Initial reaction:From reading two books by Joelle Charbonneau, I’m wondering if she’d be better off writing comedic horror/thriller than actual suspense/thriller, because I found it difficult to take “NEED” seriously after a time. It had some decent suspenseful moments in the beginning and other parts, but mostly it was just the kind of horror you’d laugh about – for better and worse.

Full review:

Okay, full disclosure time. I wasn’t a big fan of Joelle Charbonneau’s “The Testing” – it started with a lot of promise, but I thought that there were things about it that didn’t mesh very well with the purported suspense the narrative had.

Unfortunately, “NEED” suffers from that same problem to me. I couldn’t take it seriously because of the way it started and then gradually devolved for quality. It’s billed as a suspense/thriller with social media links. There are a multitude of narrators, the most prominent of which was Kaylee (so I’ll call her the main narrator). On one hand, I saw why there were so many narrators – because when the characters start dying off as a result of other people’s actions, it was a unique way of wondering who survived and who didn’t. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of connection to the characters, not too many times when the suspense makes you truly on edge for the situation, and the way the plot tries to tie all of the events together seems…funny at best.

I could relate with Kaylee for the most part, but the disbelief thrown against her felt a bit too much for me. I couldn’t believe her mother would do that, plus the fact the police seemed to be more focused on her possibly being behind the scheme of events didn’t make sense to me, especially with all the teens dying for various reasons. I found myself laughing at how some parts of the narrative unfolded, so I decided to just ride along with the plot to see what happened. It’s silly D-grade movie horror/suspense at best, and after a while, I just treated it to be more humored than anything else. But honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this book for people looking for a thrilling, engaging read. It has some good ideas, but the execution leaves much to be desired.

Overall score: 2/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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