NEED by Carrie Jones is one of those books that sneaks up on you. It starts off firmly grounded in the real world, with teens so real you can almost smell them sweating after cross-country practice, a setting so vivid you can feel the winter wind blow, and the very real teen drama that defines every high school in America. But this isn’t just any town; it’s a town with a high concentration of pixies – magical beings with terrible, evil needs. By the time you realize the danger the main character, Zara, is in, you’ve already accepted this book as real, which makes the scary parts even scarier.
After the death of Zara’s father, her mother sends her to live in snowy Maine, where she’s thrown off balance by icy roads and people who aren’t what they appear to be. But even worse than the blustery snow is the mysterious man who shows up. He’s been following her everywhere, he leaves a trail of gold dust behind him, and Zara’s convinced he’s connected to the disappearance of some missing boys in town. When Zara discovers that the mystery man is a pixie, she’s forced to fight her fears and question some of her own ideas about nonviolence.
I love Zara. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Carrie Jones created her in response to some of the issues I have with TWILIGHT’s Bella. While I read TWILIGHT, loved the exciting plot, and completely understand the appeal to teen girls, I always wonder how they view Bella, who isn’t as strong a heroine as I like to see in books for girls. Zara, by contrast, is a girl with ideals and gumption. She has her own sizzling love interest in NEED, but it’s on her terms. She’s a heroine I can feel good about introducing to my 7th grade girls. NEED is a great book for paranormal romance fans – and a fantastic “next book” for kids looking for something to read after TWILIGHT.
Kate’s Holiday Book Review Note: I hope you’re shopping with independent bookstores for the holidays! After all of my holiday season book reviews, I’ll be posting a short note on how each title might fit into your gift list.
Note: This title has a December 23 release date from Bloomsbury. If that’s cutting it too close, you might want to pre-order it as a holiday gift and just leave a little note with a picture of the cover under the tree. It’s that good. Or just pick up a gift certificate for your favorite indie and wrap it up with a copy of this review!
Suggested ages: 12+
Buy it for kids who loved: Twilight, Wicked Lovely, Lament, other paranormal romance novels. They’ll love this one, too!