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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!
Need by Carrie Jones Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 Feb 2010) ISBN: 978-1408807408