Book Review: NEED by Joelle Charbonneau

20550148***I received a copy of NEED this fall via NetGalley. I had fallen behind on reading all my ARCs so when I came across this at the library, I finally picked it up.  I am a fan of Joelle Charbonneau.  I read her Testing series and thought this storyline sounded intriguing:

“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. (Goodreads)

What I Loved:

  • The premise of this book:  Teens are drawn to this social networking site that will grant them wishes for things they “need.”  I see this in my own students and children.  They want to believe that everything on the Internet is beneficial and can help them.  The reality is we really have to think about the decisions we make when we use technology.  There is a dark side to technology and it can affect us in ways we don’t realize.
  • The book was fast paced and intriguing enough to keep me up at night and wanting to figure out who is behind NEED.  I did have a few nightmares while reading this.  Not because it was so scary, but because I could picture someone actually creating a social media site like this and children/teens falling into this trap. It disheartens me that we live in a society where people don’t realize their “pranks” may have serious consequences and are truly horrible crimes.

What I Struggled With:

  • Following the story through the eyes of so many characters:  Each chapter was told from the point of view of a different character. Because there were so many of them (Kaylee, Hannah, Gina, Sydney, Ethan, Bryan, Lynn, Yvonne, Sameena, Amanda, etc), I didn’t feel like I was able to get to know most of the characters very well. Kaylee was the only character that the author spent time developing and even then, I didn’t feel this compassion for her that I think the author intended to happen.
  • The ending:  while I don’t want to give away the end, I was disappointed.  It was anticlimactic. IT JUST ENDED!

In the end, I gave this book 3.5/5 stars.  I didn’t get bored as I read it and I do think there are kids who will want to read Need and find it more interesting than I did.

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