‘NEED’ by Joelle Charbonneau
There is a difference between wanting something and needing something. Students at a high school in Nottawa realize that, when a new social media is spreading among them. ‘NEED’ by Joelle Charbonneau is an extremely relevant and realistic book. We are living in an age where almost every teen is using some kind of social media, and I think that is why the book spoke so much to me.
November 3rd, 2015
Harcourt Brace and Company
Kaylee’s brother needs a new kidney. Nate wants an A on his physics final. But there is a difference between wanting something and needing something – students at a high school in Nottawa, Wisconsin soon realize that. A new social media, NEED, is spreading among the students. If you complete a minor task, the website will fulfill one of your needs.
At the same rate as more and more students sign up for the website, the more horrifying the tasks get. Kaylee realizes something is wrong. But who will believe the crazy girl, who was walking around school asking people to get tested as kidney-donors, and then ended up having conversations with the school-therapist? How insane will it get before someone discovers who is behind NEED?
Creepy in the non-creepy way
I am not at all into scary stories, yet I still enjoyed this book even though I found it really creepy. Some of the things the teenagers in the book would do to get their needs fulfilled sent cold shivers down my back. There was always a new surprising element in the book The tasks got worse and worse, and there was no way I could predict what the next consequence of a completed task would be.
Realistic and relevant
‘NEED’ was not at all like the books I usually read. At the moment, I have a thing for soppy love stories, and ‘NEED’ is nothing like that at all. However, the book still spoke to me in a way I have not experienced in a long time. It is no secret that I spent a lot of time on various social media and since the pivotal point in the book is a social media, I do believe that is one of the reasons why I really enjoyed reading this book.
Excerpt from ‘NEED’
WANT: A DESIRE TO POSSESS OR DO SOMETHING. A WISH.
NEED: SOMETHING REQUIRED BECAUSE IT IS ESSENTIAL. SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
I stare at the question and the blinking cursor in the box below it and think of my mother telling me she doesn’t have time for me, again. Of the way she locked the door to keep me out. Is she concerned about DJ? Yes. Should she be? Absolutely. Nephrotic syndrome is scary. Incredibly scary, even in the best of circumstances. Is Mom upset that I keep pressing the issue of searching for Dad? Of course. But I can hear more than concern and frustration behind her words. I see it in her eyes every time she thinks I’m not watching. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t hesitate before offering to be a donor for my brother. It doesn’t matter that I asked the doctors to test me anyway even though my blood type isn’t a match. It only matters that when my mother sees me, she sees herself. Someone not quite good enough to save DJ. And, as hard as I’ve tried, I can’t find the person who can.
I wipe tears from my cheek with my T-shirt and take a deep breath. Crying is stupid. And I hate feeling stupid.
The book seemed both realistic and relevant to me. The tasks that NEED wants the students to complete are getting out of hand, and maybe our use of social media are as well. Sometimes it is like I cannot function without checking Facebook, Instagram, etc. and I know I am not the only teenager who feel like that. We are getting addicted to social media in a way that cannot be healthy, and I think that ‘NEED’ is trying to teach us a lesson – we should not let social media control our lives or us – the consequences could be fatal.
Excerpt from ‘NEED’
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
The red words on the screen are seductive. Do I believe someone sitting behind a computer creating a website for high school students can help me? Do I believe that whoever created this site really wants to make my life better?
No. I’m not that naive. But in the darkness, I find myself wanting to believe there is someone who cares. Someone who opens the door to me instead of bolting it shut. So, under the question that asks what I need, I type:
I NEED A KIDNEY FOR MY BROTHER.
Could start a big debate?
Joelle Charbonneau took such a simple thing as a social media and turned it into a creepy, controlling force. And I just loved that. I do think that this book could start a big debate on whether we are too controlled by social media or not. The teenagers in the book just follow the orders that NEED gives them, without wondering what the consequences could be. The students are portrayed very self-seeking, but the further I got into the book the better I understood why they acted the way they did. I could identify myself with them, and I know for a fact that it made me enjoy the book even more.
I know for sure that this book taught me a great lesson about which values should be the most important in life.
If you are into realistic books that has a very creepy twist, maybe you should give ‘NEED’ a shot.