Need – Carrie Jones

ISBN – 978 1 4088 0740 8
Publisher – Bloomsbury
First Published – 2009
Pages – 306

Zara White suspects a freaky guy is stalking her. She memorizes phobias and chants them when she’s nervous. OK, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But moving to a freezing Maine town to stay with her grandmother is supposed to be the perfect fix –  so her mum says.

Except, this plan of sending Zara away to help her stay sane? Yeah, not working. Turns out the stalker is not a figment of Zara’s imagination. He’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs are pointing to Zara.

‘Need’, though it followed the conventions of many paranormal YA novels, was able to find its own little niche through its substantial character and obvious mannerisms (if a book can indeed have mannerisms). :)
Our review for the second book, ‘Captivate’, can be found here.
Before I continue, is anyone else absolutely in love with this cover? The golden lipstick looks so lovely! I want some.

Need follows the tale of Zara White (who has an awesome name) after her stepfather dies. She is sent by her mother to live in a tiny town in Maine (Sidenote: which I am visiting at the end of this year, so I was totally lapping up the descriptions in the book. It sounded very pretty, as I love log cottages and woods, but I’m not too sure about the snow…Anyway, back to the point,) with her rather spritely grandmother. She is instantly enrolled in the local highschool so she can ‘get back into the swing of things’. However, complications seem to arise when the man who Zara is convinced was following her back home, turns up here in Maine too. The paranormal aspect of the book(minor spoiler alert) is explored when the characters begin to think that Zara’s stalker is a pixie. More on this later…

I really liked the character of Zara, in fact, about ten pages in I was sure that she was going to be a memorable protagonist. And rightly so. I loved the way that Zara listed her phobias when she was afraid – and I learnt a tonne of new phobias on the way – making me laugh out loud several times. I also loved the way that Zara was so concerned for others and how the author included her obsession with helping out Amnesty International – something I’ve noticed a lot of books overlook is current world crises, and I think that amidst the other dramatic events of the novel, ‘Need’ still included a little bit of the big picture which added an element of realism to the book.
Zara’s grandmother Betty was also lovely to read about and I loved her humour and good nature.

I occasionally found the plot of ‘Need’ a little fuzzy, and at times I felt like I had skipped a few sentences because I was at a loss as to what was going on and this did detract from my overall opinion of the book. I also felt that some aspects of the book, such as the need weren’t all together well enough explained and I thought that perhaps Jones would have gone into a little more background detail about them. Nonetheless, I didn’t mind the storyline overall.

I felt that the background characters, like Issy and Devyn, were a little bit two-dimensional and really needed a bit more page time. They just seemed like background noise sometimes, and I really wanted to get to know them and their unique personalities a little better. I also felt that the character of Megan was pretty cliché, though her motives for acting as the ‘popular I-hate-the-protagonist’ not so much.

The mystery surrounding the male leads of Nick and Ian was a little easy to guess (Jones dropped quite a few hits in that department, perhaps a few too many) but I didn’t mind all that much in this case. I mean, it’s pretty hard to please me in the plot-guessing aspect of novels anyway.
There is of course a romance aspect to ‘Need’ (OK, so what paranormal novel doesn’t have one these days?) which was  a little quick to arise, though it was a short novel so I guess it had to happen pretty fast. I have read several reviews comparing the novel to Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’, though I really wouldn’t put it in that category at all other than to say that they are both paranormal romance.

The book picked up in terms of pace in the second half of the novel, and although the plot was a little predictable, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
Now, back to the pixies I mentioned earlier, I really liked the way that Jones differentiated pixies from the fairies we are used to. They weren’t nice, they weren’t at all loveable, and they were a little bit scary. Definitely one of the up-sides to the novel, though I really really really wanted to know more about them – there just wasn’t enough information! Hopefully that will be explored in the second (and future) books in the series.

Overall, the book was interesting, but not all together ‘new’ in terms of the way it was set out. It had the same structure as most paranormal books these days do, and it was quite easy to guess what was going on. Sometimes it was confusing, but the good characterization of the protagonist Zara made up for that in part. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Maine and the creepy feeling that they gave off, which especially suited the tone of the novel.
‘Need’ was an interesting read that I did finish in two nights, so it wasn’t a long book, and I would recommend it for anyone who liked Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ (our review here) and anyone with an interest in paranormal, romance or something a little bit scarier than your stock novel from these genres.

The second book in the series is called ‘Captivate’ and it is released in the US (as of January 2010), but not yet in Australia. Jones has confirmed that there are at least two more books planned for the series (which I’m hoping are going to explore the other paranormal creature mentioned as well as go a little more in-depth with the story line). You can read more about the series here, at the official website.

Rating (out of 5):

– Sas

“”Pixiophobia: a fear of Pixies.
I made this up, but believe me it should be a word because it sure is a legitimate fear.””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge