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Jealous Haters Book Club: Crave chapter 15, “So Hell Actually Can Freeze Over”

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This chapter did two things. One, it bored the shit out of me. Two, it made me more suspicious of something I was suspicious of before. Let’s get into it, as Doja might say, yuh. But keep in mind, this is going to be an intensely short recap due to the length of the chapter and the not much that happens in it. It’s basically all filler until the last page.

Flint has just given Grace a kiss on the cheek and left her dorm room, and Macy is super excited about it. But Grace is like, eh, he was just being friendly. Macy says that she’s never seen him display friendship that way, and not toward her, and Grace is like, maybe he’s afraid your boyfriend will beat him up.

Despite her words, there’s something in her tone that has me narrowing my eyes. “Wait. Do you have a crush on Flint for real?

“Of course I don’t. I love Cam.” She avoids looking me in the eye as she grabs some product.

“Yeah, because that’s real convincing.” I roll my eyes. “Look, if you want to be with Flint, shouldn’t you just break up with Cam and go for it?”

Macy says she used to have a crush on Flint in ninth grade, but it doesn’t matter because they can’t date. Why?

“The different groups. They don’t mix much.”

Grace mentions that she picked up on that, but she’s like, that doesn’t mean you can’t date someone from a different group, right? And Macy gives her a non-answer about how she doesn’t like Flint. Macy tries again to explain without explaining why she and Flint can never be, but Uncle Finn stops by and interrupts them. He wants to know if Grace is doing any better, and he puts his hand on her forehead.

I start to crack a joke about altitude sickness not being a virus, but as he follows the hand on my forehead with a kiss to the top of my head, I get choked up. Because right now, with his eyebrows furrowed and his mouth curled into a frown that only makes his dimples more apparent, Uncle Finn looks so much like my dad that it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to cry.

Once again, bravo to the author for this little detail. I know I mentioned this before, but I love, love, love that Grace is grieving her parents in moments where it’s not just for the drama of it all. It’s realistic. It’s not like a ton of traumatic flashbacks to raise the stakes in an action scene, or to excuse shitty behavior toward others. She’s just constantly grieving. So many YA/NA books only bother with the main character’s crushing, all-consuming grief when it’s convenient.

Finn and Macy both think that Grace should put off starting classes for one more day to recover. I think that’s a good idea, too, because what kind of classes do they teach in Katmere Academy, and how can the author possibly sustain the “Grace is at monster school but hasn’t figured it out yet” plotline if the protagonist rolls up into a class that’s like, “Haunting 101” or whatever is happening there?

Grace stays in the dorm room trying to watch Netflix and eat peanut butter crackers, but she’s restless and notes that she feels “trapped.” She tries to text her friend back home, but it’s during the school day.

Nothing else I try sticks, either, so finally I decide to just go for it. Maybe a walk around the Alaskan wilderness is exactly what I need to clear my head.

So, Grace gets up and gets dressed for the outdoors, with some help from the internet. And then for two pages, she gets dressed. Not a typo. Two pages of whether or not to wear a second jacket or a fleece, what items she’s putting on in which order, and all of it absolutely smacks of page-filling.

I’ve mentioned before that the length of the chapters and the presence of chapter titles suggests this might have been intended for serialization, and this chapter really pings my serial radar because nothing happens until the very end. Sure, Grace has that characterization moment and there’s a hint of the standard PNR race division hinted at by Macy, but in terms of the story moving forward? That doesn’t happen until the very last page. And honestly? I don’t think it counts. It’s just a hook and the story will move forward in the next chapter.

That’s not to put down serial writers. I should make that clear. I write serialized fiction. But occasionally you do run across someone who isn’t writing a cohesive story so much as a pattern of hooks.

Which is why I’m going to skim over so, so much of the rest of the chapter, as it’s largely just Grace walking past things and noticing them. She goes out into the school and notices that there aren’t many people there because they’re all in class. She goes outside and notices that being cold sucks. Then she walks around a bit and notices that moving makes you warmer. She notices that the grounds are sloped because they’re on the side of a mountain, and that there aren’t many plants. And she’s interested in the snow:

Curious about what it feels like—but not ridiculous enough to take off my gloves—I bend down and scoop up a handful of snow, then it let it slip through my fingers just to see how it falls. When my hand is empty, I bend down and scoop up some more, then do what Flint said earlier and pat it into a ball.

She practices throwing snowballs at a weird tree:

But as I walk closer to the tree, I realize I’ve never seen anything like its dark, twisted roots. Huge and gray and gnarled together in a chaotic mess that looks like something out of a really bad nightmare, they all but scream for passersby to beware. Add in the broken branches and ripped-up bark off the trunk and the thing looks like it belongs in the middle of a horror movie instead of Katmere’s otherwise pristine campus.

Every magic school needs its Whomping Willow, I guess.

Grace decides not to go down the path the tree is next to, and we arrive at Forks High School. That’s right: Katmere Academy is a big, giant castle, but all the classes are, for some reason, held in satellite buildings, just like in Twilight.

From Twilight:

It looked like a collection of matching houses, built with maroon-colored bricks.

From Crave:

Besides, each cottage—and they do look like cottages—has a sign in front of it that names the building and says what it’s used for.

Now, when I first read Twilight, I thought it was silly to write a high school built like that in a book set in the Pacific Northwest, but turns out, it was based on an actual school. Katmere is completely made up.

What’s the excuse here?

There is already a perfectly good, perfectly gigantic castle. We’ve heard all about how cold it gets outside. Grace had to google how to dress so she wouldn’t die. What is the purpose of this?

Even Grace thinks it’s nonsense:

I’m actually a little concerned about having too many classes out here, because what am I supposed to do? Run back to my room and get all these clothes on in between classes?

Exactly. There’s no reason for the school to be this way, beyond “because Twilight.”

It should come as a shock to no one at all that Entangled has published a noted Twilight copy-cat that failed to get a movie off the ground. It was an open industry secret that the editor of this book was at one point obsessed with having “the next Twilight” and breathlessly described this book as Twilight, but make it feminist, as part of the marketing packet. All I can imagine is this big whiteboard at Entangled HQ with a bunch of elements from Twilight on it. Most of them are crossed out, as they have nearly reached the end of the list of things that made the book a huge success. Down at the bottom, “school is in different buildings????” is circled desperately. They know they’re running out of chances. They know they’ll find the magic bullet, eventually.

Oh, the buildings are named with Native words. I guess since Native werewolves was racist, the houses are the werewolves. They turn into warehouses under the full moon. But Grace is excited to learn about the languages each word comes from. Remember how Alaskan Native languages are like, this bizarre niche passion of hers?

There’s yet another trail on the grounds that Grace sees.

A weird sense that I should turn around settles across my shoulders—kind of like what I felt at the library last night—and I pause for a second.

That’s a detail I wanted to highlight: she’s feeling the same feeling from the library. Keep that in the back of your mind.

There’s also a horrible, horrible nod to Fifty Shades of Grey, in which Grace worries that she might turn into a “Grace-flavored Popsicle,” and I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You absolutely cannot, for any reason, tell me that this wasn’t an intentional callback to Fifty. You can’t. I mean, you can, but we’re gonna fight about it. That is one of the most famously roasted lines in that series. No one would write that by accident, not think of Fifty Shades, and then not immediately delete the fucker.

But yeah, she keeps walking, there’s more about the direction she’s going in and where she is on the grounds, but frankly, all the wording is so similar that I don’t know or care where the fuck we are. Oh, there’s a path? There’s a trail? You’re cold? I didn’t get that from the other paths and trails and cold.

At this point, it feels like Grace is just wandering around until the writer can put her where she needs to be to see the big reveal at the end of the chapter.

I head by a few more clumps of trees, a pond that is completely frozen over that I would love to ice skate on if I can manage to balance with all these clothes on, and a couple more small buildings.

Grace, who has never experienced cold or snow, is an ice skater, too. An ice skating, drum-playing, surfing linguist bookworm who dabbles in art.

Look, I’m not saying that people don’t have facets, okay? In fact, if I met a person and they only had one hobby or passion, I would find them pretty boring. But characters don’t need ten thousand hobbies. We’re only with them for a very short time. And they have to at least be believable. I find it incredibly unbelievable that a surfing, drum-playing California girl would have this specialized interest in the Native languages of Alaska.

I don’t even believe that with all of the paranoia Grace has about the cold weather, she would think about stepping onto a frozen-over pond. I think it was, again, just page-filler.

She’s walking, there are trees, trail, icicle, etc., she’s cold, there’s another pond, we needed to know literally every step of this walk, I guess. But good news! Grace has finally meandered around the grounds enough to find the chapter hook! It’s in a gazebo!

I take a couple of steps toward the gazebo, thinking I might sit down and rest for a minute, before I realize that it’s already occupied by Lia—and Jaxon.

The entire point of this chapter was this moment. There was a whole chapter just for this. We didn’t learn anything new that we couldn’t have learned in other scenes. We could hear about the snowball thing at the snowball fight Grace has been invited to. We could learn about the classroom buildings when she actually goes to class. All of this meandering description is just… here. For no reason.

Which, frankly, smacks of a really bad serial that the author is trying to stretch out for more money per chapter. Which always pisses me off because like, what’s the point of making extra work for yourself? Just move stuff around, if you want to have that as a chapter hook so bad. I have to do it all the time when I’m writing serials. “This would make a great hook. Shit, I don’t have room? What can I do here, instead?”


I’m disappointed because so far, the rest of the book has been engaging and well-written. This just like, veers off into a boring holding pattern that feels in no way connected to what we know about the character so far, only to set up what I’m assuming will be a romantic rivalry for the Grace/Jaxon pairing.

I’m still periodically checking in on the movie adaptation. Is it happening? I’ve done some googling and most of the results that come up are from 2020, when the rights first sold. In 2021, Wolff did an Instagram live and said the script was in development and filming was moving forward, but at this point the IMDB listing is totally blank. There haven’t been any further announcements from the studio and there aren’t any casting rumors or chatter, except from accounts on social media that are dedicated specifically to Crave. You don’t see BookTok and BookTube breathlessly waiting for this film and speculating about it.

I know it takes longer than a year or two to get a movie going, but I’m wondering if this will even happen, based on the relatively low success of YA adaptations these days. These books sold awesome but didn’t really stick in the zeitgeist the way books like Twilight and The Hunger Games did. Even big, big properties like A Court of Thorns and Roses (“That’s not YA! That’s epic high fantasy for mature adult audiences on par withThe Lord of The Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire!” No it isn’t, you’re fucking drunk) that have gotten picked up are going to streaming services. I think there were so many great YA books that got picked up for movies and then the movies sucked because the studios were trying to make them Twilight (Beautiful Creatures, for example) and made zero money at the box office. There are still YA movies here and there, but they’re mostly contemporary or “issues” films. Vampires and creatures are thin on the ground. I could see a movie like Crave going to a streaming service but I’m not holding out hope we’re going to see this on the big screen.

Which would be fine by me. We could do a watch party on Discord! But for that to happen, this book needs to get back to being the good book it started out being.

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  1. Ilex

    I just noticed this with this recap, but I hate when books have characters with overly similar names — Flint and Uncle Finn.

    December 3, 2022
  2. Stormy

    I was so disappointed by Beautiful Creatures. I picked it up after seeing the authors speak during a book festival and whatever book they thought they wrote was definitely not the book I read.

    December 3, 2022
    • Ilex

      Beautiful Creatures was a serious mess. I didn’t go see the movie because I didn’t see how anyone could make a coherent movie out of that book. I’m amazed to this day at how well that series did.

      December 4, 2022
  3. Separate buildings could work if they were connected by tunnels! Both of Ottawa’s universities have tunnels connecting various buildings. Montreal has an entire underground shopping complex. Both of those cities are further south than Alaska.

    Plus… tunnels are cool! Plenty of opportunities for spooky atmosphere, secret rooms, and private alcoves for making out.

    December 4, 2022
    • Al

      This is such an excellent point that if the classrooms aren’t connected by tunnels I will be SO disappointed.

      December 13, 2022
  4. Ilex

    Jenny, have you watched “Wednesday” yet? When Wednesday’s roommate described the cliques at Nevermore as “Fur, fangs, and fins” I immediately thought of your recaps of Crave.

    December 4, 2022
  5. Jules

    Wait, so the “hook” was just her seeing two people in a gazebo? LMAO. I was reading this recap waiting for the big shoe drop, like she sees a way too large wolf chowing down on a bloody corpse or like a bunch of classmates chanting in some creepy circle wearing black capes but it was… the very start of a love triangle?

    Even after you said she saw them I was waiting for something, anything else. Guess it’s in the next chapter? Yeah, this does feel like a serial set up.

    And only a sadist would build a school in Alaska that has separate buildings for the different classrooms. Unless they can magic their way around that is just messed up!

    December 5, 2022
  6. Jaycie

    I live in western Washington, and our town’s public high school is divided into five separate buildings fairly close together. I’d never seen a high school laid out like that before moving here. It’s kind of cool, actually, much more attractive than the ugly brick box I attended.

    December 7, 2022
  7. Maya

    I guess since Native werewolves was racist, the houses are the werewolves. They turn into warehouses under the full moon.

    As far as YA properties I think the market will stay as series for now. There’s Vampire Academy, Winx, School of Good and Evil etc that are for the same demographic. Maybe if this type of properties will have a lot of viewers in the future they’ll consider making high budget movies.

    December 8, 2022
    • Maya

      Wait it removed my emojis. 🙁

      December 8, 2022
  8. Al

    I wonder why YA film adaptations haven’t been that successful since Twilight… is it because this generation of kids doesn’t like to go to movie theaters? They prefer streaming things? Or is it just the quality of the films? I would imagine the appeal of midnight premiers and such should still hold, but maybe 2020 happening in your formative years has a lasting impact?

    December 13, 2022
  9. Al

    Going to make a case that ACOTAR isn’t YA; it’s NA. New Adult books *can* be popular with adolescents, but their target audience is college-aged people, and their protagonists tend to be 18-20 at the beginning of the first book. Rather than coming-of-age narratives, they tend to focus on what happens after the main character has already come of age or achieved a measure of independence. Feyre is 19 (right in the NA range) and doesn’t “come of age” in the books [because she doesn’t mature and instead just stays awful but shhh]; instead, she begins the novel as her family’s main breadwinner, with a lover and a degree of freedom YA protagonists don’t generally have. (The lover part is also atypical of YA but typical for NA — usually YA protagonists have their first time with their love interest). It does otherwise follow some YA plot beats (poor protagonist from a small town/village gets swept into a fantastical wider world where she has a role to play in some major conflict), but the coming-of-age process of learning and growing is absent. And there’s a focus on relationships, especially sexual ones, over the actual conflict; which makes this feel more NA than YA.

    At the very least, I don’t think it was *intended* as YA; it feels like Maas tried to write adult fantasy, but it ended up very popular with the YA crowd.

    December 14, 2022
    • Al

      By contrast, the Celaena books (look, I need to read things sometimes where I have zero investment in any of the characters, okay) have her start out as 16 in The Assassin’s Blade, and present more of a teen wish fulfillment with a love triangle and glorious prophecied destiny. There’s still some focus on relationships, but I don’t think even BookTok would call it spicy. And the protagonist starts Throne of Glass as a prisoner, which isn’t the typical reason for increased agency and independence in YA, but does fit that beat. That one was definitely intended for YA audiences.

      December 14, 2022
  10. Amanda S
    Amanda S

    I just had to remark on how delightfully clever the “warehouses” joke was! I gave my screen finger guns when I read it

    December 26, 2022

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