Friday, March 17, 2017


Need. Joelle Charbonneau. 2015. HMH. 335 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Want: A desire to possess or do something, a wish. Need: Something required because it is essential. Something very important that you cannot live without. What do you need?
"See Kaylee. It's fascinating, right?" Nate swivels in my desk chair and grins, showing off the braces he will finally get removed next week.

Premise/plot: Kaylee, the heroine of NEED, is caught up in life-or-death mystery because she signs up for a new social media account without reading the terms and conditions. I exaggerate slightly. The point being, NEED, is a local, experimental social media experience. The experiment base is just her high school. Each user is assigned an ID, use of their real names is prohibited. The site asks each high school student: WHAT DO YOU NEED? They answer, and, their needs are processed and granted. But the creators of the site are more than immoral and dangerous, they're out to test how quick and easy they can turn a normal teen into a criminal.

My thoughts: If you're looking for a mindless read, something to be consumed and quickly forgotten, then NEED might work for you. This isn't an intellectual read that holds up to analysis. In fact, the more you question the characters, the motivation of each character, the premise, one sees that it's like a dream. It makes its own crazy sense while you're asleep, but, as soon as you wake up you're like WHAT?!

NEED has at least half a dozen narrators. Each is a teen who has signed up for NEED. Each has put in his/her own request. Almost all have been asked to do something in response to signing up. For some, it's merely giving email addresses and inviting others to join. For others, it's bizarre requests. [SPOILER: Deliver a box. Leave a note on someone's porch. But soon those requests are out of control. Switch out the Tylenol pills for these pills. Dig a grave in a neighbor's yard. Tie up your friend and leave him/her in this abandoned building.]

In NEED few--if any--characters question the morality of their individual actions OR question the consequences of their actions. Kaylee is really the only character that asks WHY? And is curious enough to want to know HOW everything is connected.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Cee Arr 1:59 PM  

What a premise! I love it when books come up with something a little off-key.

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