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Jenny finds her favorite leading lady of the year in Need by Carrie Jones.


BOOK REPORT for Need (Need Book 1) by Carrie Jones

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Internal Monolougerific
Bonus Factors: Kickass Gram, Weres, Maine
Relationship Status: Summer Camp BFF

The Deal:

Zara believes that if you can name your fears, you can master them. So she has memorized every phobia in the book (what book, I don't know, exactly, but apparently there's one out there). She lists them like a mantra as she travels from her home in Charleston to live with her Grandmother in Bedford, Maine. She chants them as she faces rude Mainers AND the bitter cold- even though it's only October. She focuses on them, and on her letter-writing to Amnesty International, because she's gone hollow inside. Her father has just died. He wasn't her real dad, but he raised her, and now her mom, who just can't deal, has sent Zara off to live with her step-dad's mom, Gram Betty. As she faces going to a new school, driving on icy roads, and trying to blend with the Maine kids, someone has been watching her. At first she thinks she's crazy, seeing that guy looking at her in the airport, then at school, but her new could-be friends see him, too.

Oh, and boys have started going missing in this sleepy little Maine town. Again. As Zara and her friends search for clues about this mysterious man, and the glittery dust he leaves behind him, she comes closer and closer to the truth about who she really is. And did I mention she totally falls for Nick, the dreamboat at her school and one of her new friends?

BFF Charm: Yay!

You guys, Zara SO TOTALLY ROCKS! I really, really love her. Her internal monologue makes me laugh OUT LOUD, and sometimes want to cry a little, from her listing phobias- both when she's afraid, and mantra textbook style:

What I'm afraid of, right now, in this very moment, in never feeling anything again, of being helpless watching my dad die of a heart attack on our kitchen floor. But that already happened, right? So, I will go with my second biggest fear, fear of the cold. This is cheimaphobia...

AND when she's nervous around Nick:

Nick laughs. Dimples crinkle up the skin near his lips. I will not look at his lips. How can he never have used those? That's a crime against humanity right there.

Her dad taught her to run (as her bff, I'd have to insist she slow down, because running and me...not so much... but then I could always hang out with her friend Issie, who is so cute I kind of want to bite her a little.) He also taught her to care about human rights, and she passionately writes letters to free prisoners and feed children without being preachy and holier than thou. And even though she's dealing with the personal heartache of losing a parent, she constantly reminds herself of those less fortunate than she is.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The romance between Zara and Nick is toe tinglingly fun, with swoons in all the right places. Nick is totally gorgeous and waaay cool, and also really sweet, and Zara is so funny and she makes you fall for him right along with her. This is first love in all its twitterpating sweetness.

Talky Talk: Internal Monolougerific

Carrie Jones has created, in Zara, the winner of my favorite leading lady of the year award. The book moves at a pace that makes it hard to put down, and my only real complaint is that it's over too quickly. (Confession, I've read this book twice. The first time, I read it while in a YA hurricane of like, ten books in a week, and when I was done, I thought, hmmm... that should have been longer. It moves at such a quick pace I almost felt like it was rushed. And the world Ms. Jones creates is way too cool to be rushed. But then I picked it up this weekend, to review it for this report, and I couldn't put it down. So now I think it just didn't meander. It's concise. Oh, and now I find out there is a sequel coming out. So, yay!) Plus, I love the way this lady uses a comma.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Zara's Gram, and their relationship, is one of my many favorite things in this book. Gram is an awesome Maine lady, EMT, and other things I won't spoil!

Bonus Factor: Weres

Were-wolves, were-tigers, were-eagles? Shape shifters at their best.

Bonus Factor: Maine

Carrie Jones lives in Maine. So did I for 8 years. Long years. She captures the beauty and the cold. The way random Mainers are sometimes just mean. How the cute boy warns her to be careful, because it's 'wicked slippery'. How nothing is easy there. Even breathing. And the creepiness. Ah, the creepiness! Anyone who hasn't spent a Halloween in Maine, just walking around trails in the woods, should. It's inspiring. Just ask Stephen King.

Casting Call:

Summer Glau as Zara

Ms. Glau is vulnerable and tough enough for Zara, and she could do a great job at looking spaced out while having an internal monologue.

Taylor Kitsch as Nick

This one took a little work, because when I read this the first time, I pictured Ben Barnes, but then I kind of just like picturing Ben Barnes, and I don't want to over use him. So Taylor is my second choice, but I think he has the charisma for Nick, especially if he could throw in a little bit of Gambit action in there.

Relationship Status: Summer Camp BFF

I'm going to follow in Meghan's footsteps with this one, 'cause summer camp boyfriend doesn't work as well. This is one of those books that I loved while we were (in camp) together, but I lost touch with once I got back home. But then, when I went back to camp, we were bff's just like we'd never been apart. I might try to write letters to it this fall, just to keep in touch, and I look forward to camping with the sequel when it comes out.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.