Monday, January 05, 2009
Need by Carrie Jones
Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.
Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.
I sometimes wish I could do this: and leave it at that. Sometimes words are unneccesary when having to review a book so totally cool that you want to read it immediately after closing the covers.
Need by Carrie Jones started off 2009 for me at such a high level, when it comes to urban fantasy / young adult, I'm sort of despairing for the rest of the year. I truly hope everything else that comes way will be as good / better (if possible).
I fell in love with Zara and her grandmother - they have this gutsy amusing relationship of straight talking and honesty which I thoroughly loved. What I appreciated even more, is how unique the author portrayed Zara's grandmother - not at all a stay-at-home granny who does baking and cooking. Here you have a proper frontierswoman out there doing hard graft work in the ice and cold, looking after people and helping them. This should have been the first indication that things were going to be turned topsy turvy.
Zara is a breath of fresh air - she is level headed, funny, she collects phobias and sort of sees the world for what it is. She is also a strong campaigner for Human Rights and belongs to Amnesty International. She's also a good athlete and runner and as the new girl makes her mark on the new school by joining the cross country team. Naturally this brings her into conflict with one of the girls on the team who thinks she's hawter than anyone else. Zara frankly does not care because she has more than running and boys on her mind. She's dealing with her stepfather, the only father she's known, dying shortly after they finished a run together and with her mother completely breaking up because of it and sending her away. Her feelings are easy to dissect - guilt, betrayal, anger, frustration. Not healthy, in other words. She started running on empty after her stepfather's death and her mother thought she saw signs of suicide. So her mother sends her to Maine (yes, that Maine of Stephen King ilk) to somehow see if her grandmother can help her, bring her back to real life, to keep her safe.
The novel is well written with a deft touch and light hand, never letting Zara's emotional turmoil get too heavy to deal with. The pixie (I spluttered when I read this, immediately thinking girly flying things, but I was WRONG) who turns out to be stalking Zara (this is not a reveal, I swear) is always at the periphery of the story. Who is he, what does he want, why does he want Zara and why are kids disappearing when they go out after dark?
The cast of characters are kept very small so you keep track of everyone without a problem. The budding romance between Michael and Zara is sweet to watch and I love how witty they are with one another. Michael may be replacing Jacob in my book as teen boy hottie.
I'm not going to rave on more - all I would you to do is, give this book a chance - if you've not ever read anything remotely like this in the past, this is the book to turn you onto this genre. It is fresh, funny, well written, the characters are interesting and the plot is well executed with a twist in the end. Sadly I don't think Need is available here in the UK apart from Amazon and it's affiliates, but I'm hoping a UK publisher will pick this up because it will go down a storm.