ARC Review: Need by Joelle Charbonneau


Title:  Need
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.

My Thoughts

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!

ARC Review: The Torturer’s Daughter by Zoe Cannon


Title: The Torturer’s Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publisher/Year: CreateSpace Independent Publishing 12/11/13
Length:  274 pages



When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca assumes it’s the usual drama. Wrong. Heather’s parents have been arrested as dissidents – and Becca’s mother, the dystopian regime’s most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents’ innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn’t expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents… and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn’t the only one with secrets – and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it’s no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime’s crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It’s easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER’S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary teenage life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime… and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what’s right in a world gone wrong

My Thoughts

I was in the market for a new dystopian to get into, since i’m always interested in what POV they would take things – would it be a society that’s formed based on over throwing the government or was it a result of disease or war?  In this case we learn that it’s in response to something political, but that’s about as far as we get.

We are first introduced to Becca when her best friend Heather calls her to get her out of 117 which is a processing center where ‘dissidents’ are taken once they are arrested.  Dissidents here are the ones that are against the government and must be killed or held captive until they are proven to be useful. 

This night is really the turning point for Becca since her life begins to change from here.  While her friend Heather is released, Heather’s parents are not, and it’s from Becca’s mother that she learns that Heather’s parents were dissidents.  this opens Becca’s eyes to the fact that maybe all that she knows isn’t the truth, and she begins to question everything.  She wonders if her mom is lying to her about everything and what can be believed.  While she tried to stand up for Heather in school since everyone now thinks that she’s one of the opposition, Becca finds herself in the line of fire as well.  It’s through the help of a boy – Jake that she feels like someone is on their side. 

Jake has a past of his own, he used to live in their town and ‘disappeared’ for a few years, only to return now.  Becca is quite skeptical of his presence, and wonders if he’s a spy or is looking to do more harm than good, even when he seems interested in her. 

So, what we get here is a story that’s quite YA in nature, with bits of Dystopia peppered in. 

What frustrates me about this story though is that we get ZERO backstory.  what i mean by this is that we have no idea why society is the way that it is and what happened to make it this way.  We also really only get to scratch the surface on anything.  meaning relationships and the sort.  It took me a little time to get into the story at first since i kept waiting for something to happen.  with the opening being as exciting as it was, Becca running in the middle of the night to save her friend, we go downhill from there.  I still to this moment have no idea what the dissidents actually do, if they are talking about overthrowing anything, or what exactly the deal is.  

If this is a series (i’m not sure if it is, although the ending implied more to come) then i think that the 2nd installment really needs to take us a step back to understand things.  I also think that there needs to be a bit more character development since we get a tease of what life was like when Becca’s parents were together, but i’m curious if her father will play a bigger role in the future?

so…all in all, average – i’d love to get someone else’s opinion on this.  The good news for you guys if you don’t get ARCs, it’s available for $0.99 today online if you want to pick it up and see for yourself! 


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Review: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi


Title:  Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishers 2/5/13
Length:  461 pages
Series: Shatter Me #2


tick tick tick tick tick it’s almost time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

My Thoughts

Oh how the suspense makes me fear what a book will really be like.  Especially when you get a novella in the middle as a tied me over and it really is a good story albeit not one that’s really aligned in the timeline of the story.

in any event, i think that even with my toddler amount of patience and wild imagination, there were places that this second installment took us that even i was unprepared for.

so…we meet up with Adam, Kenji and Juliette at Omega Point where Kenji took them as a safe haven and because they too wanted Juliette for her super human powers.  As a refresher for those of you who may not have read Shatter Me yet, Juliette has this power that she can incapacitate anyone who touches her skin.  she was put into an asylum when she was just 14 because she inadvertently killed a toddler just by her Touch.

Adam knew Juliette growing up and enlisted in the Army as a means to provide for his brother since his mother and father ‘died’.  Kenji was in the army with Adam and was his best friend for a while when they were there.

Adam was then sent to hunt Juliette and bring her back to Warner who oversees Sector 45 and is the son of the COMMANDER SUPREME.  Warner held her hostage, adam and she escape, kenji tracked them down and somehow they got to Omega Point.

so that basically takes us to where we are – Juliette finds that Adam is alive and is getting better, she meets Castle who runs the place along with various others who ALL have super powers.  She continues to develop her relationship with Adam since they know that he’s able to touch her for some unknown reason….and being the only person (other than Warner) who can do that – it’s something that they revel in.

So….Juliette has a hard time ‘adjusting’ since she’s not sure if she trusts the motives for Castle wanting her at Omega Point, things are getting very strange outside because Warner and his guards are hunting even more aggressively trying to find Omega Point because they have even more reason to believe that it exists and that there’s something brewing, and there’s just so much complicated stuff going on.

While at OP, Juliette discovers that her 2 past bouts of super human strength actually weren’t flukes and that she’s possibly the stronger super human to be found yet – she almost single handedly destroys the place when she thinks that Adam’s being harmed without his consent.

See..the thing with OP is that they do thorough testing to determine what someone’s power is and they’ve decided that since Adam can touch Juliette that he must have some type of power of his own…and there’s the rub.  Something not so good is going on, and it’s taking a toll on his body and there are consequences here.

So Juliette gets mad, almost destroys the place and has even more to deal with since her relationship is now falling apart romantically and she’s made no effort otherwise to make friends with those there.

Outside of OP, Warner is desperately trying to find Juliette.  he’s angry that she got away but he’s also so in love with her that he’s not willing to let go.  It’s only when 4 of the OP residents get taken hostage and 2 get freed, and Warner is taken as a trade for the others that Juliette realizes that there’s much much much more going on here.  Shes a bundle of messy teen angsty nerves and i have to say that i kind of like what’s going on.

So…so much going on that i feel like i have to hold back and not talk about the parts that i loved but pose a few questions that might be considered leading.

so SPOILER WARNING.  I’m going to try really hard not to blab anything, but my questions might give away a few things

1) can we trust Warner?  Do we want to?

2) what’s going to happen with Adam? his health?

3) Does anderson know about his son(s)?

4) Does anderson know about powers (since he knows about Omega Point) and does he have any?

5) Will Juliette be able to use her powers for the right team and which side is the right side?

6) are you team Aaron or Adam?

so, i really can’t for the third installment of what i believe to still be an untitled story.  Thanks for another amazing step into dystopian fantasy!