudonym.

    Yes, authors – I play favourites. I prefer some parts of you over other parts of you 😉

    May 27, 2020
    |Reply
  23. I need you to team up with Jenny Nicholson. You two, on a podcast just talking about mediocre media…

    May 28, 2020
    |Reply
  24. Anon
    Anon

    So, I checked out the blurb and got a “decidedly” “cold, dead heart thawed by and for the love of a good woman “vibe.

    That said, I found the absence of the phrase “protect her” quite refreshing.

    Still, I’ll let you vet this one for me before I plunk down any money.

    Thanks in advance.

    May 28, 2020
    |Reply
  25. Sera
    Sera

    I, for one, am glad that you mentioned your beef with Pelletier. I’m currently shopping around an LGBT fantasy romance, and I had considered Entangled. But seeing your post, I Googled Pelletier, and you know what? She sounds like a real jerk and definitely not someone I would work well with. So thank you for that.

    May 28, 2020
    |Reply
  26. Al
    Al

    Who’s even the target audience supposed to be for “the next Twilight”? The youngest Twilight fans were maybe 11 or 12 when the first book came out; they’re at least 23 now. Today’s middle schoolers probably won’t be interested in “The book your English teacher was super into when she was your age!” I mean tumblr saw a Twilight renaissance recently, but if anything, those people seem more interested in something rolicking that doesn’t take itself too seriously and acknowledges the ridiculous aspects of its premise while still having awesome interesting characters whose cool backstories are fully explored.

    May 29, 2020
    |Reply
  27. Anon
    Anon

    I’m one of the few people who might, might be interested in this one, if only to see what an honest to goodness feminist rofantasy looks like.

    Still, you’re absolutely right that Meyer’s coattails have, for the most part, been ridden to shreds.

    Even knowing this, I hope that it catches on, if only to keep the kiddies out of PatChedward Maddox FraseRoarke’s controlling, abusive and misogynistic clutches.

    May 29, 2020
    |Reply
  28. Holly
    Holly

    Wait, what’s going on with Alexa Riley?

    May 29, 2020
    |Reply
  29. Carla
    Carla

    This was such a fun read, it will be a nice change of pace having a JHBC with an experienced author! Having good writing pointed out is nice and positive and feels like what we need at the moment. I think I’m going to actually buy this book and read along, I love an orphan going to boarding school story. Also as someone who lives in Australia and has seen snow maybe five times in my life I’m really interested to read about living in a place like Alaska.

    June 7, 2020
    |Reply
  30. Coco
    Coco

    I am not a writer, in any way, so I love reading your recaps because you always have so many interesting points and facts that wont have ever crossed my mind. I’m also really enjoying the more positive vibe of this one, although I’m a huge fan of the way you rip apart the terrible ones! Still, it feels nice to be pleasantly surprised!

    June 12, 2020
    |Reply
  31. Kate
    Kate

    I like vampires,but not vampire romance, so I doubt I’d like this book well written or not, but I am looking forward to this jealous haters book club. Now if this was a vampire romance involving two boys then I might be interested in reading a vampire romance.

    June 18, 2020
    |Reply
  32. Rose
    Rose

    I read your post 1st and then the book. It did such a disservice to market as the next twilight. I think Crave was very self aware that it had all these other ya vampire books to live up to but I really enjoyed this book. I even started comparing it to Marked which thankfully ended pretty fast because Crave was much better. This isn’t my normal book but I enjoyed the fluffiness and it was good enough I’ll look up the sequel when it comes out.

    June 22, 2020
    |Reply
  33. Martina
    Martina

    Really enjoying this slightly more positive version of JHBC! Hopefully the book continues to not disappoint.

    June 23, 2020
    |Reply

Leave a Reply to Sara Thompson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.