Monday, 23 August 2010
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.
What I thought
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.
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 new 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.
Even with the moments that made me want to shout ‘You idiot!’, I loved this book. It kept me guessing and I didn't figure out 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, answers many of the things that weren't in Need.