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After the recent (strange and sudden) death of her beloved stepfather, Zara loses herself in learning ridiculous amounts of phobias and writing firm letters to Amnesty International. So Zara's worried mother decides to send her to live with her grandmother, in the cold and isolated town that is known as Maine. But being new pretty much everywhere around there, especially at school, makes Zara feel even more secluded. And it's not Zara that only feels this way, after the recent string of boys going missing in the woods, and the who is the mysterious guy that Zara keeps seeing everywhere? The one that leaves the trails of glittery gold dust?
She knew Maine would be different..but not that she'd be stalked by a creepy guy, who Zara's new friends, Issie and Devyn believe to be a pixie king? What the hell is going on around here?!
But the pixie king is real and he's not the happy-little-fairy-that-plays-in-the-bottom-of-your-garden type, but one that is controlled by disobedient needs that are causing innocent boys to disappear. Zara is not sure she's ready to find out where exactly she come's in to this twisted tale.
Lot's have assumed this is another Twilight imitation, but it is not. It's a dangerous tale about grieving, darkness and a whole lotta falling-in-love. The sinister setting was so atmospheric, and realistic, a successful combination of writers like Stephen King, Melissa Marr, and Cynthia Leitich Smith as well as the infamous Stephenie Meyer! Everything is just so graphically enhanced..wow!
Carrie Jones has presented us with a touching novel, full of emotion and suspense, I know for a fact that even the most reluctant of readers will not be able to put this down.
I love to read and my favourite genre being fantasy, I have a huge selection of books in my ever growing book collection. This book however I found a hate then love relationship. I didn't read the blurb on this one I just liked the cover!
Woods and Werewolves and Pixies Oh My!
Need by Carrie Jones:
When getting this book back home many months a go I had not heard of the author Carrie Jones before, and me being me decided to look her up on the internet to see what books if any others, she has written.
This is where I found out Need shall be a series of books, the second (captivate) is already out and the third (Entice) is due for release January 2011 Carrie Jones in now working on the forth book but I can't find anywhere how many there will be in total.
Zara is sent to live with her Grandmother after her mom's husband passed away suddenly, poor Zara was emotional distraught her mom was finding it hard to connect with her. So she was packed off, in the hope she would come to terms with her stepdads death and somehow find herself again.
Not known by Zara but the real reason behind sending her away was also to keep her safe out of dangers path. On the way to her Grandma's house in Maine Zara starts seeing a man everywhere she goes, a tall creepy man. Zara soon find out that Maine's got an assortment of creatures she only thought were in the movies and books.
After settling in at her new school the creepy man pops up again, and boys in the school start to go missing; she tells her new found friends about the man she thinks is storking her and that the murders could be connected somehow? And so the investigation and plot starts to unravel.
When I first started to read this book I was thinking to myself where is this going! But it soon gripped me and I couldn't put it down. I love the way the author has built the characters up giving you a clear picture of them. The book unfolds nicely with lots of little interesting twist and turns along the way.
The story is not like one I've read before maybe Pixies could become the new Vampire craze, and we all know a new craze has to start somewhere. Another thing that got me hooked was the chemistry that develops with Nick (hunky Nick) and Zara, of course there is plenty of drama between them to start with and when Zara found out a secrete that her parents had kept from her all this time; was very intriguing to read Nick's reactions to say the least! But it sure does bring more sense into the story line, which did answer a few questions that seemed to pop in my head while reading.
School ground bitchyness seems to be in a lot of books I've picked up over the years and this one is no exception. As Zara is a traffic runner, some of the girls get jealous when the guys start talking about how good she is. I think it is cute how the picture is panted for Zara in her joggers and U2 top for running while the other girls pick strappy vests and tight small shorts. (Zara sounded a little like me that way) One thing that did let down the story is that characters like this never get along with the mainstream girls of the school, which made it very predicable where some of the parts were heading.
To start with the creepy man following Zara and leaving behind gold dust left me thinking well what creature does that? And from here is for me the story gets fun, exciting and interesting where Zara and her friends work as a team. Zara starts to find out more about the creatures within the small town, and leave her thinking and me for that matter what other creature feature could be coming along!
I've done a lot of reading and this is the first book I've read about Pixies, it held my interest well. I'm very much looking forward to reading Captivate which is the follow on book from Need, as where Need left I think it gives great potential for Captivate. (Fingers crossed it doesn't let me down!)
Sure the plot of story was a little predicable but also had parts where I thought to myself wow didn't see that coming. The Ending of the book was ok, a little rushed I think but then does leave way for Captivate I guess.
Zara - Is a down to earth loving character, she's an active member of Amnesty International, loyal to her new found friends and stands a firm ground for human rights. Her favourite sport is to run, no matter were she is running is what clears her head. Zara is good at working things out and finding the information she needs. A little silly at times after all she knows there are beings after her, but she still can't sit still! She loves Yoko, the Subaru her Nan purchased for her and has an odd fascination with phobias.
Grandma Betty - And what a cool Nan she is, Betty is an EMT, a black belt became a Boston Marathon competitor all this after the age of sixty-five! Sadly Betty lost her only son which was Zara's step-dad. Betty can certainly kick ass even taking on the Pixy King, though not much of cook but we can let the old dear of this that one. Overall Betty displays and fun loving, hard working, and warm character within the book not to mention the cool twist!
Issie - There's nothing you can not love about Issie, she babbles but in a sweet way, always cheerful and up beat. A loyal trusting friend that hates fighting and lacks in supernatural powers unlike some of her close pals. Always willing to help a friend in need with a big smile!
Nicholas Kelley Colt aka Nick - Paints an image of a well toned sexy guy that at times makes you want to droll (in a good way) His character displays a very protective one even to the point where at school he gets teased with 'Protector complex' Nick has an interesting past with a passion for hating Pixies!
Devyn - Is wheelchair bound after being hit with an arrow while running cross country, the arrow hit him in the spine. His strong willed and showing many signs of recovery despite shocking the doctors. Devyn is very intelligent continuously researching anything and everything. He also has a big crush on Issie which when reading does give you a few giggles along the way.
Price & Availability:
I purchase this book from Waterstones in the Merry Hill Shopping centre as it was in a 3 for 2 offer. Prices start from £4.47 from Amazon and £5.59 from Waterstones, but cheaper if you can find it on eBay or rent from a library if you don't want to purchase.
I really enjoyed reading this book it turned out to be a compelling thriller, yes it had some ups and downs along the way but let's face it a lot of books do. It held my interests well, and left me wanting more! I love the cover to this book a pair of gold glitter lips which stood out from most of the books within that section, hence the impulse buy without reading the blurb on the back.
Didn't want to give to much of the story away as I think this book would be an interesting read for many people, personal I think this book is suitable for young teens 13/14 plus.
4 out of 5 stars from me.
Thanks for reading :o)
Published - 01/02/2010
Publisher - Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN - 9781408807408
Pages - 320 pages
This book is also released on hardback.
Zara White has had a pretty traumatic time. Struggling to cope with the loss of her beloved stepfather, she collects and obsesses over phobias, reciting them to herself when she is nervous. Her Mother has sent her to Maine to live with her Grandma, hoping this will help her to heal.
But something strange is going on in Maine. Young boys are going missing, and this isn't the first time it's happened. Everyone tells Zara she mustn't go out after dark. Then there's the creepy guy following and pointing at her, leaving trails of gold dust behind him. When her new friends mention Pixies, and not the cute Tinkerbell type, Zara isn't convinced. But as things get weirder and her life is put in extreme danger, she is forced to accept that maybe there is something in it after all. But just what do they want with her? Is anyone in Maine who or what they seem?
I have to say, I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did! I was intrigued enough by the Pixie premise to buy Need, but was worried it would be quite gimmicky and silly. And if I'm honest, some of it is...a bit. But I enjoyed the book so much, I was willing to overlook this and just get engrossed in the story.
The strength in this book is Zara herself. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I really, really liked her character. From the synopsis on the back of the book, I was expecting her to be weak but she certainly isn't. The beauty of her though is that she doesn't realise her strength; she is gutsy and brave without being aggressive and sarcastic. This gave her a really refreshing voice and I warmed to her from the very beginning. She's an active member of Amnesty International, and this kind of sums up her moral attitude, in that she is keen to stand up for the underdog whether it's the captives she supports through Amnesty or her oddball new friends at school.
Zara's phobia collecting was very interesting too and different to what I expected. Rather than being consumed by phobias, it seems it's the idea of them that fascinates her more. Each chapter begins with a phobia and a small description and I learned quite a few I'd never heard of before! This was really unique, I've never seen anything like that done before and it gave the book and Zara herself a real quirky feel. I also enjoyed the relationship between Zara and Nick Colt, which seemed very genuine.
There are some flaws in the book, which annoyed me a little. I thought the discovery that the creepy man stalking Zara was a pixie was very sudden, and without build up. I also thought that the idea of Pixies was accepted too easily and didn't ring quite true. However, I did like the story about the pixies, which while it wasn't entirely unpredictable, it was interesting. There are some other supernatural/mythical creatures along the way, which I wasn't expecting and made for an exciting and action packed story that I raced through and struggled to put down.
I ended up really enjoying Need. Yes it's predictable in places and a little bit implausible at times, even allowing huge stretches of imagination. But Zara as a narrator is compelling and intriguing, there's plenty of original twists and fast action and it was easy to just put my criticisms aside and be swept along with the story. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Captivate, soon!
~ Other Information ~
Need by Carrie Jones
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 Feb 2010)
When Zara's step dad dies, she goes into a state of shock and depression, not being herself at all. When her mother runs out of ideas, she sends Zara to live with her grandmother in Maine, with the hopes that a change of scenery will lift her mood. Pretty much as soon as she gets off the plane, she notices a weird man in the woods, a man that she has seen lurking around before. Putting him to the back of her mind for now, Zara has to go to school on her first day in a new place which doesn't exactly go well. She makes one hell of an enemy in Megan as well as a new best friend Issy, who is very quirky and weird but her and Zara get on well from the off. Then there is Nick and Ian. Both are pretty hot and are both are competing for her attention.
Angry at her mum for shipping her off to a place she doesn't know, Zara tries to get on with her life and making the most of school and her friends but normal doesn't last very long. The strange man is lurking around again and she has no idea why but she decides to confide in her friends who set out to figure the mystery out and make everything safe for Zara. Unravelling the mystery of the strange man only leads to shocking revelations about the people around her and the people she thought she could trust.
Need was not at all what I expected, which is a really good thing. I've tried to give a really basic plot summary because this is how it is done on the back of the book. Yes, I was expecting the strange man to be someone other than what he seems and he is, but not at all what I was expecting. I thought this was going to be a kind of lighter thriller/ mystery for young adults but it was very much a fantasy story. It soon becomes clear that there is something paranormal going on around Zara and in Maine but Jones doesn't let the reader know what is happening until a fair way into the story, which I really liked. I don't like knowing everything that is going on from the first chapter as I like a story to have secrets and keep me guessing and Need kept me guessing for a while.
There are two really weird things about this story (and they aren't what you'd be expecting). One: Zara is obsessed with phobias and each chapter begins with a fear of something or other. The very first page explains why Zara is so into phobias and this is tied in with the rest of the story. This was definitely something that I have never seen before and it was new and interesting to me. Learning something real while reading a fantasy book was something that I liked the most. That also brings me on to number two. Stephen King's books are mentioned quite a lot. Zara's step father wrote things in the margins of his books, which brings Zara to realise some things about what is going on around her. This kind of made me think that if these things are happening in Maine, why couldn't Stephen King be writing from personal experience? OK, maybe not in the real world but in Zara's world this definitely could have been the case. The little details like these are things that make a book fantastic instead of just being good.
The ending was pretty rushed and left me quite disappointed. The solution to everyone's problems is dealt with quite quickly and then the book suddenly ends. I really wanted to know how Zara, her friends and family dealt with everything that had happened and how they were feeling but I didn't get what I wanted. The only good thing I can say is that Need is the first book in a series and the second, Captivate, will be out quite soon. I guess I'm just going to have to wait to find out what happens next.
Zara is a girl with a strong personality and it's clear that not everyone gets her. The phobia thing is strange enough but then she has that weird man following her around and the queen bee at school takes an instant dislike to her. She isn't afraid to voice her opinions and she stands up for herself, not letting anyone tell her what to do, no matter how much they tell her to stay put. Even though she is the new girl, she begins to make friends really quickly which is helped by joining the track team in school and opening a chapter of Amnesty International. Although Zara is going through a hard time, she still comes across as a strong person, not even letting her first day at a new school get the better of her. I thought that she was developed quite well but it could have been done a little better towards the end. There were times where I wanted to smack her though for being so stupid. If I tell you the reasons why though, I will completely ruin elements of the plot.
The secondary characters are very stereotypical for a high school. There is the hot blonde bitch who doesn't like the new girl, the 'geeks' that befriend the new girl and the handsome, popular guy who is into the new girl. While these should be too clichéd, they aren't in this story for some reason. I think every school has these kinds of people anyway and they make the story more real. Well, as real as it could be anyway. Zara's friends, Issy and Devyn (I liked his name more than anything though) are true to her, even when they haven't known her for very long. They are the kind of people that you know will be there for her when something goes wrong and will do anything to try to help.
I wasn't so sure about Nick. He apparently has never kissed a girl and for being a guy in high school, that strikes me as weird enough. If there was someone you were going to think was different, it would have been him. He was a sweet guy but with a huge hero complex. He just wanted to save everyone. I was fine with that to begin with but it got tired really fast because he was never selfish at all. Again, not your typical teenage male. He does have one freak out moment though which really made me laugh so it made me like him a little more.
There are quite a few minor problems with this story that will make you think 'YOU IDIOT'. Even with these moments, I loved this book. It kept me guessing and I didn't guess everything about the story. The characters are interesting and real for the most part. Don't feel too disappointed by the ending because the second book, Captivate, will be out soon with a lot of questions hopefully answered. Hugely recommended.