Book Review: Need by Carrie Jones

4070493Title: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: December 23rd 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
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Review copy purchased by yours truly.

Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.
She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.
In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.

According to the quote on the front cover, Need is what you would get if you would get if you would ask Stephenie Meyer and Steven King to collaborate on a novel. That’s probably one of the oddest things I’ve ever heard. First of all, why would Stephenie Meyer and Steven King, who both write completely different genres, ever want to work on a novel together? Secondly, given the fact that Steven King writes horror, and Need can’t qualify as being even remotely scary, I wonder why anyone would link this book to King’s ouvre – only because it happens in Maine? Secondly, Stephenie Meyer’s characters have the personality of a cardboard figure – meaning, none, whereas the main character of Need, Zara, has one of the most interesting, quirky and funny personalities I’ve ever seen in YA literature. So, whoever came up with the idea that this is a crossover between Meyer and King, either read a completely different book than I did, or has never read anything written by either King or Meyer.

That aside, Need is really a good book. Not that spectacular in terms of originality, but I can forgive it a lot if the writing is good enough, and it is. Carrie Jones has an entertaining writing style and her characters are very relatable. Sometimes the dialogue is a bit corny, but I found myself enjoying that, and sometimes even laughing out loud.

As far as plot goes, Zara White moves to Maine after her father’s death, because she’s incapable of feeling anything and her Mom thinks, with good reason, that Zara’s severely depressed, so she goes to live with her grandmother for a while. In her new school, she quickly meets a couple of new friends, including Ian and Nick. Almost immediately, Zara develops a crush on handsome, charming Nick. But Ian is obviously interested in her as well, and she finds him intriguing – especially after he beats her while running during gym class without even breaking a sweat. Considering Zara is one of the best runners there is, that’s saying something.

But people are disappearing in town, young boys of around Zara’s age. And it’s not the first time this happened, a decade ago, the same thing happened as well. Zara and her new friends quickly suspect something supernatural is going on, especially since they find pixie dust on the crime scene. Someone is out in the woods, one of the fey, and he’s up to no good. He has to fill his Need, and to fill that, he either needs to find a Queen, or feed on teenage boys. Coincedence or not, but the pixie chooses Zara as its desired Queen…

Indeed, plot-wise, this story doesn’t bring anything new to the table, at least not at first glance. But it’s the characters that make this book interesting. Zara is the kind of person who wants to save the world. She loves nature, animals, running and writing letters for Amnesty International. She has the tendency to rattle off phobias whenever she gets scared, and each chapter actually has the name of a phobia, some real, some imagined.

Unfortunately, the fun characters and original use of phobias doesn’t do anything for the sloppy plotline, the out-of-the-blue love affair between Nick and Zara, the two of them making out at random moments and sometimes even at the most unlikely of times, and the fact that while Ian is mentioned heavily in the beginning of the book, he disappears for the better half of it to miraculously reappear near the end. Also, this book offers weretigers. Yes, weretigers. Like anyone would want to change into a tiger when it’s full moon. But it’s not like the characters here need a full moon: they can change at will. Still…weretigers?

I wish I could say that I loved this book. I loved it enough to read a sequel, but not enough to be extraordinary happy about it. The upside is that there’s no real love triangle – thank God for that. The main character is a joy, since she’s one of the most original characters I’ve read in a while. But that’s it. The supportive cast is bland, barely featured, and their emotions and/or pain is glanced over quickly. The evil guys pop up near the end, and when I say pop up, I mean literally pop up. The mystery is revealed in record time, and I felt myself wanting…more. At least more emotions, not necessarily more book. I felt like things wrapped up too quickly for me to really care a lot. I also thought the final battle was a bit disappointing.

All in all, Need definitely isn’t a bad book. I enjoyed parts of it, and I will definitely read the sequel, so that counts for something. However, it left me mostly unimpressed. Nice for when you have some time to kill, but don’t expect this one to be the next ‘big thing’.


  1. I agree–that whole Stephanie Meyer meets Steven King is really weird.
    I’ve been contemplating starting the Endure series for a while now but I haven’t really put in the effort to get the first book. It seems like a lot of people agree with you, it’s a fun read but not exactly life-changing. Great review ūüôā I’ll eventually read it I’m sure.


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