Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 11/03/15
Length: 352 pages
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.
First off – i love Joelle Charbonneau – after reading The Testing series i fell in love with her take on dystopia and this new book (series maybe?) is right up my alley. Like the summary above says, the question that’s being posed really is what will get teens to act, do they know the difference between a want and a need and what lengths will they go to fulfill those?
In this book, each chapter is a different character’s story – granted there are maybe 10 characters that we follow so the chapters alternate as we get their stories on how they are fulfilling their tasks to get what they feel they ‘need’. The interesting thing here that is part of it all is that Kaylee – our main character – she’s truly the only one who’s submitted a request for a ‘NEED’ and not a want.
To back up – her best friend Nate is over at her house one night and introduces her to a website that he found from his brother Jack – this site asks you what you think you need and in return the initial ask is just to invite friends. Nate’s brother got a new phone, and that’s all the prompting that Nate needs to get on the bandwagon. The issue of course though is that once everyone in the school has been invited and has joined, the ante is upped and there are more severe requests to be fulfilled to get what you need. (which in most cases is just a want). So nate gets Kaylee to join, and her ‘need’ is an actual need – to find a kidney for her brother who’s sick and as a result, she’s not asked to fulfill a task since it’s an actual NEED.
Through the process of this story – we see how Kaylee’s interactions with everyone manifests, and we see how everyone else in town is willing to do whatever they are told without real question – even if they wonder what the consequence will be. In some cases it leads to murder and death, in some cases it leads to just destruction and fear.
The question that we’re forced to ask is who is behind NEED and what’s their real motivation. Why are they giving kids things that they ‘need’ and asking for these awful tasks to be done. Will we find out and what will that mean? We also see that Kaylee’s looking for her father – and you have to know that something there is not going to end well. It wouldn’t be such a focal point of her story if it were going to be good – so i think that the build up there was one that was done well.
Where we net out in the end is some what of a bit of closure yet a bit open ended as well which is why i wonder if we’ll get another installment. We see that we’re able to identify who was behind it all but there’s a lead in to something more drastic to come and i wonder what that’s going to mean for everyone in town and elsewhere. SO on that note, yet another winner from this author and i hope that you guys get a chance to track it down. I have to thank my friends at Netgalley for hooking me up with this one – and if you can’t get it now, keep an eye out for it when it’s out in stores!