Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Cover: This cover is stunning. The pure white skin against the black backdrop and the silhouette of the tree limbs over the white skin fits this novels mood perfect. The snow white skin also allows the gold lips (which make perfect sense when you read the novel) jut out and the shape of those lips are flawless. This cover is beautiful.
First Sentence: "Everybody has fears, right?"
The Mini-Review: Filled with a fun cast of characters, a unique plot, a different type of paranormal monster and a whole lot of fun phobias, Need is one novel not to miss.
The Book Summary:
Zara White suspects a freaky guy is semi-stalking her. She memorizes phobias and chants them when she's nervous. And okay, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But moving to a shivery Maine town to stay with ehr grandmother is supposed to be the perfect fix--so her mom says.
Except, this new plan of getting away to help Zara stay sane? Yeah, not working. Turns out the semi-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.
I wasn't expecting a fun, refreshing novel to be set against a chilly Maine winter, but Need warms its way into your head and doesn't let go. Perhaps because I've heard little about it, Need surprised me with its interesting characters, its different take on fairies and the overall feeling I got while reading it.
I wasn't prepared to like Zara as much as I did but she felt real to me. Still in mourning from the loss of her step-dad (who was like her father) she is sent to a blistery small town in Maine to try to learn how to live again. I believed in Zara's sorrow and generally felt sorry for her. I thought she was a pretty well rounded main character who had genuine interests. The phobia obsessing was interesting and made for a unique read. I loved that phobias were stated for each chapter and mostly had something to do with what would follow. I also liked that she enjoyed to run and was an advocate for peace though I didn't really get her whole pacifist thing. Liking her made the story a much more enjoyable read.
However, I didn't understand where she got the whole dangerous vibe from Nick. She kept repeating that she shouldn't be with him because he's "dangerous" but I never felt he was dangerous. Every time he was in a scene, he was helping her and he had two good friends who told Zara he was a good guy so I never believed him to be scary or dangerous. I also knew what he (and several other characters) were but I wouldn't have expected Zara to figure this out. Overall, I like Nick as a male lead. His temper was a bit annoying and sometimes his anger felt a bit unbelievable, especially when it was in the middle of something really life threatening but I was mostly willing to overlook that.
Another thing worth mentioning is Zara can be a bit ignorant at times. I tend to dislike heroines that put themselves in danger even though they know they shouldn't and Zara does do this a few times. However, this is where her activism excuses her. She wants to help people, not let them be hurt. I get that. I think its dumb but I get it.
The plot of this story was really good. While I could guess some of the major things, several thing also surprised me and I was dying to know who the stranger who was falling her was and what he wanted. It was also creepy only seeing the dust trail he left behind and hearing his voice in the woods.
I loved the setting. It was "wicked" cool. I think this has a little to do with the fact that my late mother-in-law was from Maine (close to Bangor actually) so I liked seeing bits of her culture in this novel. The snowing setting also helped give the novel a darker feel. I can only describe this by saying that it described cold so well that I wanted to be snug in my bed after a hot shower while reading it and loved the parts where Zara was warm.
I also really liked the usage of 10 codes. Being a 911 dispatcher, I got a kick out of hearing the radio and knowing that Zara understood it too. I know this sounds silly but the fact that the codes were accurate and served a purpose made me very happy.
As fun as this novel was, it had its fair share of flaws. A huge one for me was the repetition of facts. I counted many times where almost the exact same sentence would appear several times throughout a few chapters. Also, her being sad for her father was repeated constantly almost as if Jones didn't trust the reader to remember. I think this wrinkle has more to do with this being Jones' debut and less with her a writer as a whole. I say this because Need was wonderful at using the simplest words to convey complex emotions. That's really hard to do.
Another flaw was how quickly Zara believes in the idea of pixies. I saw the author try to drag it out but anytime Zara thinks about it, it felt more like she was trying to talk herself out of believing in the idea rather than into believing the idea. This is key because I wanted to relate to Zara and it was hard to relate to someone who believed the outrageous so quickly. Another minor thing I had a problem with is Zara's two friends Devyn & Issie. Separate they were fine but I got super annoyed with how agreeable they were together and how "cute" Zara thought they were together. I just kept thinking "get a room".
While I'm not sure I describe this book as "Stephen King mixed with Stephanie Meyers" I would agree that it's truly Captivating and a generally wonderful story. With a great setting, a dark mood, fun characters and an interesting plot, Need is definitely one to check out. I know I'm happy I did!