Need by Joelle Charbonneau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary: What do you really need?
by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin, join the newest, hottest
networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone?
Backstage passes to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task,
the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why
Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs—a kidney for
her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help,
but it couldn’t hurt to try.
Or could it?
her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be
paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in
exchange for their desires are escalating, and so is the body count.
Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED
network before it destroys them all?
This book had so much potential, but unfortunately it came up short for me.
First, I'm going to say that the premise of the book is definitely interesting. It's something new that I hadn't come across, at least, and I found the idea compelling. What do you need? What would you be willing to do to get it? Combining that with being a teenager leads to a certain sort of desperation, because I remember feeling on more than one occasion that my life was going to be over if things didn't go a particular way, and that I might never recover.
All of this is a potent mix, and it certainly does lead to compelling moments in the book. At the forefront is Kaylee, a teenager with heavier burdens than most - an absent father, a sick brother, a distant mother. She's the main character, and though she is easy to identify with, her presence doesn't quite offset the rest of the mess that is the characterization in this book.
See, this novel has no less than ten different people who we follow throughout the course of the plot. This is a mistake mainly because it makes it so very different to emphasize with these people and their hopes, wishes, needs and the ensuing fallout. There's so much going on that it's hard to keep track, and without the connection some of the plot points that should have been a big deal just kind of become a jumble instead, lost in everything else that's going on.
There's also the tenuousness of the plot - you definitely have to suspend your disbelief a little bit when reading this one. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, I want to point out - I'm not really one to fuss over that sort of thing. As long as it's at least somewhat believable, I'll be happy. People who really dislike wondering about the mechanics of things and what's going on behind the scenes might find that this book rubs them a bit the wrong way, however. The behaviour of some of the adults in this book will definitely make some raise their eyebrows, and I think it was a bit too much at times.
That being said, this book was still fun to read. There are a lot of thrills, and I think that younger readers will love it. Social media, friendships, romance, thrills - it's a pretty slick combination, and it's something that will seem very familiar to some, I think. It's a cute, fun read, I just wish that it had had a bit more depth.
Disclaimer: I recieved a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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