A Need So Beautiful: review

November 30, 2011 2011, 3.5 star books, angels, suzanne young, Wendy 11

A Need So Beautiful
by Suzanne Young

This was almost a really great 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 that are so much more engaging, and there’s potential for a great angel series…if only we could, once again, take the focus off the hot boy.

Rated 3. 5 out of 5 stars

11 Responses to “A Need So Beautiful: review”

  1. Wendy Darling

    Thanks so much, ladies! Angel books are pretty difficult to get right. I liked a lot of things about this one, enough to check out the sequel at least!

  2. Mimi Valentine

    Awww, I remember seeing this a while back and thinking, “I REALLY NEED TO READ THIS!” The whole idea of it looks so cool! :) But I definitely agree about how so many angel books put too much on the romance, Wendy! It always makes you wonder because (like you said) angels have so many important things to do other than fall in love! Balance is really important.

    Amazing review as always, Wendy! Even despite those things, I think this still looks like a good read and I’m excited to pick it up! :)

  3. Melliane

    I hope it will be much better for the sequel. I really love this cover, it’s really beautiful I think. It sounds like a nice story.

  4. Jenny

    Angel stories are usually hit or miss with me, and I had high hopes for this one. I love the overall premise of it and I’m curious to see if the strong emphasis on the romance rather than her angel duties would bother me. I think you’re right about Unearthly being a beautiful balance of both the romance and the angel lore, I loved that one too! Thanks for such a well thought out review:)

  5. kay - Infinite Shelf

    Most of the angel books I’ve read have been disappointing (though to be fair I haven’t read the ones you names at the end of your review, yet!) but this one sounds like it actually got some good in it. I definitely plan on reading it!

  6. thelibrarianreads

    Glad you said it! I hate when you have a potentially strong, kick-butt girl character who is completely brought down/obsessed with a guy. Always much stronger when that takes a backseat a la The Hunger Games.

    That being said, I was just staring at this book sitting on my shelf last night. Def. still have to do it…lol

  7. Freak-YA-tastic

    I’ve got this book but didn’t read it for now. I like books about angels, but I was a little disappointed by Halo so I was always putting away A Need So Beautiful to read others. Now, I’m more appealed because of what you wrote about the end. I’m a curious freak!