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Review: Need

NEED - Joelle Charbonneau

I received a copy from Netgalley.

After rather liking the author's previous books, The Testing Trilogy, I was quite excited to see a completely different type of book show up in one of those 'Feed your Reader' emails. So jumped at the change for the 'read it now' offer.

This book had a great hook. A mysterious new social media site, an invitation only site offering to fill the needs of the students of a certain high school. It makes a point of the difference between what's a wish and what a need might be. The requests start flying in from an A on a physics grade to concert tickets to a new iPhone. Seems fun enough. But of course, its never as simple as something awesome for apparently nothing. The site, NEED, requires certain things to be done in order for the Need wishes to be met.

And the tasks seem innocent enough, then the stakes start rising and things become pretty twisted pretty fast. It's supposed to raise a point about what people are willing to do for the right reward. The tasks get harder, and people start dying. There are a lot of characters in this book. Chapters from a lot of different view points. Which at first is kind of daunting, why are we seeing random chapters from random people getting involved in the NEED site and posting their requirements?

It does all tie into the plot eventually. The plot is very fast paced and once its started the book is hard to put down. In spite of this, I did found it got rather silly rather fast, particularly towards the end when the truth behind the NEED website is revealed.

I didn't really like any of the characters that much at all. The main character, Kaylee, a self proclaimed drama queen, has all sorts of problems and family drama. Her younger brother is sick with a failing kidney and can be saved by a transplant. No one in her immediate family is a match, and her father has walked out on the family some months before.

 Kaylee is desperate to help her brother but goes to such extremes - she lies, it would appear she has been badgering the student body at her high school to get tested to see if any of them are potential matches. She posted fake ads on Craigslist promising a cash reward to find her father. She's faked sicknesses to get into the school nurse's office to access medical records.

(show spoiler)

Problem is she's pushed so hard to help and lied so much and been caught no one really feels any sympathy for her. The only friend she has left is her BFF Nate who sends her a NEED invite.

So what does she ask for? A kidney for her brother.

(show spoiler)

As the plot progresses and things start getting scary, one rather gruesome incident happens at Kaylee's house she begins to realise that NEED is not as great as it seems at all. She thinks she has proof and at least is smart enough at first to try and contact the police. Problem is she has caused so much drama and stress for her mother in the past no one believes her. Which understandably is very frustrating for Kaylee.

She's supposed to come off as selfless and heroic, but she had very little personality other than the must get help for my brother side, and while you can understand why she does it, it doesn't make her appealing as a lead character because she goes so over the top about it. Then whines when people don't want to help her family.

The plot twists and turns and all the seemingly random characters come together as Kaylee tries to prove that NEED is dangerous. All tied into the need request granting and what people are willing to do to get what they want. While it was certainly an interesting premise, it got very convoluted and ridiculous towards the end. Almost all of the characters were shallow and flat. A few redeemed themselves (or tried to) towards the end.

It was okay.