Sunday, May 24, 2009
Opinions Unsolicited: Need by Carrie Jones
I finished reading this last night.
I liked the story, mostly.
I liked the characters, mostly.
I really love the cover.
The premise: Zara is shipped off to live with her grandmother in a small Maine town after her stepfather's death [by heart attack, which Zara had the displeasure of witnessing] has left her an emotional void.
Over and over again throughout the book, I was pulled out of the narrative. It's a good story, but I have issues with certain elements. Sometimes the issue was word choice - for several pages at a time I would find the same word being used to describe different actions. Often I was frustrated with how none of the adults behaved as adults.
I was also frustrated with the way everyone knew everyone else. I understand its a small town, and that people know each other. But Zara was the only stranger here, and instead of this giving me, as the reader, an impression of her outsider status, it gave me the impression that it was done for convenience's sake.
And I kept finding that particular niggling annoyance over, and over again. Half-hearted explanations for important plot elements; overly simplistic character arcs.
I used to love reading YA fiction. Maybe I need to move past that, because I'm finding myself having similar frustrations over and over again.
I liked the book. I wouldn't have finished it otherwise. I loved Zara's voice, particularly Zara when she was detached and broken. It was brilliantly done, and there were many observations she made in that state that resonated with me. I've been depressed, and I related very well to the thought processes and the skewed outlook, and also the quiet re-awakening of her more normal self throughout the story.
I liked Betty, her grandmother, even though she sounded more like a teenage older sister than a grandmother. I liked the mythology within the novel, even though I felt like it needed some extra flesh to hang from its bones.
I liked the overall story, even though I was able to predict all the 'twists' save one or two. I felt as though it were an okay story that could have been mind-blowing if someone had asked the author some hard questions during the editorial process.
I'd read more of her books, or at least, more following these particular characters to see how things evolve. Carrie Jones didn't win me over with Need, but she piqued my interest enough that I'd give her a second chance.