Series: Crave book #1
Copy obtained: bought, ebook (Kindle)
Shay has had a rare blood disorder since she was born. In fact, her mother married one of Shay's doctors, Martin, who left his world-renowned leukemia research to try and figure out exactly what the disorder is and how to cure it. When she turns seventeen, Martin begins to give her new blood transfusions that make her feel the strongest she has ever felt. But she also has odd visions where she sees through the eyes of a vampire.
This is a book that goes straight to my heart. This is going to get personal for a little while and I make no apologies for it. When I was 11 I got sick with tonsillitis, 2 weeks later the infection was gone but I was still exhausted. I missed four straight months of my first year of high school, and after that I managed maybe half a day every couple weeks. I was constantly exhausted, not sleepy, but bone achingly tired. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think, I couldn't walk up the stairs without having to sit and rest before managing the last few feet to my bed. 10 months after getting sick I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (an incredibly dumb name if you ask me because it sounds so simple and fake, when this illness is anything but!) not that having a name to put to it helped any, because the doctors (if they even believed it a real condition, this was 11 years ago and some still don't) couldn't do anything but monitor me and suggest useless ideas to my parents. I still have CFS/ME now. So I spent my entire high school life as 'the sick girl', which is exactly what Shay is.
My condition isn't fatal, and Shay's is, but it doesn't matter. Her experience of life as a sick kid is pitch perfect to the point where reading this became painful for me because it hit way too close to home. Shay's experiences of how being the sick kid automatically ruled out from gym, getting 'special' treatment from teachers, how differently every kid treats her because of it, even how her mom treats her as a sick girl, never a normal one, and all the insecurities that go with it are depicted perfectly! It's unbearable to go through. I hated every moment I was stuck in high school, all I wanted was to be normal, as Shay does. Shay would do anything to be normal, and when her new blood transfusions start making her feel like she can do anything, take on the world, she starts pushing harder than ever and doing some pretty crazy stuff. Some people may find her attitude through that irritating, I found it completely perfect. When you don't know anything but sick, you don't take the strength, the good days, for granted, you do as much as you can, more than you should, and you don't apologise until way later for screwing up because dammit you need that normalcy!! And I love Shay for that. Her character is so real to me, I can identify with her very easily and I love her.
Aside from Shay and the realness surrounding her character, I loved the rest of this story! I really enjoyed getting to know Gabriel through Shay's 'visions' of him, and the way the vampire story has been flipped; the human girl needing blood for survival. There is some really good character development through the course of the book and I also loved the romantic sub plot. It was nicely developed, with a slightly reckless edge to it that I think fit Shay very well. A couple of the side characters feel a little flat at times, and sometimes I really wanted more explanation than was given, which did let it down a little over all, though not enough to stop me loving it.
Crave is quickly paced, running full force from almost the very start right up to the end, where you suddenly run face first in to a gigantic cliff hanger. I was literately saying 'no, no, no!!!' out loud and shaking my head, clicking through on my Kindle convinced there had to be more, that they couldn't possibly have left it there. Sadly, they had, though it took me several hours to come to terms with this!! And now September 2011 feels very far away as I wait for book 2, Arise. Crave isn't a very long read, but it's one I seriously loved! I read partially as an escape from my reality of being mostly home-bound, but this didn't really allow that and I liked the challenge of reading something that meshed my reality with the paranormal. Also, it's nice to see a sick girl getting to speak. I think I'd urge everyone to read it for that alone, as a glimpse in to what it's like for those of us who suffer daily.
Note: I read this book during the Out With a Bang Read-a-thon Dec 29th-31st 2010.