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Zara White lives in Charleston with her mother and stepfather. She loves running, is very active in Amnesty International and trying to save the world, and is a phobia buff; she knows each and every phobia by name, and even comes up with some that should have names. And then Zara’s world falls apart --- her beloved dad dies from a heart attack.

After months of deep depression, Zara’s desperate mom decides to send her up to Maine to live with her grandmother, which makes Zara very angry. Maine is frigidly cold with howling winds and lots of snow --- not the ideal for a southern gal. Slowly, though, with a few new friends and even a boyfriend prospect in handsome loner Nick, Zara begins to find her smile again. But that’s not all she finds.

She first notices the eerie dark man outside her house the day her dad died. She sees him again at the airport, and then at her new school, and hears a voice calling her name. Two boys from school disappear. There is no way to prepare for what Zara is about to encounter. The evil being is the Pixie King, and he needs a queen. Zara and her friends do research and find that weres (werewolves and the like) are the natural enemy for pixies. And as luck would have it, this frigid Maine town has a handful of weres in the population as well. Zara and her friends begin the fight of their lives, and in the process uncover some deep family secrets that will forever change their world. She strives to save strangers with her volunteer work for Amnesty International, but will she be able to save herself and the ones she loves?

Carrie Jones brings readers an exciting venture filled with nasty evil creatures, nail-biting action and heart-pounding romance. She writes with an intense energy that electrifies each page and has a talent for description that brings the story to life (like Maine’s charming winter). She has cleverly planned a prolific plot, building suspense and conflict, and revealing many hidden surprises and twists at just the right moment. Her vibrant characters thrive with life, especially Zara, who shares her entire self (including her hopes and fears) with readers. Zara also has a unique way of viewing life and the things around her: “There is something about libraries, old libraries, that makes them seem almost sacred. There’s a smell of paper and must and binding stuff.  It’s like all the books are fighting against decay, against turning into dust, and at the same time fighting for attention.”

NEED is an intense page-turner, sure to captivate young audiences with its charms and thrills.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 18, 2011

by Carrie Jones

  • Publication Date: December 23, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 1599903385
  • ISBN-13: 9781599903385