Need by Joelle Charbonneau is a disturbing read about the extremes some will take to satisfy their own desires.
Kaylee is the main character of the novel. She has made herself into an outcast because of her manipulative and overbearing ways of trying to find a kidney donor for her sick brother. She has one true friend, Nate. He shows her the Need website, which promises to fulfill a need in exchange for a bizarre task along with posted photo proof. The tasks start seemingly basic, such as leaving cookies on a doorstep. Not so harmless when it’s discovered that the cookies are full of peanuts, proving fatal to the girl with severe allergies receiving them.
It becomes clear that there is a sinister hand playing the people of Nottawa against each other. When the teens involved realize their part in the deadly events occurring, most choose to stay silent rather than risk getting in trouble. Kaylee is determined to find the source of Need, especially when she realizes that her friend Nate has been kidnapped.
The ending reveals Need’s creator. I felt it was tough to imagine someone going to such lengths out of revenge and for the government purpose described. I found the book a bit dragged out in parts and hard to swallow in others. But the premise is definitely interesting and it makes you think about how far people might go for what they need/want. This very distinction (need versus want) is a repeated idea throughout the novel and an important theme.