Thursday, October 29, 2015

NEED ~ Joelle Charbonneau (earc) review [@jcharbonneau @hmhkids]

HMH Books for Young Readers
November 3, 2015
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

"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.

If you're looking for a book to restore your faith in humanity, NEED is probably not the place to start. It is full of those everyday people characters that you really, really want to believe are not -- cannot be -- everyday people. You want them to be the outliers, the ones the FBI has people to figure out.

Yet, at the same time, you know that's not true.

And NEED proves it.

People can and will be horrible to each other. They can be shallow and self centered,  The characters in NEED, who, based on appearances, are your normal, average high school students, demonstrate just how easily - and quickly - things can go wrong.

We get the story from several characters, all students at Nottawa High. They all know each other, even if only in passing. They all have opinions on the others, think they know the role they fit into (the mean girl, the quiet boy, the popular guy, etc).

The anonymity of NEED lets readers to see more about the characters than the other characters do. With the alternating viewpoints, we see why someone made a certain wish, what they do, and how they feel about it. The different POVs works well for telling the story, while keeping so much secret, and giving looks at more characters and how they think.

It does get confusing, at times, with so many characters (some stand out, some are similar enough as to be confused with another), but the story still flows well.  Our main character is Kaylee and the author does a great job bringing in the other characters and their actions, but keeping her at the center.

The way Kaylee's past actions and statements play into both how the other characters see her and how much she is believed, was great. How the events of the past year have isolated her work well for both what NEED attempts and to keep her at the middle of it all, but alone. It really amps up the tension.

NEED is a fun, startling YA thriller that is quite frightening in how real it does feel.

digital copy received, via Edelweiss, from publisher

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