Saturday, August 22, 2015

Book Review ~ NEED by Joelle Charbonneau

by Joelle Charbonneau

"No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better."

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.

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How far would you go to get something you really think you need? What lines would you cross?  Joelle Charbonneau explores this idea in her new book NEED.  Quite different from The Testing Trilogy (which I loved), NEED is an intense novel that will really make you wonder how far will someone go to get something that they believe they truly need.

Social networking sites pop up all the time – some are worth your time, some not so much.  Imagine for a minute that one came along that was invitational only and it was just for your school and promised that your ‘need’ would be fulfilled if you send out a certain number of friend requests.  If those friends accepted, then your need is quickly given to you.  Sounds like a pretty decent set-up if you ask me.  Need the latest and greatest phone?  Or say perhaps an A on an upcoming test.  No problem with NEED.  Just follow the simple instructions and your wish is granted.  But what if after that first request you want more and to get that next item you really want need, the task to fulfill is progressively harder, more challenging and in most cases illegal.  As with most teenagers, the thought of getting something for free is exciting to say the least, but as we all know, the only thing free in this life is sunburn.  But how far would you go to get that one thing you think you need?  That my dear reader is the premise of NEED and the story within the pages of this book (although far-fetched at times) will take you on an intense journey that will keep you guessing what these kids will do next to get what their hearts desire.  Really, the big question on who is behind NEED will keep you guessing right until the end – and the answer was somewhat unexpected and shocking.

For the most part this was a very interesting read.  I think the thing that bothered me the most was that some of the characters in the book went to such extremes to get the items that they felt they needed.  I just had a hard time wanting to believe that someone would go to such extreme lengths to get what they wanted – or maybe I just lead a very sheltered life and want to believe that these horrible acts wouldn't even be considered – especially from a kid.  Regardless, I enjoyed reading NEED and it kept my interest throughout.  There are several characters in the book, so there is a lot to keep up with, but the author really did a good job keeping everything flowing smoothly.  The ending wrapped up quite nicely, but in my opinion, there seemed to be an opening left for a possible sequel.  I liked the concept of this story, so if there is a sequel, I will probably pick it up.

If you are looking for an engaging read with lots of twists, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend NEED.

3 stars

I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

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