Wendy Darling's Reviews > A Need So Beautiful

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
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Dec 08, 11

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bookshelves: read-2011, pn-angels, young-adult, 2011-publication
Read from November 17 to 19, 2011

This was almost a really good book. Angel books are tricky anyway, perhaps because they can't rely so much on the sexy-dangerous vibes of other paranormal creatures such as vampires or werewolves, and then there's a certain expectation of a higher purpose being fulfilled. It's a fine line to balance that greater calling along with making a character relatable and sympathetic, so it's no wonder that we don't see very many good ones. It's very strange, then, to find an angel YA book that does the most difficult elements of an angel book very, very well, but somehow falls short in the everyday life stuff.

Charlotte is an angel whose purpose is to help those in need, but she's destined to be forgotten by everyone she has ever known. Day by day, her Need grows stronger and her ties to the earth grow more tenuous, and Charlotte becomes increasingly distraught over the thought of having to leave everyone she loves behind, including her adoptive family, her best friend, and her boyfriend Harlin.

The way that Charlotte's purpose is described, and the anecdotes with her fulfilling her Need, are well-written and appropriately serious, and I enjoyed the rather lovely imagery of piece by golden piece of her true skin being revealed each time she helps someone. What moved me to a surprising degree, however, were the moments when Charlotte realizes the terrible price she must personally pay for this calling, and her unhappiness when she thinks about having lived a life that no one else remembers. Memory is an important part of our human experience, and the loneliness of Charlotte's plight seemed unbearably sad to me.

This story's greatest weakness, however, is an overemphasis on Charlotte's relationship with--you guessed it--her boyfriend Harlin. We haven't even gotten to know her very well before we're entrenched in the hot and heavy goings-on of their (already existing) relationship. It's always annoying when books that aren't specifically romance novels spend so much time focusing on the boyfriend, and it's especially irritating when one of the two is an angel who should be worried about much more important things. The really good angel books are the ones that manage to find a good balance between human life, angel duties, and romantic entanglements, such as Unearthly or Angel Burn or Mercy. I wish that A Need So Beautiful had spent less time on this rather uninteresting romance (which has a too-neat, easily guessed twist at the end) and more time fleshing out the other elements in the story.

Still, the ending was pretty awesome, and the angel parts were interesting enough that I'll be checking out the next book to see where the story goes. I'm a little afraid of the sequel's blurb, however, since it seems to emphasize the relationship aspect even more. I really, truly hope that's not the case, since the other elements of this scenario are so much more engaging and there's potential for this to be a great angel series...if only we could, once again, take the focus off the romance. It's just terribly sad when girls in life and girls in books keep losing sight of themselves whenever a hot boy is on the horizon.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.
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Reading Progress

11/18/2011 page 67
25.0% "Hm! This has suddenly gotten a lot more interesting." 4 comments
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Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)

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Karen Oooh! This one's not too bad. The premise is interesting, but the character development just falls flat. I wrote a review if you want to check it out.


Wendy Darling So far I like it, though I am a little put off by the MC's obsession with her boyfriend. And I'm not totally sold on her yet, though I like all the stuff having to do with her visions. I'll definitely come check out your review once I've finished reading this and have written mine! That is, if I can find it. You guys and your name switches...


Karen Tee hee. It's me, Karen :D (I'll probably be switching back my tomorrow)

My only major beef with this one is the insta love. It's worse that in any other book I've read.


Wendy Darling Hah, I know it's you, silly! Though it took me a little while to figure it out. I'll grit my teeth through the romance part of this, then. (There's not another love interest, though, is there??)


Karen Wendy Darling wrote: "Hah, I know it's you, silly! Though it took me a little while to figure it out. I'll grit my teeth through the romance part of this, then. (There's not another love interest, though, is there??)"

Nope! No other love interest.
Thank god another love triangle would have finished me off.


Wendy Darling Phew! I was worried for a second there was a triangle on top of everything else.


message 7: by JJ. (new) - rated it 2 stars

JJ. ^ The sequel's blurb, however...


Wendy Darling Uh oh, really? :-(

I won't look until I'm done with this one!


message 9: by JJ. (new) - rated it 2 stars

JJ. Hopefully, the blurb was just bluffing. They do sometimes hint at relationships that aren't really that important in the actual book.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed reading this book (at least, I did when I when I read it this summer), and I'm curious to see what you think of it!


Wendy Darling So far it's keeping my interest, Jen! Look forward to comparing notes when I'm done. :)


Karen Aaaah! You're done! Can't wait for your review.


Wendy Darling Things I loved, things I disliked, and then things I thought I could have been fleshed out better. But wow, what an ending, eh? I'm really curious about the sequel now!


Karen I agree with Jen about the sequel. The blurb just makes me want to hide out in my room and cry.


Wendy Darling Yeah. Since this book was already unbalanced with the romance part, it scares me that the sequel's blurb focuses so much on what could be a triangle. Bleh, tell me more about her NEEDS.


message 15: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ Hmmm...I have this one in my TBR but have always shied away from it. I don't like the concept of her being forgotten by everyone.


Wendy Darling Honestly, that part was really sad, Rachel. Although emotional junkie that I am, I thought it was one of the strongest parts of the book.


message 17: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ I am a bit of an emotional junkie too. I don't mind heartbreak as long as it turns out okay in the end.(I'm a shallow happily-ever-after girl) Which with sequels coming I guess it's not a guarantee in this first book.


message 18: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ Does anyone know if there is going to be a third book?


Wendy Darling Well...this one might be kind of hard on you, then. I don't want to say any more for fear of spoiling anything, but as you pointed out, there is a sequel coming out next year.

I could only find information on the two books in this series so far, Rachel, though it's kind of interesting that her 2013 book The Program also touches on memory issues.


message 20: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ Hmmm...maybe it's not a trilogy but set in the same world? I think I'm going to wait until book two is out.


Wendy Darling Maybe! And that might be a good idea if you're hesitating. :)


Donna I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one. By your rating, it seems you had some reservations about a few things as well.


Wendy Darling Yes, there are parts I really liked and parts that I really wish hadn't been there. Look forward to comparing notes, Donna!


Donna Me too Wendy. I was wondering if the horrible narration on the audio was responsible for the majority of the disconnect I felt with this.


Wendy Darling Hah. Probably not. ;)


message 26: by JJ. (new) - rated it 2 stars

JJ. I agree with you that the story's main weakness was the emphasis on romance. I was quite indifferent about this book until the point where Charlotte begins to realize the consequences of giving into the Need. That was about when things started getting exciting.


Sasha Agreed! focus NOT on the romance please! :)


Wendy Darling Exactly, Jen! More about the angel stuff, please.

And Sasha, if only we ran the world... ;)


message 29: by K. (new)

K. All of the defects aside, I really love the title...like, really love it.


Wendy Darling It is great, isn't it? So is the cover. The sequel's is pretty spiffy, too.

A Want So Wicked (A Need So Beautiful, #2) by Suzanne Young


message 31: by Reynje (new)

Reynje "it's especially irritating when one of the two is an angel who should be worried about much more important things."

This is such a great line!


Reading Vacation I love how you write your reviews. They are detailed, but don't give away the story. And you bring up things I don't usually see in reviews - like too much about the relationship.


Wendy Darling Oh thanks, RVM! I rather enjoy the challenge of writing non-spoilery reviews. :) The ones where I'm mixed about a book, like this one, are always harder than the ones I really like or really dislike.

And it's true, Reynje...save the world or cry over your boyfriend? You decide.


Reading Vacation Wendy - Just so you know, I am Melina & I am 12, so my account has to be in my mom's name. It's really me making the comments though. = )


Wendy Darling Hi Melina--oh yes, I remember reading that on your profile! No worries, glad to have you here. :)


Nafiza I see what you mean but honestly, I loved the ending so much that the stuff I didn't like paled in comparison. It was unexpected and had a lot of heart to it. Now I just hope the next book continues somewhat in the same vein. Have you read Muse, the latest Mercy book yet?


Wendy Darling The ending was spectacular, Nafiza--a really bold choice, and I like where it puts her now. And I agree, the angelic parts had a lot of heart to it, much more so than most angel books. Fingers crossed for the next one!

I haven't read anything other than the first Mercy book yet. I'm really hoping that they continue to be good...


Nafiza The second one is just as good. The third one is, I'm hoping, the in-between book that is just setting things up for the next one.


Wendy Darling Oh wow, there are going to be 4 Mercy books?? I hadn't realized that.

A lot of people didn't seem to like Mercy herself, but I did. She actually feels the most angel-like to me of all the angel girls I've read about so far.


Nafiza Yeah, her specific "otherness" is very different from girls parading around as angels. Lim also works in the usual angel mythology very interestingly though it falters in the latest book but I'm hoping the last book pulls it all together.


Wendy Darling Hm, intriguing. :) You've whetted my appetite, I can't wait to read the others! It's annoying that they're being published so much later here than in other places.


message 42: by Reynje (new)

Reynje You have friends in far away places who could readily obtain these for you, Wendy *wink wink* Just say the word..


Wendy Darling Oh Miss Reynje, what a mess of trouble you've opened yourself up to by offering to send me Aussie YA!

*rubs hands gleefully*

*sharpens pencils*

But only if you tell me what you'd like from our fair country, too. Sadly, as I keep telling Jo, I cannot ship hot cowboys from Wyoming.


message 44: by Reynje (new)

Reynje Oh that's a pity :( *crosses off wishlist*

I will email you :)


Wendy Darling Hee hee, if only I could! :) But yes, happy packages to and fro would be lovely.


Pricky I just finished this one. I felt like the "angel bits" took such a back seat to the relationship. I wish the author spent less time on it or at least involving it more into Charlotte's dilemma.

Also, was it weird to you that the first time Harlin and Charlotte even met, they (view spoiler)?


Wendy Darling I agree, Pricky--this book was really sabotaged by the relationship. I rated it a bit more generously because I was surprised by the ending, in a good way. But the description for the sequel leads me to believe it's just as romance-focused, which is a shame.


the golden witch. Have to agree re: Harlin. :/ But I loved the rest of it.


A Canadian Girl I totally agree with that last sentence. It's like authors are worried that we won't read their book if there's no romance.

I doubt I'll read the sequel but I'll definitely read your review if and when you write it, Wendy :)


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