by Joelle Charbonneau


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“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544416697
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/03/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 694,144
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau, author of the Testing trilogy, began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing, works as an acting and vocal coach. Visit her website at

Read an Excerpt

“SEE, KAYLEE. It’s fascinating, right?” Nate swivels in my desk chair and grins, showing off the braces he will finally get removed next week. He lobbied to get the braces off earlier, saying that no sixteen-year-old should have to face girls with metal in his mouth, but his father and the dentist both said no. Personally, I think they make Nate’s blond good looks less perfect, which is not a bad thing. He needs a flaw. Or twelve. Of course, I have enough flaws for both of us. The attention-seeking drama queen and the neglected, nonathletic brother. We’re so different and yet, at the core, we’re the same.
“I don’t understand,” I say, and I shift my attention over his shoulder to my Mac. “I thought you said this was the website where Jack got a new iPhone.”
Nate’s older brother asked for the newest iPhone for Christmas after breaking his third phone in almost as many months. He pleaded the need to check his email in case colleges sent acceptance letters. The first two times, his mother replaced the phone with a warning, saying she wouldn’t do it again, which no one believed, since Nate’s parents give Jack whatever he wants whenever he wants it. This last time, though, his father denied Jack’s request and held firm. Even Santa and the holiday spirit didn’t budge him. No new iPhone until after first-semester report cards came in and Jack could prove he was responsible in at least one nonsporting aspect of his life. As if that was going to happen. Jack is the king of all things popular because of his athletic ability, but just because his friends like him doesn’t make him smart.
“When Dad came home from work and saw Jack with the phone, he was seriously pissed. He figured Mom had gone behind his back, screamed that he was tired of her undermining his authority, and stormed out before she could persuade him she had nothing to do with it.”
“Maybe she did.” I take off my glasses and rub my eyes. I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time Nate’s mom had caved. In the Weakley house Jack can do no wrong. Must be nice. For Jack.
Nate shakes his head. “I thought it was my mom too, but later I heard Jack talking to one of his friends. He said he got the phone from this new social networking site. All he had to do was invite five qualified friends to join. As soon as they accepted the invitations, presto, the phone was his.”
“The world doesn’t work that way.” At least, my world doesn’t. “The site must ask for a credit card or something. No one gives out free cell phones for inviting five people to a new social network.”
“This one does.” Nate swings back to face the screen. “Trust me, my brother isn’t clever enough to make something like this up. And he’s not the only one who got stuff. Look at this.”
Nate clicks the mouse and shifts the laptop so I can see the screen from where I’m standing behind him. Normally, without glasses, I wouldn’t be able to read anything. In this case, I can make out the large red letters in the center of a black box.
“So . . .” Nate looks at me with a goofy smile. “What should I ask for? A new bike? A computer?”
“You don’t need either of those things.”
“What’s your point?” Nate shrugs. “Jack didn’t really need a phone, but he got one.”
“Yeah, but . . .” But what? I’m not exactly sure. There’s something about this whole setup that bugs me. Or maybe it’s just the question we’re asked—What do you need? Because I know what need is, and it’s not another phone.
Nate gives me an annoyed look and I feel a twinge of guilt. When Nate heard my mom and brother weren’t home, he dropped what he was doing to come over and keep me company. And knowing Nate, he probably had a zillion offers for something more entertaining to do with his night. At some point he’s going to realize that and start accepting those invitations. Then what will I do?
So I slide my glasses back on and say, “I guess I’m just surprised your brother sent you an invitation.”
“He didn’t.” Nate flashes a wide grin. “He forgot to log out when he left to meet his friends, and I borrowed his computer and sent an invitation to myself.” Nate rolls out his shoulders. “The network assigns a profile name to every user, and as far as I can tell, no one is allowed to say anything on the site that will reveal their identity or to disclose online or in real life whether their need has been fulfilled.” He clicks the mouse several times and then points to the screen as he reads: “Doing so violates the terms of use and voids any possible fulfillment of requests in the future.”
“But Jack—”
“Yep.” Nate laughs. “Jack already violated the terms. He’s going to be displeased when he tries to get something else and the NEED fairy godmother gives him the finger. I can’t wait.”
“You’re assuming the people who operate the system know Jack told his friends,” I say. “The odds of that occurring have to be pretty low.”
“Yeah. What a bummer.” Nate lets out a dramatic sigh. “Still, there’s always a chance someone will learn about Jack breaking the rules, which is good. It gives me something to dream about when he’s being a jerk.”
“So, basically, you’ll be dreaming about it a lot.” I laugh.
“A guy has to have a hobby. We can’t all have brothers we actually like and get along with.” I see Nate’s eyes shift to the framed photograph on my desk of me, Mom, and DJ from this summer. DJ’s blond hair shines in the sunlight. His face is filled with delight. Mom and I look happy too, but our brown hair makes us look less bright. Or maybe it’s just that I know how much we both wish we were more like DJ.
“Have you heard anything?” Nate asks.
I bite my bottom lip, pull my phone out of my back pocket, and check to make sure I didn’t miss a message. Nothing. “Mom took DJ to the ER at All Saints Hospital, and her phone doesn’t always get the best reception there. I’m sure she’ll update me soon.” The tests won’t say he’s had a relapse. They just can’t. He deserves better than that. He deserves better than everything he’s gotten up to now. Karma owes him. I’d be there with him now if I’d been allowed to go. Instead, my mother insisted I stay here. Out of the way. Alone.
Nate reaches out and I step toward him. He takes my hand and webs his fingers through mine. No. Not alone. Behind him, I can read the word NEED shining in large red block letters at the top of the computer screen, which is appropriate. Because in my life, Nate is someone I need. Without him, I’m not sure how I would get through nights like this. If he ever finds a serious girlfriend, I’ll be sunk.
“So . . .” Nate’s voice is once again filled with mischief as he lets go of my hand and swivels toward the desk. “Back to the really important stuff. What should I ask the great and powerful NEED network for? A car would be nice.”
“You live two blocks from school,” I say. “You don’t need a car. Not to mention that you’d have to get a job to pay for gas and insurance.”
“Sad but true. And since I’m not interested in hard labor, I’ll have to ask for something else.” Nate tilts his head to the side. His expression turns serious. “You know what I really need? A B on my physics final. Before break, Mr. Lott told me I have to get at least an eighty percent on that test or I’ll fail the class and end up in summer school.”
“I don’t think the people running NEED can take your final for you.”
“No, but whoever created this thing must have skills. He might be able to hack into the system and change my grade. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?” Nate types An A on my physics final into the box and hits Enter. The message in the box changes. Now it reads: NEED REQUEST BEING VERIFIED. PLEASE STAND BY. The image of a clock appears.
“I thought you said you needed a B.”
“Why settle?” Nate taps his fingers on the wood of my desk as the second hand of the clock on the NEED site travels from twelve to one. Then two. As it travels to the number three, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. My stomach lurches. My legs are unsteady as I stand and pull out the phone.
“What does it say?” Nate asks.
I try to breathe, but I can’t as I click the Talk button, praying that DJ is okay. Thankfully, my mother doesn’t draw things out and tells me in the first sentence that he is. No relapse. He’s still sick, but it isn’t worse. With every relapse it can get so much worse. So this is good. Still, my voice shakes when I put down the phone and say, “The doctor is going to run one more test, but they think a virus caused the fever. Everything else is stable.” For now.
“That’s a relief. Hey, I haven’t asked in the last week, but your father . . .”
I shake my head. “I still haven’t been able to find him. The Christmas card he sent had a Kenosha return address and postmark, but when I called the apartment complex they said they’d never heard of him.”
“You’ll find him, Kaylee.” Nate gets up and puts his arms around me. “If not, we’ll convince more people around here to get tested. Someone will step up and help.”
I lean into Nate and close my eyes. “I hope so.” I used to think so. Then I learned the truth. People say they care, but they just don’t give a damn. Not my father. Not the people in this town. Not the school psychologist my mother insists I see to deal with my “issues.” No one. Opening my eyes, I see the screen behind Nate change and am grateful for the distraction. “The clock on the site stopped ticking.”
Nate’s face lights up. He gives me one final squeeze before sliding into the chair in front of the computer screen. “Score. My request has been processed. Now, according to this, I just have to invite six qualified friends to the site and my need will be met. That’s easy enough.” Nate types my name and email address and hits Send before I can object. He then types five more addresses.
“Who did you just invite?”
“I’m not telling. Unlike Jack, I plan on following the rules.” After hitting Log Out, Nate shoves back the chair and stands. “Now, did your mom say when they’ll be home?”
“No.” The last time I went with DJ and Mom to the ER, it took hours before DJ was discharged. It’s like clocks stop working when you step into a hospital. “I doubt it will be any time soon.”
“Good.” Nate grabs my arm and pulls me toward the door. “That means we still have time to raid the fridge and watch a scary movie before they get back.”
“Does it have to be a horror film?” I ask, even though I know the answer. “Can’t we watch Lord of the Rings for the hundredth time? I won’t complain when you say all the dialogue and reenact the fight scenes.”
“Tempting, but no.” He laughs. “You have to do something nice for me because I came over, and I have my heart set on hearing you shriek like a girl.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, I am a girl.”
“And I’ve been working hard for the last seven years to not hold it against you.” Nate turns and winks. “You get the popcorn. I’ll get the soda. It’s time to have some fun.”

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Need 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really had a hard time setting this book down! Great read with lots of twists from start to finish!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good, as was The Testing, but I needed more. The ending was such a cliffhanger! Though I could of done with a few more deaths (*SPOILER ALERT!* A couple dogs and almost 10 people die), this book was impossible to put down. Seriously, I read it all in one sitting! Kudos, Joelle, but you'd better write another one fast (or else!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the testing and figured I'd buy this book thinking it'd probably be worth the read as well. I was so right. The pace kept me intrigued the entire time. It kept bringing up the question of what do you need? And how far are you willing to go for it. The ending left me wanting more though. Still great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Need' has a wonderfully compelling premise, and the story itself captures the interest. The main character Kaylee is a troubled teen with family problems who doesn't know the whole story. Like anybody would do, she tries to force people to help her sick brother and ends up isolating herself from not only her friends, but her mother as well. The difference between a want and a need is explored quite well, and it shows that people don't always think before they go for something they 'need.' Another theme explored is the internet and anonymity and the fact that what you do behind the safety of the computer screen can have devastating consequences. The problem for me is the generic ending. Whereas the mystery is intriguing and the web of different characters and people weave together well in the narrative, the ending is not as good as I think the story deserved. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a good conspiracy and to those who enjoy mystery. Perhaps they can get more enjoyment out of the end of the book than I did. I don't regret reading it though.
SkylarTomato More than 1 year ago
Kaylee Dunham is a 16-year-old at Nottawa High School. She is in desperate need for a kidney for her brother, DJ. During Christmas break, a new site by the name of “NEED” shows up. The site simply states “What do you Need?” and one can type whatever they may ever desire in there. Students can request for anything they have ever wanted … for a simple price. To obtain what they want, they have to finish simple tasks, but as the site reaches the entire student body, the tasks are meant to hurt people and the body count slowly rises. Kaylee tries to convince her mother and the police what is happening, but they all think she is insane. She has to find out who is in control of the site and stop them before the entire community ends up killing each other. I love how this book was about how people would react to certain types of social media. One can see how our current teenagers of today are very addicted to their phones just like how the teenagers here get addicted to the site making it a book I wish many people at my school would read. The book only takes it to an extreme having the site persuade students to hurt people for their “needs.” There are many plot twists throughout the book making it impossible to put down. This book is partly terrifying because this sort of thing could happen in reality too. Some rich businessman could make this site, messing up not only a school filled with gullible teenagers, but many communities around them. It also teaches anybody the very valuable lesson that not everything you desire is a need. This book was merely just another book to read, but still an interesting page turner. Personally, I don’t like all the complicated high-school relationships that are in the book. The 10 POVs the book goes from does not help keep up with that in any way. I ended up going back and forth between chapters to remember which person did what. The many POVs made more sense nearing the end of the book, but it was hard to keep up at first. Once I finished the book, half the characters didn’t seem to have much contribution to the novel. The book was very fast-paced and did not leave room for character development other than the main character, Kaylee. Even if the author took out some characters and really elaborated on others that would make the book even more exciting to read. There was so much build up to the climax of the book, the ending just didn’t live up to it. I was surprised for sure, but I thought it needed a little more.
Toner More than 1 year ago
Oh man. Ohhhhh man. Wow wow wow man wow ohhhh wow wow ow wowow owow man wowo man amman whoweogk wooooowwwwwwwwwww Okay. Let me just start off by saying that wow. WOW. This is not what I was expecting at all. AT ALL. I mean yeah I guess I kinda was but WOW it just launched into that story there was no downtime no intro it just started with chapter one and did not stop, even when it got to the mini epilogue. It just kept going. Holy hell. Wow. This was great. If you’re a fan of such works such as “Battle Royale” or “Gone” you’re going to love this psychological thriller that took me exactly one day to finish. “On Edge” was shorter than “Need” and the former took me two weeks. “Need” took me one day, it was that good, I couldn’t stop reading it even when I wanted to. These kinds of books are sometimes hard for me to read because of their intensity but MAN it was worth it. Like seriously I have no complaints, none. Every character was believable and interesting and unique and nothing was too far fetched, even in the setting it was in, and WOW I did not see the plot twist coming like yeah I should’ve gotten it from the beginning but I was waaay too focused on Nate and Kaylee’s relationship and also the fact that, for the most part, all of the characters shared a name with someone I knew in real life. So that was cool. And lowkey disturbing, considering what happens. But mostly cool. Let me tell you this book is not afraid to push limits. Like seriously you might think going into it that it’ll be tamer than it lets off but nooo way man this thing just goes for it. Plus it’s one of those books that has utilizes multiple POVs while still establishing a clear main character. A+. I don’t really have a lot more to say. I have 0 complaints. Usually a longer review means I’m going to roast it but no it was great. 10/10 would read again (actually 9/10 I had to take a break now and then to process things, this story moves fast there is 0 downtime whatsoever).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast, compelling, and well-written. I tore through it in a single day and wanted (NEEDed?) more
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I'd like to thank HMH Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review. When I read the blurb for this book it sounded completely intriguing. I will say I wasn't the biggest fan of this author's The Testing series. I had a lot of issues with it, including some issues with the writing. But I figured I would give this one a shot because different genres really bring out different writing for authors. And since the plot felt like it would be interesting, I proceeded, with a bit of caution. The first thing I will say about this book is that it is in many points of view. I wasn't expecting that at all. And once I started getting into the book I just got totally confused. I found it hard to know who was speaking and this made it harder to connect with any of the characters. I couldn't picture any of them in my mind. And I thought all the POVs took away from the strength we could have see had this been from just a few people's or maybe two people's POV. There was no continuity in how they were presented. Kind of a mish-mash of stream of thought. I don't even remember all the characters, there were that many POVS. Not one was relatable. Not one had a unique enough identity to help me remember who they were. I thought the plot line was interesting, though fairly predictable. Kids put out there online what they need and it's granted when they accomplish a task set before them. Not long into the book, I knew this was going to be a dark theme. How could it not. The tasks kept getting harder and harder and more and more macabre. People starting doing things they wouldn't normally do just to get what they needed. I understood the rational, and I know people can go to great lengths for things, but there was so much death and destruction left in the wake of it all. Also, it's just not real to me. I blame the execution, which again comes back to too many POVs. I have to say that I was bored for most of the book. I didn't feel the action that actually did happen. And when I did feel it, I was just disgusted. I'm not a teenager, but is the really how they would react to a suspicious email inviting them to an elite group, etc. etc.? I just don't see it happening. Most of the characters didn't think before they acted. And when they did act, the selfishness was off the charts. I really wanted to like this book, I really did, but it just was not in the cards. With flat characters, an unrealistic plot, and slow pacing, this book fell short of the greatness it could have been.
DownrightDystopian More than 1 year ago
**Thank you so much to HMH Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** NEED was an extremely creepy and mysterious thriller read. The story follows many different characters, though the main story seems to revolve around Kaylee whose brother was sick and needed a transplant. Her best friend, Nate found out about a website called NEED when he was at her house. When you sign up for the website, it asks only one question: What do you need? Once you answer, you're asked to do some tasks. If you do the tasks, your need is granted soon after. However, NEED starts to have some seriously creepy tasks, and some people will do absolutely anything to get what they "need". I really liked the idea behind this book. It really showed the difference between desires and needs and it also showed the limits that humans don't really have when it comes to getting those. This book was utterly creepy and I was constantly on my toes. I really liked Kaylee as a character, though throughout a lot of the book I thought that I knew who the person behind NEED was. By the end, I was so wrong. The actual person was such a minor character that I hadn't even realized they'd be such a huge reason for everything going wrong in the end. I especially hated Kaylee's mom though. Bad things started happening surrounding her kids and she just blamed Kaylee for all of it and up and left her! What kind of mom logically does that? Besides that, I really enjoyed NEED and I definitely recommend you pick it up if you're looking for a thrilling mystery!
JessicaCoffee More than 1 year ago
4 stars!* "After all, what's the harm in taking a photograph of a neighbor's house or printing off a file from a parent's computer? It's just a little thing. Correct? And what they need to make them happy is so much more important. Especially if all their friends are getting rewards. No one wants to be left out." Whew! I liked NEED! It was a bit crazy and one of those storylines where characters are pushed to the strangest limits and points of view switched so often, it takes a while to figure out who everyone is. The entire premise is based on what people decide they need, and what they're willing to do FOR those things they think they need. Which, of course, takes on a whole new level of crazy when the requests (and, therefore, assignments to complete in order to receive what they "need") grows more serious. There's a lot of good points regarding people and their levels of agreeing to do things you'd normally never do due to anonymity, and it really does make you think. Along with that is the main character who is struggling to figure out how to get something she needs but has basically shot herself in the foot. That's the main struggle of the storyline: how Kaylee's going to get her brother what he needs. Everything else basically falls around that problem. As for the execution of NEED, writing-wise: the necessity of laying out NEED's system of requests and corresponding actions wouldn't have made much sense, nor had the same emotional effect on the reader had the execution been done differently. I think it was great (albeit a bit confusing at first), and was very excited to see NEED has been optioned for a movie, because the entire time I read it, I was thinking how fun this would be to watch on the big screen! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers, psychological thrillers, social media, and contemporary YA. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
What an amazing teen cyber thriller! When students from a school are invited to join a new online social media site the incentives to do so seem unbelievable.....Really that should have warned them, you rarely get something for nothing and the rewards fulfilled on this site were whatever the student thought they needed - not what they wanted. The whole site is about NEED. To be rewarded, all the students NEED to do is fulfill the task specified. Initially that's just inviting others to join, but beware, what will the requirements be once everyone in the school has joined? With a brother who has a life threatening kidney disease and her father having disappeared soon after they'd found out about it, Kaylee is desperately seeking someone to donate a kidney to save her brother, including searching for her father! She's tried all sorts to raise awareness in their community, so much so that she's been referred for counselling to help her cope with the dramatic family traumas.....maybe NEED can help her? Don't you believe it! What about the other students and their NEEDs and their costs? Parents reading this should really be alerted to the dangers on the Internet there to suck in the gullible, unwary and opportunistic. The inherent dangers are shown in this frightening, thrilling novel with many believable scenarios leading to a dramatic finale. The characters are well developed and complex. Much of the story is told from multiple points of view, making it easy to empathise with the characters, their feelings, beliefs and actions. This is no straightforward teen school tale, it is an enthralling thriller, with a feisty, determined young lady striving to save her family, her brother, friends and, ultimately, her whole community from a threat few acknowledge or recognise. Thanks to the Author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
It takes quite a bit to scare me as far as books are concerned, but “Need” had me wishing I had left the lights on when I went to bed. It’s a solid new book from the author of the popular “Testing” series that fans of thrillers or the author will not want to miss. The story is told through the first person with Kaylee and through the third person using various students who are members of the new social networking site “Need.” Need promises to deliver what those who make requests need (though it’s really wants), but at a price. Mixing the points of view makes for a great mystery that gives the readers enough clues to keep it interesting, but not so many that it’s obvious what is going on. All of the characters are compelling, even those with only a few pages in total devoted to them. The plot makes for a page-turner and never slows down. It also brings up many serious issues about social networking and human nature, both good and bad. In fact, aside from a few events that seem a bit of a stretch of reality, I can’t find anything that I didn’t like about “Need”. Also, there is one instance of animal abuse and death, though it isn’t gratuitous and is important to the plot, so please beware if that triggers you. I recommend “Need” to all of those old (and brave) enough to handle a book that is terrifying because it could actually happen. It can be used to spark discussion about dangers, both online and off, as well as how we treat others. This review is based upon a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This was one wild book that had one wild website. Join and sign up a certain number of friends and you can get anything you NEED. However, it can only be your friends at your high school and you can't tell anyone and oh yeah, your site name is anonymous. Man, the people things will do just to get the things they "NEED". This was definitely a scary "what if" story. It was definitely one of those that I could not put down as I just had to know who was behind this. The things you had to do to get what you "NEEDED" just kept getting creepier and creepier and more dangerous. I definitely recommend this book. It's definitely a YA book, but I think adults will get into it as well. Thanks HMH and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed Joelle's trilogy "The Testing" and jumped on this when I saw it on Net Galley. She is currently one of my new favorite authors!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick read but a great book. Just the right twist at the end. Can't wait to read more from this author.