NEED by Joelle Charbonneau hits stores tomorrow. If you’re looking for a book that will scare people away from social media, this may be the book for you. Some aspects of the book seem a bit outlandish, but most of it is all too plausible, especially when one considers how gullible some younger (and older) social media users tend to be.
It all seems fairly innocuous in the beginning. NEED, a new social media platform just for students at Nottawa High School, promises to meet every need…for a small price. At first, all users have to do is forward a NEED invitation to a few friends, and then they get what they’ve asked for–cell phones, gaming systems, cash, and more.
Soon, though, NEED begins asking users to do more than just forward an email or two. As the number of users grows, so do the demands of NEED. A special delivery here, a forged signature there. A picture of bank or government records. A harmless act of vandalism. Some students abandon NEED when they see what’s going on, but the majority go along with the site. How else will their needs be met?
But when people start committing truly heinous crimes–even murder–some begin to realize that NEED is more than just a simple social media site. Who is in charge of NEED? What is their endgame? Why are they targeting the students of Nottawa High, and is there anything that can be done to stop them?
Given what I witness on social media every day–as well as all of the time I spend around young people–it’s easy to imagine the events of NEED as a reality.
Many people are looking to get “something for nothing,” and that’s just what NEED offers in the beginning. I bet we can all think of someone–perhaps even ourselves–who would fall prey to a site like NEED without asking the important questions. Why would a site like this exist? Who is in charge of it? Where does it get its funding? What is it trying to accomplish? Why would it focus only on teenagers? Would it all come tumbling down if–insert gasp of horror here–a teen were to confide in (and be believed by) a trusted adult?
I think those who read NEED will find themselves wanting to discuss its implications and likelihood of becoming a reality. (As for me, I would hope that it wouldn’t, but I don’t have that much faith in my fellow man. Perhaps that’s a failing of mine.)
For those still not convinced to give NEED a read, check out the book trailer below. It makes me want to read the book all over again.