Ahoy there me mateys!
need (Joelle Charbonneau)
Another port plundered. Arrrr! So this is the first book I have read by this author and will not be my last. In my opinion, this book is basically needful things but with teens, social networking, and the internet. It does not come close to the Stephen King novel. That said it was an enjoyable book and a good introduction, for me at least, to this author’s writing. The novel switches points of view about the various teens in town but overall the voice you hear most is of the heroine Kaylee. Quotes on the back of the hardback cover seem to suggest this is a dystopian novel but it certainly didn’t feel that way to me. It just seemed more like a straight out young adult thriller. Lots of action, some murder, mayhem, etc. Lots of plot twists, many of which were unpredictable.
Now with social media seemingly here to stay there has been a lot of “regular” media attention about the seeming anonymity of the interwebs and how people can use the internet in ways they would never choose to in real life. Think about internet trolls using comments to get a rise. Teens sexting photos to classmates when in real life most of those people would not see those same sexters in underwear ever. The seriousness of suicide due to online commentary. Etc. Examples of the potential misuse show up in the media all the time. I am not saying we should hate the internet. I personally find it to be wonderful. But these are serious issues that pose serious concerns.
This book takes some of those scary ideas along with behaviors actually seen in today’s online usage and asks the question (in the author’s own words) “what would people say if they were anonymous online and thought no one knew it was them . . . and what would they do if they thought they could get things they needed?”
The author’s website says this about the book:
there is a difference between a want and a need. what do you need?
One by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin join the newest, hottest networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone? Backstage tickets to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task, the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why shouldn’t you?
Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs — a kidney for her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
Or could it?
After making her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in exchange for their desires are escalating and so is the body count. Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED network—and pull the plug before it destroys them all?
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