26 August 2015

Review #306: Need by Joelle Charbonneau

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The single biggest existential threat that's out there, I think, is cyber." 

----Michael Mullen, a retired United States Navy admiral

Joelle Charbonneau, an American author, pens her latest YA thriller, Need, that is about a bunch of high school teenagers falling prey to the world of cyber crime- a website which would fulfill their wishes if they perform the tasks against it, like fulfilling a challenge, and within no time the addictive cyber world pulled them into darkness coming out from which became life threatening.


"No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better."

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.

This is just an ordinary thriller book but which provides a coming-of-age story or rather just say, the story of everyday's life in the world of cyber crimes, and the concept that the author developed along with an edgy story, proves that this book is one hell of a violent ride beyond the microprocessor and the PLCs and the optical fibres that combine together to form a cyber world via your laptop or computer or mobile. The book cover is exciting and justifies the story completely. If you ask me who is the girl in the cover picture then let me tell you, her name is Kaylee and she is the protagonist of this story, although the story doesn't necessarily revolve around her yet she plays the most important role in the story.

Kaylee needs help to save the life of her brother who is sick. Her mom is too involved and has obsessed herself with the problem. Kaylee herself jumps to the world of cyberworld which promises her to give her brother a new life if she fulfills their challenges and tasks, but while waiting on the request that she made on a website called NEED, bad things started happening around her, a teenager who asked for help got killed, making Kayless realize that if she sits mum, she soon will fall into the dead-body count list.

The writing style is fantastic and the author tells it in an intriguing manner with bit twists and breadcrumbs to follow the real culprit behind the website. The author has captured the young vulnerable minds of the teenagers when they are in desparated need to find for help quite vividly and has portrayed that brilliantly in this story. The narrative can be a bit blurry at times, since there are so many POVs in the story that can confuse the reader a lot. I mean it is good to have a wider perspective to the story but when everyone voicing the same story, then it gets bit tedious as well as confusing. The pace of the book, on the other hand, is a fast pace and has an ability to keep the readers engaged till the very last page.

The characters, though can be bit surreal at times, still the author filled their presence with a strong purpose which finally gives them an interseting edge to their demanor. Kaylee is a brave girl who stand ups against the tide to pull out the mask behind the person who was the owner of this creepy website. The atmosphere of the book is very dark and at times can be bit violent which unravels like a drug by keeping the readers on the edge of anticipation. The characters are portrayed in their most vulnerable moments, how their wants turned into needs in no matter of time, how the lure of their needs getting fulfilled, landed them on the trap set by the website. This also displays that teenagers minds are impulsive and can do anything to fulfill their demands.

Overall, this is a stirring as well as hair-raising book that ends with the hope that the author will come back with the same story maybe in the same or more sinister way.

Verdict: A must read book if you are a fan of cyber crimes or of reading YA thrillers.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publishers for providing me with an ARC of the book, in return for an honest review. 

Author Info:
I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Visit her here

Book Purchase Links:


  1. I have nominated you for a Blogger Recognition Award. Here
    is the link to the details

  2. I have seen this one around. And although it seems just like the basic kind of thriller, maybe the young spin on it can add something new.


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