Review: A Need So Beautiful By Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Balzar and Bray – June 2011

When my lovely blogging BFF Jen (from Makeshift Bookmark) tells me so passionately that I need to read something…I do it. Especially since she knows that I’m picky when it comes to the paranormal genre (I need unique and not regurgitated stories), I know that it must really be an excellent read for her to be telling me I must read it. She did not steer me wrong on this one, folks!

The premise seemed promising from the start  (although I think the official summary divulged way more than it needed to) – Charlotte has this “Need” that compels her to, no matter where she is and what she is doing, to go and help somebody. She never knows why she needs to be there or what is going to happen but this “Need” pulls at her against her will and she physically feels pain when she tries to resist it. Her friend thinks she’s got psychic abilities and her boyfriend thinks she’s acting shady when she just runs off in the middle of the night for a reason Charlotte has suspect answers for. When the Need starts to put her in dangerous positions and come more frequently, her relationships start taking a toll. When Charlotte finally gets the answers to what compels her to have these Needs and what she really is, she needs to choose to fight fate or accept it…either choice has a bittersweet ending.

I loved the fact that Charlotte didn’t know what she was or why she has these Needs. I really could feel her anguish and lack of control when these Needs struck. I could really feel how much she wanted to fight it so that she could be there for her friends and family but was torn by these unexplainable feelings that she’d had since she was younger. Uncovering who she was and why she had the Needs alongside of her really connected to me to Charlotte and made this story riveting and unshakeable. I waded through all the information with her as bit by bit she started to figure out who she was and felt attune to the emotions she was feeling. So by the point that she found out what her destiny was and what being a Forgotten really was, the story become heart-wrenching and compelled me to read hastily and with passion because I needed to know what happened next.

Charlotte was a wonderful character which made this book impossible to shake after putting it down. Suzanne Young was able to draw this deep connection between the reader and Charlotte that makes it an emotional and memorable read. I cared about Charlotte and I couldn’t imagine the reality of being a Forgotten. How could you even choose between something that would hurt you tremendously but be for the greater good or choose what you know and what your heart wants but might be bad for the world. It’s a weighty decision to be on the shoulder’s of a young girl. How Charlotte begins to try and reconcile all this only draws you closer to her as she grapples between what is right. She begins all the more human in my opinion because I honestly couldn’t imagine choosing.

Bottom-line: This book was wonderfully written – from the relationships, to her emotions and to the heart pounding ending. The story flowed very well for me and I found myself racing through it and sitting in shock as it ended. I had some tears in these eyes of mine. What I loved most about this was that it was so very unique from all the other paranormal books I’ve read. If you tend to shy away from the  typical heavy paranormal offerings but still want something a a little other-worldly…I’d say this is an excellent pick for you. The emotional response you will have to this book is something that, for me, has been unmatched in most paranormal books. It’s got a strong plot with a unique and refreshing twist on paranormal but only treads lightly in that realm. I think the next book will probably be a bit more heavy on the paranormal realm and I am surely excited for that as A Need So Beautiful was STELLAR and she’s got me hooked. I need to find out what happens to my girl Charlotte!

*Review On A Post-It will come later…I’m at work and don’t have the image I use for it*

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Angel StarTitle/Author: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Publisher/Year: Lands Atlantic Publishing 2010
Why I Read This Book: Either Christina or Katelyn at PAYA. I can’t recall.
How I Got This Book: I bought it at PAYA

When I was younger I loved the idea of a guardian angel– some graceful, beautiful creature that invisibly flies around me and leads me away from danger–which is something I definitely needed as a self proclaimed klutzy child. Or I’d think of some motherly figure like Monica on Touched By An Angel. Thanks to Jennifer Murgia my made-up picture of a fairy-like angel has been absolutely shred to pieces and replaced by a movie star quality, grade A hunk! I am certainly not complaining.

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia revolves around Teagan, a high school girl who gets picked on by the resident “Mean Girls” group at school and isn’t too popular, but she’s got her best friend and her mother on her side. The normalcy of her life is shattered when Garreth, the new mysterious eye candy of the school, shows up and directs his attention towards her. Immediately smitten with him, as if she’s known him all along,  she starts spending time with him and finds out that he bears the mark of an angel–an eight point star. Her perfect fairytale romance is maimed  as she learns that “where there is light, dark follows” and she finds herself in the midst of a battle between that light and darkness that will alter her life and those around her.

As I mentioned in my Sleepless review, I’m new to the paranormal romance genre. I’ve always thought of it as vampires and werewolves and have been pleased to know that it contains much more than that. I know that there ARE paranormal romance books out there that contain angels (Hush, Hush) but I haven’t read them so this is fresh to me!

Having been able to study some angelology in my undergraduate studies, it is always interesting to see the different portrayals of angels in books and movies! I think in some cases books/movies throw angels or other unique creatures into a storyline to spice things up but what you really have is a used up old storyline that could easily be replaced by some other fantastical type of creature and be just the same. Murgia did not fall into this trap. She created her storyline with depth and a rich exploration into the study of angels filled with interesting symbolism and meaning. This was one thought-provoking novel!

I really liked Teagan and found that she was real and strong but not perfect. She wasn’t too stupid to function and she wasn’t needy but she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders but had the capability to make mistakes and to fall blindly sometimes–as I’m sure all of us woman have done at some point in our lives! I found the plot to be paced pretty well–just as soon as I felt a lull in my reading–I found myself sitting straight up with my finger itching to keep turning those pages.

Now on to the imperfections that I would be remiss if I did not mention. I don’t know if this is typical of alot of YA paranormal romance as I’m not  well-read (or just the ones I’m reading) but what is with people falling head over heels the first time they see someone? Fantasy or not, it irks me.  Where is the natural development of the relationship–the discovery, the curiosity, the little tiffs, etc. I understand they had a “connection” but I’d like a little anticipation surrounding the forming of a relationship. Although, I’m sure other people love this element of the book but it isn’t for me. Another minor problem for me was that sometimes things seemed to wrap up too easily for me. It wasn’t a huge problem but I did wish that some of the action lasted a little longer with more of a struggle.

Overall, I found it a fun and suspenseful read that had me contemplating the good and the bad that is inherit in all of us and our propensity to sometimes get caught in that blurred place where the two meet–that place where the allure of each is a force field pulling at our being and our sense of self. I will most definitely be reading the next book in the series when it comes out in 2011.

Rating- 4 stars– Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia is  must read for paranormal romance/fantasy lovers. I think that if you aren’t really into the paranormal romance genre you might still find this enjoyable if you are looking for a book with a good plot that will keep you on the edge of the seat.

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