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Feminism, Fantasy & Showing Young Adults Their Worth

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Tracy Wolff continues to combine feminism and fantasy when the latest from her young adult series Crave, Covet, hits shelves all over Austin.

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By Allie Justis, Photo courtesy of Tracy Wolff

Tracy Wolff, author of The New York Times bestselling supernatural book series Crave, premiers her newest book, Covet. The most recent entry is the third installment in a series that continues to raise the stakes for protagonist Grace Foster and friends. 

When promoting the book, Wolff says that her love for the paranormal and fantastical has always been deep-rooted. But her editor was the one who really gave her the push she needed to throw her hat into the supernatural fiction ring, saying that now was the time to bring vampires back. 

“I’m a big fantasy and paranormal fan, I love vampires and I always have,” says Wolff. “This series has kind of been branded as ‘feminist Twilight,’ and I love that. I love vampires, I love dragons, I love witches and I just couldn’t choose. So I incorporated them all into my books.”

Coming of Age

The series takes place at Katmere Academy, a boarding school in Alaska that the main character, Grace, now attends after the loss of her parents. There she finds a hidden world of high fantasy and political intrigue revolving around the vampire princes Jaxon and Hudson.

Wolff says that these books were meant to be the perfect coming-of-age story of young adults who love fantasy. She took initiative with her writing to make sure to have a relatable, vulnerable girl as her main protagonist. 

“I wanted a girl who could save herself even though she’s in a really difficult place in her life,” says Wolff. “She’s just lost her parents and she doesn’t feel like a badass. So I really wanted her to be able to grow throughout the course of the story and grow into her power. She’s the hero of her own story as well as a hero for the people around her. By saving them, she is saving herself too.”

Celebrating Differences

Another theme throughout this series is how Grace and her newfound friends celebrate their group’s differences and come together to save their world. This is an important lesson that Wolff hopes kids will take to heart when reading Covet

“We’re all the same at the end of the day,” says Wolff. “We all have dreams, we all have hopes, we all have pasts, we’re all people. I think that fantasy is a good way to explore issues like this in a controlled space and we can show how diversity is really something to be celebrated.” 

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Channeling Experiences

Wolff considers writing young adult fiction to be one of the biggest privileges of her life. Having a history as a college professor, she has channeled the experiences she’s had with young people into her writing, inspiring her to inspire her young readers to be heroes no matter who they are or where they’re at in their lives.

“Women can be heroines,” says Wolff. “We’ve all had issues that we’ve had to conquer. I just really wanted to show a heroine who, because of her strength of character, proves that she can be enough. So many young girls struggle with the question of, ‘Am I enough?’ So telling these girls that they are enough is a very important message for girls that I embedded into these books.”

Bigger World, Bigger Confidence

What sets Covet apart from the past two books in the Crave series is that everything has been taken to the next level. Whether it’s the stakes, the world building or the character development, Wolff says she pulled out all the stops to ensure this book rose to meet her fans’ expectations and blow them away. 

“This book is so much bigger than the ones before it,” says Wolff. “It’s a bigger world with bigger world building, and we really get into some of the deeper emotions of the characters. Grace came into her own in Crush. In Covet it’s a whole other level of that. She’s gained confidence and she found out that she could survive a lot. Not just the paranormal, but also things that hurt normal people. She got through it and survived it, and she comes into Covet stronger and is now more willing to believe in herself and who she is.”

You Are Enough

Wolff really drove home the final message she wants her readers to take to heart. 

“At the end of the day, I want girls to know they’re enough,” says Wolff. “They’re good enough, strong enough to thrive. The world breaks everyone. But if they can get back up and get stronger, then they can do anything.” 

“I’m a big fantasy and paranormal fan, I love vampires and I always have,” says Wolff. “This series has kind of been branded as ‘feminist Twilight,’ and I love that. I love vampires, I love dragons, I love witches and I just couldn’t choose. So I incorporated them all into my books.”

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