Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

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* NEED BY CARRIE JONES – THOUGHTS AND REVIEW *

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

Cover:  Gold lips

Overall Rating:  ****  Four stars.

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Need was pointed out to me by a bookstore employee when I curiously inquired as to what’s been selling in the YA section lately. I’d never taken a look at it before, and I was instantly hooked by the premise:  This girl has a stalker who leaves pixie dust, and apparently he’s a creature you never thought you’d have to fear. I read the first chapter and loved the intelligent voice and the phobia stuff. Sounds fun, I thought. Sounds like a break from Twilight-formula vampire kicks.

Not exactly.

First let me deliver the good news. This story has an amazing, fleshed-out main character who develops, changes, loves. A little inconsistent at times, but aren’t we all? She’s not a vegetarian, but she does enjoy veggie burgers and constantly writes letters for Amnesty International. She knows all about the situation in Darfur. She quotes Booker T, stands up for her friends, and controls her temper. All of this I love.  I have trouble finding characters I can root for in the YA section these days, fumbling through all the worlds of rustling skirts and fancy parties.

She also loves studying phobias–something we all look up at some point or another. One of the first things she does in the book is name the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Love her.

The bad news:  It follows the Twilight formula.

No vampires appear in this novel. I’ll give it that. Something quite similar to vampires, however, does appear–and something like a pack of werewolves emerges to fight it.  This after a girl takes a plane trip to somewhere North, remote, and miserable vaguely against her will, wears a parka, and finds a new car waiting for her when she arrives. After she goes to school and immediately has boys falling all over her.

Despite this, Carrie Jones mixes it up and keeps the voice catchy enough to keep me from gagging as I read. Most of the characters–Zara, Betty, Issie, and Devyn–are well-rounded and root-for-able. Her mother, however, isn’t. Nor is the villain of the book. Nor is, I hate to say it, the boy. He’s flat. He’s naked and heroic, but he’s flat.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes voice. Plenty of laughs, plenty of character development. For anyone who cares little for voice and gags at Vampires vs. Werewolves stories, I’d say pass this one up.

Hope it helped you!

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