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Carrie Jones – Need

January 13, 2010

2. Need by Carrie Jones (2009)
Need Series, book 1

Length: 306 pages
Genre: Teen Paranormal Romance

Started: 03 January 2010
Finished: 04 January 2010

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was sent the sequel, Captivate, by the publishers for review, and I hate reading things out of order.

There’s still pixie dust,
but these guys are way meaner
than Tinkerbell was.

Summary: Zara White hasn’t been the same since her dad (technically her stepdad) died of a heart attack a few months ago. She’s been isolated and severely depressed, and her mother sends her to live with her grandmother in a tiny town in Maine to hopefully snap her out of it. Zara hates Maine – it’s cold and bleak, her grandmother won’t let her be alone at night, and being the new kid in school is never easy. But Zara’s new school seems stranger than most. It seems like everyone’s hiding something, like everyone knows a secret that Zara doesn’t – even her new friends Issie and Devyn, and Nick, the intense – and intensely attractive – boy that Zara’s falling for. But what really worries her is the strange man… the one who’s been following her all the way from Charleston, the one who appears out of nowhere to point at her silently, the one who calls her name if she gets too close to the woods, the one she’s starting to think might not even be human…

Review: Does the literary world really need another Twilight-clone teen paranormal romance? No, probably not. But, on the other hand, does the average reader occasionally just need to kick back with something silly and fun that doesn’t make her think too hard (if at all)? Yes, I’d say that she does. And, on that scale, Need serves its purpose admirably well.

Need is not particularly original, even within its sub-genre. Almost all of the elements here are ones I’ve encountered before – the new girl in school set-up, shapeshifters, a King of the Fey Court luring mortal girls away from safety in order to change them into fey. The main difference is that in Need, the fey are called pixies and are distinguished from fairies, although what the difference is is never made clear. (Also, the pixies literally shedding gold dust wherever they walk was new… Maybe that’s why pixies are so dangerous: it’s not the soul-stealing, it’s because it’s impossible to ever get all of the glitter out of your carpet afterward.)

Neither is Need particularly subtle. Most of the plot twists are telegraphed from the very early chapters, and I’d figured out almost all of what was going on before the real action had even started. As an example, when I started reading this book, I didn’t realize that it was about shapeshifters as well as pixies, but within about three paragraphs of meeting one of the characters, I was thinking “Well, that one’s obviously a werewolf.” A lot of the characterizations are done with similarly broad strokes.

BUT. Despite it being fairly cookie-cutter-ish, and despite it being incredibly predictable, I still got a kick out of reading it. Zara is not particularly complex, but she is a sympathetic narrator, and her reaction to the death of her father felt vivid and true, both drawing on and evoking some real emotion. Furthermore, she also has a brain, and a spine, and is not content to sit around and wait for the boy to come rescue her. (She also may have a blood pressure condition, though, because my word she seemed to get lightheaded and pass out a lot.) The action is good, the romance is all palm-sweaty and first-kiss-tingly (and the leading man is hot), and there are a number of parts that were legitimately creepy. So, while Need is not a barn-burner of a book, it’s certainly an enjoyable way to pass a few hours. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Folks who can’t get enough YA paranormal romance (Twilight, Wicked Lovely, etc.) will enjoy this one for sure, and those who occasionally enjoy some fluffy, light, quick reading may want to add this to their lists as well.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Angieville, Beyond Books, Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books, The Book Muncher, Book Nut, Carrie’s YA Bookshelf, Charlotte’s Library, Confessions of a Bibliovore, J. Kaye’s Book Blog, Karin’s Book Nook, My Favorite Author, Today’s Adventure, Writer’s Block Reviews, YA New York
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Everybody has fears, right?

Cover Thoughts: The only thing I don’t like about the cover is the gold smear behind the title, which looks rushed, and unconnected to anything else. The concept of the trees on the girl’s neck is great, though. On one glance, they look like a cold, bleak dark forest, and on the second glance, they look like they’re creeping up her neck to strangle her. Very nice.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2010 9:57 am

    Your review is great, but I don’t think the book is for me.

    • January 14, 2010 10:54 am

      bermudaonion – As long as you’ve got some other outlet for your silly-and-light fiction needs, I think that’s totally fine. :)

  2. January 13, 2010 1:55 pm

    I agree – NEED isn’t very original or deep, but it is pretty fun. I’ll be reading the sequel (s). My review of it is here –

    • January 14, 2010 10:55 am

      Susan – I’ve added your link; sorry I missed it the first time ’round!

  3. January 14, 2010 7:59 am

    This sounds frighteningly like Twilight, and I’m really not sure I want to go through that experience again!

    • January 14, 2010 10:57 am

      Hazra – The good news is that all of the really awful parts of Twilight – the stalking, the emotional abuse, the extreme emotional codependency and spinelessness – are pretty much absent from Need.

  4. January 14, 2010 6:35 pm

    I really need to read this series at some point.

    • January 18, 2010 2:00 pm

      Kailana – It’s fun, but I would only put it about halfway on your priority list.

  5. January 15, 2010 1:43 am

    I love the carpet comment. Too witty

    • January 18, 2010 2:01 pm

      Cara – Post New Year’s Eve party, there’s always unexplained glitter coating every available surface every year… maybe one of my guests is a pixie?

  6. January 17, 2010 12:48 am

    Thanks for the link, Fyrefly. I agree that it’s not a terribly distinguished addition to the paranormal teen romance genre, but Zara is refreshingly real.

    Any plans to read the sequel? I am, if only out of curiosity over how Jones might fill up some of the plot holes.

    • January 18, 2010 2:02 pm

      Maureen – I actually just read the sequel over the weekend – my review’ll be up on Friday – and I don’t know that she so much fills in the plot holes as takes things in an entirely new direction.

      • January 18, 2010 2:08 pm

        Interesting. I’ll watch out for it and see what you think.

  7. January 17, 2010 3:01 pm

    Great review! After not liking Tithe and Wings, I’ve been hesitant about reading more books with pixies, fairies and the like. I’m still hesitant about this one but it’s good to know you enjoyed it!

    • January 18, 2010 2:03 pm

      Kay – If you’re going to read another fairy/pixie book, I’d definitely recommend Wicked Lovely first.

  8. January 19, 2010 2:33 pm

    I agree that is really isn’t all that unique within the YA paranormals, but it was light, quick and fun (also I put it above Twilight quality-wise.)

    • January 19, 2010 2:35 pm

      Joanne – Well, it didn’t make me want to throw it across the room or kick anyone in the head, so that was certainly a step in the right direction. :)

  9. January 19, 2010 7:38 pm

    I enjoyed this one as well, and felt the same way about it that you did. Definitely a fun book for when you’re in the right sort of mood. Nice review!

    • January 20, 2010 1:10 pm

      Darla – Thanks! Do you have a review posted that I could link to? I didn’t see one, but I could just be being search-inept.


  1. January Wrap-Up: Books and Reviews « Fyrefly's Book Blog

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