Crave (The Clann #1) — Melissa Darnell

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Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences…

Savanahh used to be best friends with the Clann kids, until fourth grade, when they all turned against her. She doesn’t know what made them suddenly hate her, but she moved on and made new friends, doing her best to ignore the bullying of the more vicious Clann kids. The only Clann member she can’t seem to ignore, though, is Tristan Coleman. But he hasn’t even acknowledged her existence since that fateful day in the fourth grade. That is, until Savannah gets mysteriously sick for the first time in her life and returns to school after five days decidedly…different.

Boys can no longer seem to control themselves around Savannah. One look from her and it’s almost as if they’re possessed, love-stricken to the extreme. Savannah can no longer trust that any boy has real feelings for her, which is infuriating as Tristan has finally deigned to talk to her for the first time in years. Is he under the same spell as every other guy or is something different about him?

Darnell puts a really unique and interesting twist on vampire and witch legends in Crave. For those looking for a new vampire series, you should definitely pick up the first book in The Clann series. It reminds me of Twilight, except infinitely better. Darnell tells the story through both Savannah’s and Tristan’s points of view, which is an excellent decision on her part as Savannah and Tristan keep so many secrets that it would impossible to understand each characters’ motivations without the viewpoint switch. It also makes you fall in love with Tristan long before Savannah even realizes how amazing he is.

Darnell puts a lot of effort into grounding Crave in reality. The beginning starts a little slow, but this is necessary as it lets us fully slip into Savannah’s life so that later on, we experience the shock and surprise of her family’s origins just as much as she does. The somewhat slow beginning also gives dimension to Tristan, as well as all of Savannah’s close friends. Unfortunately, her friends sort of fall out of the picture for the entire middle of the book, which seems odd to me. But Savannah does lead a busy life, what with juggling after-school activities, boyfriends, and new friends. Still, I wish we’d see glimpses of her old friends throughout.

There is a lot to this book. It’s long, jam-packed with intrigue and mystery. Darnell does a good job of evenly dispensing necessary information, like Savannah’s and Tristan’s back-story, the history behind Savannah’s relationship with her dad, what the Clann really is, and so much more. There are so many things that need to be explained and Darnell does so effortlessly, never bogging down the story or forcing the issues. And all the answers to the inevitable questions are innovative and fresh, making it impossible to stop reading.

While Darnell’s superior world-building and three-dimensional characters are commendable, the highlight of Crave is the romance between Savannah and Tristan. It’s just so perfectly done — almost every scene involving the two gives me butterflies. This is probably due to how real the two characters feel, like people you might bump into at your own school. And they have history, so their relationship doesn’t spring up out of thin air. It’s almost painful in how slowly it develops, but the anticipation is so, so worth it. This is a relationship that pays off until the very last page, but be prepared for a huge cliffhanger. But this is a cliff you’re going to want to hang off of, eagerly waiting for the second book in The Clann series.

Pages: 416
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: N/A
Rating [rating: 4.5]

Teaser Quote: “No, no time for guilt right now. I had to focus on passing this test, and then we could go home. Just one test to pass. A test I was genetically destined to fail.

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