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A Letter to Carrie Jones

I just finished reading Need. At 11:11 last night. I thought about just doing a formal review, but I know Carrie sometimes stops by, and-really--the review wasn't going to say it right. So...

Dear Carrie,

I was having a lousy weekend. Too many things needed doing, and I didn't want to do any of them. I tried, but it just wasn't happening. So I decided what I really needed was a retreat. And I picked up your book.

Here's what you did for me:

You spooked me. You tied my stomach in little knots and kept tightening them. You had me turning the pages as fast as I could to see what was happening next, to find out if Zara would be okay. Despite the fact that, as an experienced reader, I really did know that she would. Still. I had to see it happen. I watched her be tested in one of the darkest, scariest, most suspenseful scenes I've read in a YA novel, and I fretted and worried, as helpless as the friend who was with her, to do anything if she wasn't up to the test.

And in the middle of all this tension, all this beautiful, lovely creepiness, you made me smile. And laugh. And cheer. My favorite line of the book and definitely in my top-ten of all times: 

     I smile at her and mutter in my head, "Nice shoes made by child slaves in Asia, materialistic Barbie."

You made me love, or hate, every one of your characters, and you made me worry about all the good guys, not just your hero, and not just for the BIG danger, but for all their smaller, as-important, personal worries. Go, Issie!

And as a writer, you gave me the answer to some questions I've been wrestling with about my own WIP. You showed me that, in a tense, gripping, serious novel, the "fun, light" parts are brief moments of connection, insight, renewal, and power. You showed me that it can be done, and you made me believe I can do it. You made me believe I should do it.

You have found your sweet spot, Carrie. This book is flying on all cylinders, as though the thread of solid, creepy danger that you've woven through has brought all your wonderful humor and characterization and storytelling into the perfect place.

My grandmother always held up a standard: Write those thank-you notes. So, Carrie, thank you, for the book that kept me reading way too late last night, and turned my weekend around. Excuse me while I trot off to some bookstore sites to plant a slightly shorter, much less fluttery review online!

Becky

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
beckylevine
Feb. 2nd, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
I was being blown away and having an incredibly fun ride at the same time!
(Deleted comment)
beckylevine
Feb. 2nd, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
I was so tired last night & could NOT put it down.
ext_158080
Feb. 2nd, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
What an amazing review! I've been planning to read this book because I love Carrie, but I hadn't gotten to it yet because the stack beside my bed is enormous so I feel guilty every time I add to it! But if it gripped you that way, it has just become a must-read for me!
beckylevine
Feb. 3rd, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
It's been sitting on my nightstand for a while, too, and I've been trying to get through some research nonfiction reading--but I needed a breather, and it was perfect.
kidlit_kim
Feb. 2nd, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
What a sweet note!

I loved NEED too!
beckylevine
Feb. 3rd, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Great book!
jeannineatkins
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
sounds like the perfect book at a perfect time. Carrie writes books faster than I can read them. But I'm so looking forward to this, especially now.
carriejones
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh God, Becky.
You made me cry.

In a really good way.

You are... Well, you sure made my day. Thanks.

Okay my week.

Okay my month.

I have to go get tissues now.

Thank you for being so kind and liking NEED and blogging about it.

This is the best letter I've ever received.

TISSUES! I NEED TISSUES!
beckylevine
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Okay, now blot up those tears and remember that you ARE an incredible writer! Seriously, okay?! :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )