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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (June 21, 2011)
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?

Book Opening:
"I sit on the front steps of St. Vincent's Cathedral and pick at the moss nestled in the cracks of the concrete. I'm waiting for Sarah- as usual." A Need So Beautiful

Notable Scene:
"The force of it hits me. A shiver that runs from my toes to the top of my aching head. An intense burning in my shoulder. A vine that twists around my gut.

The Need. It's back."- Page 77 ARC version
A Need So Beautiful stormed into my life with both guns blazing and immediately captured my heart. Normally when I sit down to read, so many things can easily distract me- cell phone, email- you name it. Not this time. I read this book entirely in one sitting. When was the last time you read a book in one sitting from start to finish? Let me tell you, that is not a normal occurrence for me. But right from page one, A Need So Beautiful captured my interest and I relished every minute of it!

 I loved how Suzanne Young took the angelic element, and reworked it into something entirely her own. I have never read a book where the main protagonist has an overwhelming “Need” to help people and then was faced with the fact that everyone would soon forget her as she slowly and painfully disappeared from their memories. This was so fresh and exciting to me. Also, I can't express enough how much I appreciated that Young did not resort to the standard “we lock eyes and now we’re instantly in love” routine so prevalent throughout the YA genre today. Charlotte was already in a committed relationship with the dreamy Harlin as the book began—I loved this departure from the norm. Why can't we see more of this in YA?  As for Harlin himself, he was definitely my kind of guy. A dangerous looking bad boy on the outside but with a heart of gold on the inside. But the best part? He didn’t just serve in the book to be the token boyfriend—he was an important plot driver and his relationship with Charlotte only deepened my affection for both of their characters.  I also thought Suzanne Young transitioned beautifully between moments of pain and pleasure. I never felt bogged down by the emotional burden of Charlotte’s situation and I always felt connected with all the people in Charlotte's life. From troubled best friend Sarah, to Mercy, Charlotte's good-hearted foster mother, each character was unique and memorable. All were important to the story and Charlotte’s bonds with the people in her life only strengthened my connection to her and the choices she was being forced to make. 

A Need So Beautiful was a book with a beautiful premise and thought-provoking questions.  If you are expecting your run-of-the-mill paranormal romance, do not be mistaken. This is not your typical YA book. Charlotte was no socially awkward, passive teenage girl waiting for a super hot supernatural boy to burst into her life and give it meaning. Her character was  built instead with an inner strength that evolved as she was pushed further and further to her limits. To sum up, A Need So Beautiful was a contemporary, unique novel, both engaging and entertaining with its strong, sympathetic female protagonist and lingering questions of self-sacrifice, love and the power of memories. I absolutely can’t wait for the sequel.

 More books by Suzanne Young: 
The Naughty ListSo Many Boys: A Naughty List Novel

Suzanne YoungSuzanne Young currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she uses the rainy weather as an excuse to stay inside and write obsessively. After earning her degree in creative writing, Suzanne spent several years teaching middle school language arts. Now she can be found at home chasing after her two children and writing novels for teens. Learn more about Suzanne at www.suzanne-young.blogspot.com.


Denise Z said...

I have been following this tour and it sounds like an interesting read.

Alexa said...

Great review, I can't wait to read this one. :)

Bere said...

Oh wow I definitely need to get this one. Brilliant review, Kim. You've just made me want to read this one, asap! It sounds incredibly interesting. Can't wait. Thanks, Kim! =D

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

This one does sound good. But I worried that I've heard so much good stuff about it that my expectations are too high! So part of me is afraid to read it because what if I end up feeling let down.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what I thought this was going to be like, but you've made it sound really good, a departure from most of what's out there right now.