Need by Carrie Jones (review copy) - Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect Facebook friends. It's little wonder, since she's had a fairly rough life. Her father left when she was a baby, her stepfather just died and her mother's almost given up - in fact, she's sent her to live with her grandmother in cold and sleepy Maine to 'keep Zara safe'. Zara doesn't think she's in danger; she thinks her mother just can't cope. Zara's wrong. The man she sees everywhere - the tall, creepy guy who points at her from the side of the road - is not a figment of her imagination. He's a pixie. But not the cute, sweet kind with little wings. Maine's got a whole assortment of unbelievable creatures. And they seem to need something - something from Zara... From Amazon UK
I really liked Need! There’s something really cute about it, despite the storyline, that leaves me with a smile on my face. It has a great protagonist, some great mythology, and has some cool quirkiness to it. However, I was left ever so slightly disappointed.
Positives first. Zara is such a great protagonist, and I was hooked from the first page. She has such a great voice, and even if you can’t relate to her situation, you can relate to her. She’s an every-girl; she has her faults, and she has her quirks, but she is a very passionate girl. It’s great learning about her interest in phobias, and finding out the names of phobias and what they mean as the story goes on. It was a great idea on Carrie’s part to have a relating phobia as the title of each chapter. I found them all really interesting! It was also cool how Zara doesn’t believe in mythical creatures straight away; it seems that there is a lot of novels out there where characters accept the existence of mythical creatures way too easily, but Zara has her doubts throughout the book, and it was just great! I also loved her sense of humour; she is so sarcastic, and her comments and narration made me smile many a time.
I also liked how the story is given to us. It’s not exactly original, but I like the new-girl-to-new-area way of having the readers find out about what’s going on along with the main character. It’s a nice way to meet other characters, and have the story set up bit by bit as it progresses. As I said, it’s not original, but it turns out there is a very good reason for it.
There is also some great mythology – or folklore – too. It was great to read about pixies; I’ve not come across them before in the fae novels I’ve read, but they’re really interesting! I’m no faerie expert, so I can’t say how much of it is right or not, but it was great to learn about these fae specifically. My only criticism is that there wasn’t a lot of answers as to why, not much explanation about the reasons the pixies are as they are, or why they’re doing what they’re doing. The reasons we’re given aren’t explained a huge deal, and so I’m left thinking “why?” a lot of the time. However, there is another book, so perhaps I’ll find the answers there. I would have liked to have seen a bit more page time, but I understand why they didn’t.
Now why I was disappointed; it felt to me like Zara was pretty much the only fully formed character in the novel. There were so many other characters in this book who had so much potential, but just weren’t given enough depth in my opinion. There wasn’t much of a history to them; who were these people before Zara showed up? What do they do for fun? What do they like, what do they dislike? I can’t tell you, other than that Issie – who is just adorable, by the way; she has a bit of personality and I love her – like rabbits, and some of the guys like running. That’s it. We don’t really get much else. It may sound odd, but my imagination creates a visual of a character half based on what they look like as described in the book, and half by who they are. I don’t know why, that’s just how I am. But with Need, a fair amount of the characters are almost always on my imaginative peripheral vision, not fully formed. It spoilt it a little bit for me. I didn’t feel much for these characters, because I didn’t know them. I just hope we get to know them a bit better in the next novel.
I also felt that there was something off with the emotion in the book; there is a lot of it, but I didn’t feel it. I can’t say what it was exactly, I just didn’t connect emotionally with this book as much as I would have liked to; I wasn’t as upset as I could have been when Zara was, or as scared and excited when things got a little rough. I wanted to, it just wasn’t happening.
Despite all this, I still really liked Need! It’s like Twilight meets Wicked Lovely. I loved Zara’s voice and the plot, and was hooked throughout. Some things I guessed, but I like that. I will definitely be reading Captivate in April! I can’t wait to read what happens next!
Thank you to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending me a review copy.
Published: 1st February in the UK
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Carrie Jones’ Website
The Sweet Bonjour