Sep 232015

Cover for NEED by Joelle Charbonneau. Intense close up of an angry white girl with blue eyes and blond hair, with NEED on the side in pixels and lists of what people need faded in the background.Publishers Weekly: The mysterious Need network, an anonymous social network that springs up overnight, claims that it can fulfill the deepest desires of the students at Nottawa High School. At the center of the storm is 16-year-old Kaylee Dunham; while her classmates mainly seek material gain, her priorities lie with finding her younger brother a kidney donor. Need’s users must follow its directions like lemmings, and a web of deceit and cruel pranks quickly becomes dangerous and deadly. Charbonneau (the Testing trilogy) focuses on a handful of classmates, mostly telling the story from Kaylee’s perspective, but shifting into third person to expose other characters and help the roles they play coalesce into a thrilling narrative. Even after the diabolical source of Need is unmasked—albeit through the cliché of the villain explaining the plan in full detail—Charbonneau still has a few surprises in store to leave readers questioning their trust in (and anonymity of) the internet and the selves we expose when we think no one is watching.