Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: A Need So Beautiful

Title: A Need So Beautiful

Author: Suzanne Young

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
 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.

Frankly, this book was pretty boring. It didn't do anything unpredictable, so each plot "twist" made me think, Great...sooo...when's dinner? The only thing that really kept me reading was the question of if Charlotte would give into being a Forgotten or end up living immortally on Earth like Onika (Okina? How's it spelled? I'm too lazy to look it up). 

The book is well-written, and I think the problem is that the writing was wasted on a pretty standard plot line. I can tell Young really put some thought into her concepts about the Forgotten and the Seers and the Shadows, but the story line was very disjointed. We have the Sarah-and-her-daddy-issues plot, the Harlin-the-boyfriend plot, the Charlotte's-glowing-skin plot, and finally the Monroe-Onika-Seer-Charlotte plot. There are a lot of components to A Need So Beautiful, but I don't think Young was able to fluidly interconnect the pieces. Also, she just left us hanging on the most important bits. The evil Shadows that Monroe keeps mentioning--they don't play any part in the plot other than acting as the figurative scapegoats for Charlotte's problems. 

Furthermore, everything was black and white. Charlotte and co. don't carry the necessary depth to pull off a story that is measured on how connected the readers get with the characters. This book is essentially posing the question, "If you were destined to be forgotten by your loved ones, what would you do?" And when Charlotte has to come to terms with her Forgotten status, it's pretty important that we feel the torment and indecision alongside her. But I didn't really feel like Young managed to pull off the poignancy very well. It would've helped if the characters were fleshed out more. Charlotte whined the entire book (We get it. You don't want to be a Forgotten. Now, try to stop crying, for the love of God), so we didn't get to see her express much range of emotion. This problem was further worsened by the secondary characters, Sarah and Harlin. Sarah fell right into the snobby, rich girl stereotype, and Harlin did little to express any emotion that contradicted his sensitive, tormented persona. 

If anything saved this book, it was the ending. The last scene was rather tough to get through, primarily because I knew the story was coming to an end. The last chapter was the climactic "choose good or evil" scene for Charlotte, and this is where Young's writing really shone for me. Also, the end was a semi-cliffhanger, that posed some interesting questions which, if they'd been asked and answered in the actual body of the book, could've provided some more drama and excitement to the plot...SPOILER!!!!!(e.g. Harlin's a Seer? Monroe knew this? What's with the "After" section?).

Overall, the book was kind of boring. But I'm going to read the sequel because the last chapter hinted at an intricate story only skimmed upon in this book.

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