A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 22, 2010}   Need by Carrie Jones

Plot: After Zara’s stepfather dies, she feels hollow. Worried, her mother sends her to live with her grandmother in Maine. Though Zara finds friends, catches the interest of two of the most popular boys in school and starts to feel like herself again, things are not better. Boys are disappearing, just as they had shortly before she was born and a strange man is following her, calling her name. It quickly becomes clear that supernatural things are afoot and Zara may be the only one who can prevent any more boys from vanishing.

This is a good read. It is fast paced and Jones does a good job of creating a feeling of threat, of being watched. But all the suspense depends on these feelings for there are no surprises. The plot is more than a little predictable. Less than 50 pages in and I had already figured out the town mystery and everyone’s place in the grand scheme of things. The world building also leaves something to be desired. There is little depth to Jones’ magic and supernatural creatures; they are much scarier before we know anything about them. This lack of depth does perhaps explain how the characters were able to find all they needed to know with one library book and a google search (though the librarian in me cringed at their “research”).

But for all that, I enjoyed the book. The writing is solid and the characters are interesting. As we saw in her earlier novel, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, Jones has a gift for quirky, realistic characters. I especially liked liked Zara. I liked her grassroots, save-the-world attitude, her unwavering love for her step-father and her intelligence (for as in the best faerie stories, Zara wins through wits and not brawn). I liked her obsession with phobias which colours the narrative. Every chapter is named for a phobia which describes it thematically. Even the villain of the piece has layers and is not simply controlled by his need as the title implies, though it certainly drives him.

Watch the book trailer:


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