NEED is a thriller story about a small town high school where everyone gets invited to a private website, which it asks one simple question, “What do you need?” In order to get your “need”, you must complete tasks. At first it is “invite x number of high school students to join the site”. After that, the task you must complete in order to fulfill your “need” become more demanding and challenging and dangerous. Once the student/user sees how easy it is to get something they “need”, they find they are hooked on asking for more and more and more. But just how far are they willing to go?
The story centers around Kaylee, a teenage girl who is fighting to find her brother, DJ, a new kidney and Kaylee’s friend, Nate. When the NEED sight goes live and Kaylee is invited, it was an easy answer for her when asked, “What do you need?” What could be the harm in wishing for a kidney to save her brother? She finds out the answer to that when she starts paying attention to the message board on NEED’s website and seeing just how far people will go to get what they want. Classmates begin dying, horrible pranks are done, and families torn apart. But the site keeps users anonymous so there is no harm, right? Sadly, Kaylee realizes too late that once you are a member of the site, there is only one way to leave the site. Throughout the story I don’t feel that I ever truly connected with Kaylee. She wasn’t a bad character, I just couldn’t get past her intense obsession for everyone she comes in to contact with to be tested as a possible match for a kidney transplant. That was a bit much for me.
What I really did enjoy about this book was the mystery behind NEED. Who is running it? Who could be the mastermind? What is their agenda behind this site? I really had to find out! I also really enjoyed how it brought to light how people are willing to share so much on social media without a second thought.
There were a couple of downsides to the book: multiple POVs and the ending. Every chapter was a different POV yet they all came back to Kaylee but I felt the constant switching took away from the true suspense. Sure, that’s a great concept but it didn’t always feel like separate people talking. Now the ending. The ending felt rushed and the reasoning behind the site/person did not make a lot of sense to me. If felt like the book simply ended and that was that. You are left with so may questions.
Overall, I actually enjoyed this book. It was a super quick read and held my attention throughout. I did start skimming over when Kaylee went on about hospitals and kidney transplants because I felt that topic was a bit overdone. I would have liked to see the ending drawn out a little bit longer and more explanation given. I gave this book 3 stars.
Also, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Joelle on her NEED book tour. She is a delight to hear speak and chat with!