Aug 192015

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.Booklist: Best-selling Charbonneau’s newest thriller examines the dark side of social media. When 16-year-old Kayla’s friend introduces her to NEED, a new social networking site that’s giving teens exactly what they say they need in exchange for them completing a task, Kayla is quick to participate. What she needs is a new kidney for her brother, who won’t live long without one. But things quickly escalate to a fever pitch. Told in first-person chapters from Kayla’s point of view and alternating with third-person chapters focused on other teens in her community, this is a fast-paced read that teens antsy to untangle the mystery will devour. At times, the premise stretches plausibility, particularly when only Kayla seems to grow suspicious as the body count ramps up. Some teens may be turned off by the portrayal of their generation as having so little conscience, while others may find it right on the mark. Hand to teens looking for a thought-provoking, timely thriller. Charbonneau has an ample audience, and odds are good they will be eager for this one, which has all the excitement of a summer blockbuster.