Cover of Crush, featuring a red gem geode with blood dripping down on it from the title, all on a white background

About the Book

Title: Crush (Crave #2)
Published: 2020

Cover Story: White Collection
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Paranormal AF
Bonus Factor: Guilty Pleasure
Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude
Anti-Bonus Factors: Love Triangle, Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting, Cliffhanger
Relationship Status: Let’s Meet (In Secret)

Red alert! Crush is the second book in the Crave series. If you have not read the first book in the series (Crave), man your battle stations turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you’re caught up, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: White Collection

Good try, cover designer, but this still looks awfully familiar.

The Deal: 

Grace Foster doesn’t know why everyone’s looking at her strangely—at least, more strangely than normal considering she’s the only human at Katmere Academy, a boarding school for witches, vampires, werewolves, and dragons. (She gets a lot of looks.) With each additional look, and the vibes she’s getting from her teachers, Grace gets more anxious; something’s obviously not right. 

When she’s finally filled it by her uncle Finn, Katmere’s headmaster, she’s relieved, but that might just be the shock of learning that she’s the first gargoyle to exist in a thousand years, and she’s been trapped in her stone form for nearly four months. Add in the fact that Hudson Vega, brother to Jaxon—her boyfriend/mate—and all-around-psychopath, is somehow stuck in her head, not dead but not exactly living, and Grace realizes the reprieve she thought she’d get after foiling Lia’s plan to bring Hudson back from the dead was merely a pause in the overly dramatic mess her life has become.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

As much as her swooning over Jaxon sometimes annoyed me—she is a teenager in the throes of first love, so I suppose I have to give her a bit of leeway–Grace is a cool young woman who I’d likely be friends with (or want to be friends with) were we the same age. She’s surprisingly level-headed and self-aware, and isn’t afraid to call people out on their bullshit, even when said people could easily kill her with their pinkies. She’s supremely loyal and will literally put her life on the line for her friends and family. She’s delightfully snarky, too. Absolutely worthy of a BFF charm.

Plus, girl is a gargoyle. As silly as it might sound taken out of context, it’s actually quite badass.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

While it’s nice to feel safe and protected in a relationship, especially when Grace once felt dangerously fragile around her schoolmates, it’s easy for some folks to too quickly pass into overly protective territory. Which Jaxon does a lot in Crush, and, regardless of how well-meaning he might be, Grace recognizes and begins to chafe at. Especially as she discovers her newfound gargoyle powers and strength. (But also because she’s got a good head on her shoulders and doesn’t need a man—mate or not—to treat her like a priceless vase, only good for looking at and too easily shattered to be handled.)

But Mandy, you say, why would you give that sort of relationship an 8 on the Swoonworthy Scale? That actually sounds kind of awful! I agree, Darling Reader. But trust me when I say there’s a situation in the book that had me grinning in enemistry, and that is where the 8 comes from.

Talky Talk: Paranormal AF

As I mentioned in my review of Crave, the writing in this series is unabashedly teen. These characters feel like real teenagers—even the centuries-old vampires who only look like teens and apparently mature really slowly—from their dialogue to their sometimes rash (and stupid) decisions. It’s obvious that Wolff does this on purpose, and delights in doing so. At one point early in the book, Grace thinks to herself: “I swear, if I were reading this story, I’d say the plot twists were getting ridiculous.” (And this is only on page 28 of this 684-page story.)

Bonus Factor: Guilty Pleasure

An open bag of sugar-covered gumdrops

There’s a nostalgic feeling to reading the Crave series that feels a little sinful, in a rich dessert sense. From the obvious Twilight Saga references to new shades of A Court of Thorns and Roses, there’s a lot to love about it, even when I was trying really hard not to Roger Murtaugh the whole thing. It took me a bit to get into Crush, but when I reached the end, I dove directly into the third book (Covet) and will probably find it hard to not just keep going through to the end. Without my realizing it, this has become a comfort series. (Team Husdon, 1000%.)

Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Edward from Twilight stares mysteriously while leaning on a car in the parking lot of Forks High School

You know when you have a crush on someone, and they seems totally perfect, but then you get to know them and they’re actually kind of lame? And maybe even a tad problematic? And as much as they give you butterflies and their kisses are more addictive than the most addictive drug, they’re not the right person for you? As much as they say they love you, they don’t actually see the real you? Or even want to?

Yeah …

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle

Jacob, Bella, and Edward from Twilight

I saw it coming from the very beginning. But it would be weird, given the other elements of this book, not to have a love triangle.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill

So many of the adults in this series are terrible (save Finn Foster; he’s a gem), but no one is worse than Cyrus and Delilah Vega, the King and Queen of the Vampire Court and parents (in nothing but the biological sense) to Jaxon and Hudson. Sweet Jeezy Pete am I looking forward to their eventual (assumed, totally on my part) demise. Hudson gets a little bit of sweet revenge in Crush, but not nearly enough to swing the pendulum fully in the proper direction.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger

A man dressed all in black (Sylvester Stallone) clings to a cliff face

I have a feeling this wil be recurring theme throughout this series. But, good news, the entire thing is published now, so there’s no necessity to wait months/year(s) for the next installment. (You just have to get through like 700 pages per book.)

Relationship Status: Let’s Meet (In Secret)

I don’t want to hide our relationship, Book, but I also am a bit hesitant to shout it from the rooftops. People say that keeping trysts secret can add spice to a relationship, and I’m willing to give that a go if you are! Just don’t expect me to bring you home for the holidays.

Literary Matchmaking

Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1)

Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing is another guilty pleasure with an MLD, spice, and a heavily leaning love triangle.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Mist and Fury is another second book that totally shifts the balance of power (and lust).

The Luminaries (The Luminaries #1)

Susan Dennard’s The Luminaries also features interesting paranormal creatures and a secret society of fantastical beings.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Entangled: Teen, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Crush is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.