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review 2016-03-02 00:00
The Testing
The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & MoreI never thought I’d find a book that gave me the same feelings I had when I read The Hunger Games. The testing totally gave me that feeling.

It has a sort of Hunger Games feel to it, but so much worse. Who would want to be part of a program without knowing exactly what is going to happen. The mysteriousness of it would have me running the other direction.

I did like Cia. At times she’s very child-like, but I appreciated the fact that she thinks things through. She’s so good hearted, and really wants everyone to succeed. I love that about her. She doesn’t become jaded by the events that take place. She’s smart, and makes decisions that will benefit almost everyone.

I definitely wouldn’t want to be in her shoes while making the choices she has to make.
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review 2016-03-02 00:00
Graduation Day
Graduation Day - Joelle Charbonneau This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & MoreThis one had me on the edge of my seat. How is she going to do what is asked of her? Who is she going to trust to help her get the job done?

The conclusion plays a major focus on the decisions that Cia must make. Can she do what has been asked of her? Cia still goes through things with a logical approach. Even when there is a time crunch. She does everything in her power to expose the government, and get to the bottom of it.

I was second guessing all of my original thoughts as I was reading. This book kept me on edge and was a satisfying ending to the series.
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review 2016-03-02 00:00
Independent Study
Independent Study - Joelle Charbonneau This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & MoreThe next book in this series had me antsy. I didn’t know what to expect, or how things were going to play out.

I didn’t want Cia to have to go through some of the things that she had to. And some of the others in her area of study are lethal. They will do whatever they need to in order to get ahead. It’s terrifying. And not only that, but they have to go through more tests. It’s like hazing, on a deadly level.

After reading I’m ready for the next book.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-12-10 11:40
Review: Need
NEED - Joelle Charbonneau

I received a copy from Netgalley.

After rather liking the author's previous books, The Testing Trilogy, I was quite excited to see a completely different type of book show up in one of those 'Feed your Reader' emails. So jumped at the change for the 'read it now' offer.

This book had a great hook. A mysterious new social media site, an invitation only site offering to fill the needs of the students of a certain high school. It makes a point of the difference between what's a wish and what a need might be. The requests start flying in from an A on a physics grade to concert tickets to a new iPhone. Seems fun enough. But of course, its never as simple as something awesome for apparently nothing. The site, NEED, requires certain things to be done in order for the Need wishes to be met.

And the tasks seem innocent enough, then the stakes start rising and things become pretty twisted pretty fast. It's supposed to raise a point about what people are willing to do for the right reward. The tasks get harder, and people start dying. There are a lot of characters in this book. Chapters from a lot of different view points. Which at first is kind of daunting, why are we seeing random chapters from random people getting involved in the NEED site and posting their requirements?

It does all tie into the plot eventually. The plot is very fast paced and once its started the book is hard to put down. In spite of this, I did found it got rather silly rather fast, particularly towards the end when the truth behind the NEED website is revealed.

I didn't really like any of the characters that much at all. The main character, Kaylee, a self proclaimed drama queen, has all sorts of problems and family drama. Her younger brother is sick with a failing kidney and can be saved by a transplant. No one in her immediate family is a match, and her father has walked out on the family some months before.

 Kaylee is desperate to help her brother but goes to such extremes - she lies, it would appear she has been badgering the student body at her high school to get tested to see if any of them are potential matches. She posted fake ads on Craigslist promising a cash reward to find her father. She's faked sicknesses to get into the school nurse's office to access medical records.

(spoiler show)

Problem is she's pushed so hard to help and lied so much and been caught no one really feels any sympathy for her. The only friend she has left is her BFF Nate who sends her a NEED invite.

So what does she ask for? A kidney for her brother.

(spoiler show)

As the plot progresses and things start getting scary, one rather gruesome incident happens at Kaylee's house she begins to realise that NEED is not as great as it seems at all. She thinks she has proof and at least is smart enough at first to try and contact the police. Problem is she has caused so much drama and stress for her mother in the past no one believes her. Which understandably is very frustrating for Kaylee.

She's supposed to come off as selfless and heroic, but she had very little personality other than the must get help for my brother side, and while you can understand why she does it, it doesn't make her appealing as a lead character because she goes so over the top about it. Then whines when people don't want to help her family.

The plot twists and turns and all the seemingly random characters come together as Kaylee tries to prove that NEED is dangerous. All tied into the need request granting and what people are willing to do to get what they want. While it was certainly an interesting premise, it got very convoluted and ridiculous towards the end. Almost all of the characters were shallow and flat. A few redeemed themselves (or tried to) towards the end.

It was okay.

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review 2015-11-23 02:18
Review: NEED by Joelle Charbonneau
NEED - Joelle Charbonneau

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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