The Basic Premise:
Kaylee, our main protagonist, and her good friend Nate are invited to a secret-invite-only social media platform called NEED that promises to fulfill your needs.
It only has a few rules: you can’t tell ANYONE about the site (except for classmates, whom you can invite), you are only supposed to make requests that you need, and if NEED decides your request is more of a “want” than a “need,” you’ll be required to accomplish some task in exchange. And it turns out everyone has something that they think that they need.
Kaylee needs something. She needs a kidney for her brother. And this site seems to get results; in only a few short days other classmates are showing up with ipads, computers, and game systems that they acquired from Need in exchange for some minor task.
But the requests that Need makes start having dire consequences and as people’s requests become bigger, the tasks become less friendly. Kaylee and her classmates must decide how much they’re willing to do in order to get what they need.
Need is a fairly fast-paced book that switches between the point of view of about half a dozen teenagers that go to Nottawa High School. It’s thriller aspects will keep the reader guessing and the reveal of who is pulling Need’s strings at the end will come as quite a surprise.
I do have one big problem with this book; with perhaps the exception of Kaylee, every single character is a huge stereotype. I’m not saying that I eschew all books with any stereotypes; stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason and they’re useful to set up a character. But Charbonneau spends no time fleshing out anyone to be anything but that very simple stereotype. One particular stereotype really, REALLY bothered me, but I can’t talk about it without spoiling the book. Everyone is a very static character with surprisingly simplistic personalities, considering the book is a thriller whose suspense depends heavily on how people react to their situations. Even Kaylee barely changes throughout the book.
However, if you’re looking for a good read that will keep you turning the pages and don’t mind a lack of character development, this is a great book.
3.5 stars. A tense but good popcorn book.