A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
release date: June 21, 2011
hardcover, 252 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: Around the World ARC Tours
description: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.
There have been others before who’ve felt the Need, but they’re gone—erased from the memories of everyone whose lives they had touched. It's as though they never existed. This is the fate that awaits Charlotte. But the last thing Charlotte wants to do is disappear, to be Forgotten. She wants to stay with her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. She wishes she could just ignore the Need, but she can’t. And as everyone important in her life begins to slowly forget her, she has to decide if she’ll fight the Need in order to remain herself—no matter how dark the consequences.
Review: A Need So Beautiful presents a really unique premise, and while I didn't fall head over heels in love with it, I did enjoy it quite a bit. The story really give you a lot to think about---Charlotte is not so much an angel as she is this being of light whose soul purpose on earth is to guide people to do the right thing and then be instantly forgotten. She feels "The Need" as she calls it, and is compelled, quite painfully I might add, to the place and person where she is needed, but once her message is delivered, its like she was never there. Furthermore, as her time on earth comes to a close, everyone she ever loved or knew starts to forget her. The story is about her struggle with all of this and the temptation to turn to something dark if it means being remembered and loved. This was the part of the story that I really enjoyed, the whole dark vs. light plot, and finding out which path Charlotte would choose. I also really loved the stories behind the people she was drawn to help and how they got into the situation they were in---all really interesting back stories.
I really liked Charlotte. She was pretty normal, in the beginning just kind of rolling with the punches of her strange "Needs" and humoring her best friend when she suspects that Charlotte is psychic. The blurb alludes to the fact that Charlotte's boyfriend, Harlin, thought she was cheating on him, but I didn't really see that anywhere. He was an interesting character; not your everyday variety bad boy---he's hiding a pretty big softy side and he really loved Charlotte. It's kind of funny, while I liked Charlotte and I liked Harlin, I didn't especially like them together. For me, it was a little too much boyfriend worship at the beginning. Whenever he was mentioned, it would be "oh he's so beautiful, oh he's so perfect". (And just a note, for those considering this for younger readers, there is a quite a bit of casual sex going on.) It wasn't until we got into Harlin's history a bit more that I got a feeling for his character. Same with the best friend. Sarah was hard for me to click with---she was selfish and self-destructive. It wasn't until really far into the story that you get a tiny glimpse of her home life and then I was able to feel some compassion for her. Monroe, Charlotte's boss, was meant to be a kind of father-figure to her, but he really just came off as kind of creepy to me---which was actually perfect for propelling the story since his motives often come into question.
A really thought-provoking story that pulled lots of conflicting emotions from me! It was poignant and heart-wrenching and filled with little moments of life lessons about family, love, giving selflessly, remembrance, and taking those little decisions for granted that effect our lives in big ways. Definitely worth a read and the ending left a nice possibility for a sequel.
Visit Suzanne Young's site here.
Pre-order A Need So Beautiful at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository • IndieBound