Need – Joelle Charbonneau


Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Publication Date: 3rd November 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: eARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group / HMH Books for Young Readers via Netgalley (Thank you!)

Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.


 This book has such a good concept, and although it’s exaggerated I do believe that it represents the threat that technology presents extremely accurately. Worryingly, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that the very basic idea of the website Need created in this book could one day be a reality. I honestly hope not.

The plot was so interesting, and so many things happened. Although it was fast paced I never really got confused with the events and what was actually occurring, although I did find myself getting confused about who was involved with what – I’ll move onto that later. So many unexpected things happened and I read this so quickly, desperate to find out what would follow. I loved the way that the plot took turns that were completely unexpected and it was such a good read because of this.

I’m not normally a fan of thrillers, I have to say, and I only read the ones that really grab my attention so the fact that I enjoyed this shows that it was good. It totally gripped me and I could not put it down once I’d gotten into it.

There was one thing that really frustrated me with this book though, and that was the multiple viewpoints. Now I’m normally a fan of more than one perspective, as it gives more information and other ideas, especially necessary in a book like this. But I just got so confused with them in Need. There were far too many narrators and the only one I could really get into and enjoy was Kaylee, who featured more than the others (which makes sense eventually) and is written in first person. I’m not talking about two or three viewpoints, I mean there were ten and I literally just got to the point where I couldn’t remember who a certain character was and what his backstory / reasons were and I feel like I lost some of the story there. It was great to get more insight and be able to make links between everything that happens but I found I would have to flick back to remember things in order to make these links.

Kaylee was a character I liked, although she could be annoying! But I found that I could relate to her in some ways and at the end of the day it was easier to sympathise with her because she was realistic. She just wants to do the right thing, but sometimes she ends up doing the exact opposite without meaning to. I think that makes people human – everybody has tried to do something good but had the opposite effect. So yeah, I liked Kaylee, though I can completely understand why people don’t like her as she can come across as slightly irritating and persistent.

I did love the way that all of the stories were connected in some way or another. I loved how the chain of events lead from one thing to another all because of greed, it really said something about how humanity is primarily selfish and driven by their greed, doing anything in order to get what they want. People didn’t  consider the consequences of their actions until it was too late and I do think that’s true of the majority of society.

I would definitely recommend this book as it highlights an important issue in society. It shows how even those who don’t particularly want to be a part of something still get dragged in and that social media can have a disastrous effect. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I look forward to picking up more by the author, as this was the first that I have read of hers.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars.


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