***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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.
Let’s start off this review by saying that this may have been a sacrificial book. Meaning I read it right after finishing Winter which was so mind-blowingly amazing that there was no way the book I read after it was ever going to live up to it. So perhaps that’s one reason why this book didn’t do much for me. I didn’t dislike Need, but I didn’t really like it either.
I had a really hard time buying into this whole premise. I like the idea of a social media network getting people to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do otherwise. I think social media is a powerful tool and I thought it was interesting to see what it could push people to do. Everyone seems to play along with NEED because they’re greedy and they want to fit in. They want to be involved like everybody else is. And I think this is really true in the real world. People say and do things on social media that they wouldn’t say or do in real life. But NEED took things one step further by having the teens actually complete tasks that kept escalating in danger and violence. And that’s where this book lost me.
I had a really hard time believing that all these students would be willing to do such violent and horrible things. One, maybe two, from the student body? Maybe. But it seemed like every single student was willing to do whatever it took to get what they requested from NEED. And when I say whatever it took I mean WHATEVER it took. Some of the tasks were horrible, gruesome and cruel. And there were real consequences, but no one really seemed to care except for our main character, Kaylee.
Kaylee was dull and boring to me. She wants to do the right thing and I liked that, but she didn’t have any real flaws that I saw and that made her uninteresting. I felt like Kaylee didn’t really develop throughout this book – even though at the end it really pushes you to think that she changed a lot – because she didn’t really have any major flaws to begin with.
And Kaylee wasn’t the only boring one. I didn’t really enjoy any of the characters. The POV changes between first person from Kaylee’s POV to third person from various other students’ POVs. The shift actually didn’t bother me, but it may have contributed to my lack of connection. I also had a hard time keeping all the students straight because we kept flipping around so much.
The plot itself was underwhelming. I was never scared, never on the edge of my seat. And the explanation at the ending wasn’t believable for me either. I didn’t guess the face behind NEED, but my jaw also wasn’t dropping to the floor or anything. We also didn’t really get to see who was held responsible for the deaths that occurred during the reign of NEED. Overall I think I just had a major disconnect with this book. Again, this could be partially due to being a follow-up to one of the greatest books I’ve ever read, but I also think it had a lot of things that didn’t work for me.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Were you underwhelmed or do you think my disconnect was because I read it after Winter?