Need by Carrie Jones Novel Review

Title:  Need

Author:  Carrie Jones

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

ISBN:  9781599904535

After Zara’s stepfather dies suddenly, she is left at loose ends.  He was her friend and confidant, and she misses him terribly.  She is so wrapped up in the cocoon of her grief that she begins to loose touch with herself.  Concerned, her mother sends her to live with her grandmother in chilly Maine, hoping that the girl will begin to heal in new surroundings.  Angry that her life has been decided without her input, Zara doesn’t have much time to dwell on her feelings of betrayal.  Instead, she keeps seeing a mysterious man, who seems to have followed her from Charleston.  As weird and scary things start to happen, Zara has an unsettling realization.  There are creatures out there, deadly and frightening, that aren’t human.  Worse, they are out to get her.

Need was a wonderful surprise, one of those deliciously engrossing novels that you can’t put down, and when you do, the characters remain with you, teasing and enticing you to learn more about them.  Full of mystery and suspense, danger and romance, this really is the perfect book to cuddle up with on a cold winter day.  Or better yet, a cold, snowy winter night, one that mimics the frosty setting of the story.  I may not be in Maine, but I certainly felt like I was, as snow and darkness fell around me.  Tense and vivid, I have to admit that I was even provoked into a panicky, nervous frenzy as the events played out and Zara found herself uncovering secrets that threatened to rob her life and soul away.  This book has a little bit of everything, and it manages to blend all of these wonderful elements together in a reading experience that makes you remember why you starting reading in the first place.

I love, love, love Zara.  This girl is fierce, protective, and ready to sacrifice herself in order to keep her friends safe.  She is suffering when we first meet her, wallowing in the numbing grief of losing someone dear to her. You can feel her pain and her unhappiness, her confusion and guilt after the death of her stepfather.  He was so many things to her, friend, running mate, partner in social conscience, that his absence leaves a void that she believes will never be filled.  Shipped off to Maine to spend some time with her grandmother, she discovers that there are scary things that go bump in the night, and fantastic creatures of fairy tales haunt the frozen landscape.  She suddenly has no time to feel sorry for herself, and instead digs deep into her soul and begins to discover who she really is. 

I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I usually abide novels that are told in first person present tense.  In Need, though, it’s Zara’s firm, commanding voice that gives the story its bite.   The narrative is firm and steady and unyielding, driving events from one crescendo of excitement to the next.  There is never a lag in the action, and, like Zara, you never gets a chance to catch your breath.  It’s one uncovered secret after another as Zara attempts to make sense of the frightening episodes that keep taking place around her.  She is convincingly brought to life, plagued by typical teen worries and concerns; will she fit in at her new school, will she make friends, will she fall in love?  Add in something much more sinister – will the pixies get her – and you have the formula for a book that you can’t put down.  You will never look at Tinker Bell quite the same after finishing Need.   Guaranteed.

Grade: A

Review copy provided by Bloomsbury

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