Need. New York: Bloomsbury.
30-Second Plot Summary: Obsessed with phobias and unable to feel since witnessing her step-father's death, Zara White is shipped off to Maine to live with her grandmother. A strange, pale man seems to have followed her on her trip across the country. Turns out Maine may not have been the best choice, since a teenaged boy went missing the week before Zara arrived and the locals are afraid he won't be the only one.
Zara settles into like in Maine with some difficulties. Driving in the snow and ice proves to be particularly...slippery. While Zara does make some friends, she also becomes instant enemies with the queen of the school.
Jones's characterization of Zara is wonderfully done. As a reader, I got a true sense of of Zara's emotional distance, but at the same time, I was still drawn into her (lack) of emotions. A very difficult space to write in, since if done badly, I probably would have put the book down after a few pages. But clearly, I didn't. I also liked how proactive she was. It made me happy. I'm all about the ladies who run out to face vicious stalker-fey and have a plan. I also liked how socially aware she was. Girlfriend was concerned about conditions in Darfur, injustice and persecution. Way to be a do-gooder. She was also a runner, though. That I could relate to less. (Why run when you could walk? Or swim? Or lie down and wait for either food to fall from the sky or for old age and death?)
I did have a little trouble with the way Zara and her friends become aware of the fairy people. They don't really have an encounter of the fairy-kind. Zara's new Maine friends figured it out before she arrived. Then she just kind of accepts it. She does question it later on...but still, I struggled with Zara's reactions.
I also had trouble with the mystery aspect. I'm not trying to brag about my own awesomeness here, but it was pretty obvious within the first 100 pages who the bad guy was. I don't think I'd be the only paying enough attention to figure it out. On the plus side, there were still some other surprises toward the end and I was still engaged with the story enough that I was willing to keep reading to find out how Zara's romance developed with her non-stalker love interest.
This is yet another recommendation to make to the Twilight tweens. What this book lacks in vampires, it makes up for in stalker pixies and were-beasties and a female protagonist who is capable of more original thoughts than playing into the villains' traps.
This book has the benefit of being a huge vocabulary when it comes to various phobias: Phobophobia, nelophobia, didaskaleinophobia, couplogagophobia, philophobia, phonophobia, hormephobia, autophobia, and on and on. Students could also be interested enough to research the history, demographics and geography of Maine.
QUOTES OF NOTE:
"Everybody has fears, right?
I'm into that.
I collect fears like other people collect stamps, which makes me sound like more of a freak than I actually am. But I'm into it. The fears thing. Phobias.
There are all the typical, common phobias. Lots of people are afraid of heights and elevators and spiders. Those are boring. I'm a fan of the good phobias. Stuff like nelophobia, the fear of glass. Or arachibutyrophobia, the fear that you will have peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
I don't have the fear of peanut butter, of course, but how cool is it tat it's named?
It's a lot easier to understand things once you name them. It's the unknown that mostly freaks me out" (p. 1).
"I think you are one of those people who believe that if you can name something, then you can overcome it, conquer it, which is what you're going to have to do about your dad dying" (p. 9).
"I just keep thinking I see this same guy everywhere, this tall, dark-haired, pale guy. That couldn't be him, though."
"You saw this guy in Charleston?"
I nod. I wish my feet could touch the floor so I wouldn't feel so stupid and little.
She thinks for a split second. "And now you're seeing him here?"
"I know. It's silly and weird."
"It's not silly, honey, but it is most definitely weird" (p. 10).
"People believe pixies are tiny, happy fey with just a streak of mischief. They are not. Closer to the vampire's callous disdain for the sanctity of human life, pixies should be avoided at all costs. The only protection against their wrath is their mortal enemy, the were" (p. 78).
"Zara. Come to me, Zara."
It sounds so cheesy, so much like a bad musical line, that it's not really that scary. Oh, that's a huge lie. I'm totally scared. Crap. Crapcrapcrap.
I wanted this. I wanted to draw him out. But now? Fear pushes my feet faster, makes my heart speed up too fast. It pounds against my chest, trying to escape. But from what? A voice? A shadow? I came out here to find him. He's found me.
The truth slams into me:
I didn't imagine that man at the airport.
I didn't imagine the way my skin felt each time I saw him.
I didn't imagine that dust or make up the words in that book" (p. 111).
TASTY RATING: !!!