NEED by Joelle Charbonneau reviewed some more
Publisher HMH Books
You probably know the name Joelle Charbonneau most recently from her brilliant TESTING trilogy, a young adult series featuring brilliant characters and ingenious plots. Her latest, NEED is a standalone novel and a significant departure from her post-apocalyptic wasteland to something much closer to home but no less compelling.
A website called need appears to a small town high school. In the beginning, it seems innocent enough. Tell the website what you need, do a small task, and whatever you need will appear. In the beginning, the tasks are usually inviting other students in the school to join. Then some harmless pranks. But when the tasks turn violent and the students are actually commiting the heinous acts, the darker side of the site rears its ugly head. The question quickly turns from what do you need, to what would you do to get it?
NEED may get pigeon holed as a YA book, due to the main characters being high school students. However, I am telling you now, this is not simply for the young. The author crafts one of the finest psychological thrillers I have ever read. It plays on huge themes like the nature of small town communities and the power of greed and power. The fact that the protagonists are young is irrelevant to the larger ideas that Charbonneau plays with in this novel.
This book is among the best that I have read this year. It is terrifying in its scope and scale. From the first page to the last, Charbonneau keeps the adrenaline pumping through clever plot twists and devilish games always being played behind the scenes. You may soon see this book in the hands of every young adult around you, but don’t be fooled. This is no tale of high school love and longing. It is asking you, the reader, how far would you go for something you truly need? There is no more universal theme and no more frightening question to ask than that. Let me tell you, you NEED to read this book!