Author: Nyrae Dawn
Series: What A Boy Wants (#2)
Date Published: June 2012
Buy It: Amazon or B&N
Jaden Sinclair knows he'll never amount to anything...so why would he deserve a girl like Priscilla Mendoza?
Since last summer, things have been screwed up between Jaden and Pris. He knows it's his fault, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to go a few rounds with her new boyfriend. He also knows he’s the loser his dad calls him, but it doesn’t stop him from wanting her.
After getting a huge bomb dropped on him, Jaden lashes out and lands himself in jail. Everything in his chaotic life is turned upside down and to make it worse, his mom kicks him out in order to side with his dad. Yeah, he’s totally a prize for a girl like Pris.
Sebastian, Aspen, and Pris are all going places in their lives...and he knows he can't keep tagging along for the ride.
The group has one last chance for The Epic Adventure they've been looking for: a road trip to New York, where Jaden's friends will be going to college. Unfortunately, the more time Jaden hangs around Pris, the harder it is to keep the carefully constructed walls between them so she doesn't find out what a train wreck he really is.
When the trip ends, Jaden has to decide if he's ready to say goodbye to his friends, and the girl he loves. He knows what he needs, but will he be man enough to go for it?
After reading What A Boy Wants and loving it so much I knew I had to read What A Boy Needs right away. I wasn't really prepared for the difference between the two books. Sebastian is a comical character and he loves his friends unconditionally. What A Boy Wants is light and funny. What A Boy Needs is written from Sebastian's friend, Jaden's, point-of-view. Jaden, while laid back on the outside, is a tortured soul on the inside. Sebastian hints that Jaden has problems at home in What A Boy Wants, but it's not until you see it from his point-of-view that you realize just how bad Jaden's home life is. His father hates him and has never let him forget it. He tells him that he's worthless and will never be anything. As if that's not bad enough he find out that he's not his real father. But the part that really bothers him is that his mom has let him make Jaden's life miserable anyway. It's apparent right away that Jaden has some real baggage he needs to deal with.
"He steps into the room. He's never put his hands on me. Sometimes I think it would be easier to deal with than his words that still rot inside me long after physical wounds would heal."
"That's right! You think you're going to New York with your friends soon, right? How are you going to do that? Mooch off them? I know you don't have any money and you sure as hell aren't getting anymore of mine. Eighteen years is enough of that. Pretty soon they'll get tired of picking up your slack, kid. It won't take them long to realize what I've always known. You're not worth it. You're not worth anything."
What A Boy Needs picks up a year after What A Boy Wants. The friends are graduating from high school, and the plan is to take a road trip to NYC where the girls will be going to college. This has always been the plan. For years they have talked about it. But now that it's time Jaden is hesitant. Everything his father has said to him starts to well up inside. And then there's Priscilla. Where Jaden has nothing, Pris has everything. Her father is the DA, they are loaded. Her parents give her anything she wants, but not the love and attention she needs. Jaden knows he will never be good enough for her. Priscilla wonders if she will ever be enough to break down Jaden's walls.
"Priscilla's face buries into my shirt as she lets go; big, sobbing cries that vibrate through me. Wetness seeps through my shirt, but I don't care. All I want to do right now is make it better. Take care of her. That's what you do, right? When someone is important to you, you take care of them. You try to take their pain away, pull it into yourself if you can, because it's easier to fight her demons for her than to risk someone scarring her."
"My body is a cracked mirror, lines spider-webbing out from the central breaking point. My chest, my head and the rest of me does the same. How can she think she's not enough for me?"
While there is still a lot of the familiar banter between the friends the dynamics of What A Boy Needs is different. Everyone knows that Jaden has a lot going on that he is trying to deal with, but they don't know how to help him, so the mood is darker. We still get to see the amazing bond between these four friends. When Jaden feels like running they always stand in his way making sure he knows they love him. I enjoyed watching the phases that Jaden goes through on his way to healing and learning to live his own life.
"Views are so freaking skewed -- the way people see each other and the way they see themselves. Anything can change them or alter them. What you see on the outside usually isn't what you get on the inside and that's what matters. Actions. What you put into the universe or whatever. Right now I feel like more of a man than I ever have."
I really liked What A Boy Wants, but I loved What A Boy Needs! I love the friendship and the banter. I love how dedicated Sebastian, Aspen, Jaden and Pris are to one another. Real friends like that are hard to find. Nyrae Dawn is an amazing author and I plan to keep her on my radar. These two books are most definitely at the top of my favorites list.
5 Stars * * * * *