Title: A Need So Beautiful
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: A Need So Beautiful (Book 1)
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062008242 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062008244 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Kayla
We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be forgotten.
Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.
But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.
Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?
Quick & Dirty: A slow mystery with a great ending.
Opening Sentence: I sit on the front steps of St. Vincent’s Cathedral and pick at the moss nestled in the cracks of the concrete.
Charlotte doesn’t know what’s happening to her. It started when she was very young, when the Need pulled her away once a year. Now, as a teenager, the Need draws her towards strangers everyday, demanding her to help this woman here, or save that man over there. No one knows about the fits of pain and squeezing of her lungs that precedes the urge to help someone in need. No one knows why she disappears so often or where she goes. It’s tearing Charlotte apart, and she can’t do anything about it. Until a lady named Onika appears in her dreams, describing a life free of the Need, free of aging, free of dying. But it comes with a price. Charlotte has a choice. Follow her destiny and live out a life as a Forgotten. Or live for eternity as a broken Shadow.
As I started reading this book, I thought “Wow. This is boring.” I liked the protagonist well enough, despised the love interest to no end, loved the best friend, and adored the mother and doctor. But the plot was so slow! The most interesting parts were the Needs, but they were infrequent and very short. Charlotte’s desperation was a tad too much without seeing the situation in its entirety. BUT about 3/4 of the way through, the story changes from watching snails race to watching a lap of the Indy 500. It’s the type of ending that makes you ask “It’s over already?” AND with the tear-jerker scene and the unexpected twist…If the entire book was like the end I would rate this 5 skulls. If only.
The characters in this story didn’t impress me much (until the end.) Sarah, Charlotte’s best friend, often gets into trouble with the law, but has the money to pay bail. Her mother is a charity fanatic, and her doctor is her only father figure. Charlotte was a love-struck teenager that, in my opinion, had a choice that was obvious. Either fight evil by creating peace, or become undead and stay with your drop-out boyfriend that is ridiculously in love with her. For me, that’s a no-brainer. But of course for Charlotte it’s a hard choice. It’s the first 3/4 of the book that Charlotte is exposed to these choices, and she develops a stubbornness to stay remembered. It’s the last quarter of the book that the pressure to choose is closing in, and the Need becomes even more persistent and heart wrenching.
I absolutely love the concept of the Need. Okay, so I’d rather not actually experience them, but the concept in a book is a sure-fire way to make the tears roll. Literally. I have never cried during a book (except my eyes got watery reading the end of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, but that’s not full out crying). Tears were literally rolling down my face as I read the last Need Charlotte accomplished, and for some odd reason that scene is my favorite scene out of the whole book. So, to shed some light on what I’m talking about, down below is a snippet of the scene.
He smiles. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he says.
Tingles race over my skin. “You have?”
He nods. “Saw you once, when Roderick died. You were in the hospital with him. Of course, not as you are now, but I recognize you still.”
My lips part and I want to pull my hand out of his, oddly afraid of his words. But as I meet his eyes, his glow goes out and my vision returns. I see his chest rising and falling slower. He’s almost gone and I still don’t know why I’m here.
“Your mother?” I ask. “Do you want me to call her?”
He closes his eyes and then shakes his head. “No, she passed away a few months ago. She talked to me though. Apologized.”
I exhale, feeling relieved. I thought that maybe I was here to help him reconcile with his family, to heal some of that hurt. But it seems that already happened.
“Then why am I here, Warren?” I don’t even mean to ask it out loud. But he looks at me so sadly that I feel my entire body shudder from the sorrow.
“Because I don’t want to die alone.”
A Need So Beautiful Series:
FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of A Need So Beautiful. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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