NEED, by Carrie Jones, Bloomsbury, 2009, New York, hardcover, 320 pages, $16.99.
Thanks to Harry Potter and “Twilight,” the supernatural has become a hot topic for young-adult readers.
Now Ellsworth author Carrie Jones has created an admirable new effort in this field.
At the heart of “Need” is Zara, a troubled teen in transition. Zara’s beloved stepfather has just died suddenly, and her mother doesn’t know how to handle the depressed girl. So she ships Zara from her native Charleston, S.C., to live with her grandmother Betty in rural Maine.
Zara has an unusual hobby. She collects phobias. Her philosophy is that if you can name your fears, you can have control over them. She soon finds out that knowledge about a subject isn’t always enough.
Once in Bedford (named for Jones’ hometown in New Hampshire), Zara has the usual new-girl worries, such as learning to drive in snow and having to make friends at school. She has a peculiar problem as well, as she’s being stalked by a shadowy figure.
Zara and her group of outsider friends start researching some of the odd happenings that have plagued Bedford for years. They discover that one supernatural group is pursuing her, while other paranormal beings become her allies. A big showdown ensues, for the soul of the town.
While “Need” definitely has teen appeal, it’s a book that, like the best in this genre, will attract adult readers as well. It will fulfill a need for many.