*I received a free copy of Need from HMH Books for Young Readers via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on 3 November 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
"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.
Need is a chilling tale about how far the anonymity of the internet could go if we let it. Putting others behind wants for new and shiny things is not new, but the way this was facilitated in Need made the story quite horrifying.
My Need review:
Need takes social media stalking and bullying to a whole new level, and it’s very hard to see who can be trusted, and who the main character should stay very far away from! With a layered plot, a solid story and characters that are realistic and flawed, Need appealed to me in many ways! Everybody who has a social media account knows how important it is to be polite and show respect online… especially because there are always trolls who want to make even that a difficult experience for some users. In Need, this is taken to another level, when only those who are students at Nottawa High can become members on a new social platform. And the first question they get is ‘What do you NEED?’
Hiding behind anonymous screen-names, all the students get to ask for something they feel like they have to have. Some ask for a new phone or computer, Kaylee, however has something to ask for, something her brother can’t live without. She needs a new kidney for him! Written from the point of view of several different characters, showing the readers how they make their choices, and how far they are ready to go in order to receive what they asked for, the story is really both chilling and scary, because the boundaries between what happens online and what happens in the real world are blurred so quickly! Delivering a box of cookies on someone’s doorstep is no problem, right? And writing the name of someone else in the order book for cookies to be delivered is simply an innocent prank, isn’t it? And it really seemed like that, until one of the students died from eating peanuts in her cookies… And those cookies might not have been delivered to her by chance.
Even following nine different characters wasn’t a hardship at all when it came to this story, I was actually very excited to get into the head of all of them! Seeing what motivated them, and what scared them, and they all had very distinct voices, so it was truly part of the thrill of the story. And with each new aspect of the story, the actions of the characters become more serious, as they also start to feel like they can trust no one. At the same time, most of them are greedy enough to continue, even when they start to understand that the new social network is not as innocent as others they have used, and death becomes their new normal. Kaylee is the protagonist, even if many of the characters get the space to share their thoughts as well, and it took me no time at all to feel connected to her and her quest to save her brother.
If you are in the mood for a dark story, where greed and unhappiness is what makes the world spin out of control, you should pick Need up, as soon as you possibly can!
Some of my favorite Need quotes:
Personally, I think they make Nate’s blond good looks less perfect, which is not a bad thing. He needs a flaw. Or twelve. Of course, I have enough flaws for both of us. The attention-seeking drama queen and the neglected, nonathletic brother. We’re so different and yet, at the core, we’re the same.
“Yeah, but…” But what? I’m not exactly sure. There’s something about this whole setup that bugs me. Or maybe it’s just the question we asked – What do you need? Because I know what need is, and it’s not another phone.
A Tale of Two Cities. Even the title sounds boring. Her teacher swore she wasn’t really assigning homework this holiday. She said she was giving everyone the gift of a wonderful story. Yeah, right. If that were the case, there would be a hot guy on the cover.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: