The Need
When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows. But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement. Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion. In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

The Need Details

TitleThe Need
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN-139781982113162
Rating
GenreFiction, Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction

The Need Review

  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    "You're scary, Mommy." Viv was laughing. "I mean, you're scared, Mommy." Molly, archaeologist, mother of two (Viv and Ben) and possibly insane, has just stumbled upon a mystery so dangerous that she can feel her mind breaking.It started at work. In "The Pit" - a dig site that contained dozens of vibrantly new plant species perfectly preserved in rock.Often people find a few new species, but so many in one location? Almost impossible.But then came the impossible things. An old cola bottle with t "You're scary, Mommy." Viv was laughing. "I mean, you're scared, Mommy." Molly, archaeologist, mother of two (Viv and Ben) and possibly insane, has just stumbled upon a mystery so dangerous that she can feel her mind breaking.It started at work. In "The Pit" - a dig site that contained dozens of vibrantly new plant species perfectly preserved in rock.Often people find a few new species, but so many in one location? Almost impossible.But then came the impossible things. An old cola bottle with the famous logo going a different way, an older bible with a strange twist - things that should be easily debunked...but weren't. Yet how could any prankster - no matter how skilled - achieve such authenticity, such perfection, with such a random array of items from different time periods? And while it started with the Pit, it ended up at home. Molly has always had a "mommy-brain" - mistaking ambulance sirens in the middle of the night for Ben's cries and other simple switches. Her husband is out of town, her youngest is bawling to be nursed and her eldest keeps yammering about "The Why Book" (it's missing and apparently NO other book in the WORLD is good enough).And then...she hears it. The footsteps. She gripped her children as though the three of them were poised at the edge of a cliff...She could not move. She's normally frustrated by these mind tricks...but as she crouches in the back bedroom, clutching her children, desperately shushing them as she strains to listen to the maybe-footsteps down the hall, it's all she can do to pray that it's another trick. "Now what?" Viv said...a stage whisper rather than a shriek.But even so the footsteps shifted direction, toward the bedroom. And just like that, the comfortable world Molly has constructed around her cracks ever-so-slightly. For there is something in the house, but nothing in the world could have prepared her its reveal. ...Viv was already stepping away from her was already reaching to retrieve something from the deer's black-gloved hands: The Why Book. In short - I was blown away. The imagery, the pacing, the scenes - they all chilled me and kept me on the edge of my seat. "Your hand is shivering," Viv observed.Molly tried harder to still herself... This book had such a suspense movie feel to it and I absolutely devoured it.The Pit was so sinister despite minimal page space - I could literally feel my heart speeding up whenever the book turned towards it.Molly (and later Moll) had such an interesting dynamic - was it real? was it inside her head? little of both? Also, as a side note, the children in this book were really well done. I feel like so many times that children exist to say precocious and snappy one-liners but this book...they were the real deal.There was so much that I wanted to explore and so many loose ends were left untied but ultimately keeping it shrouded in mystery was a really choice - some things are better left unsaid.Definitely one to look for if you want the ultimate summer read!I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest reviewAll quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!!four months before pub date and it’s already clear that this is a very polarizing book. it’s also a book best gone into blind, with no expectations about whether you will exit through the “love” or “hate” tunnel. i know that’s a big risk, right - to not know anything about a book except that people have strong, and strongly divided, opinions about it? but it’s extremely landminey to talk about, because not only does this one have THINGS THAT HAPPEN spoilers but it also has tonal NOW AVAILABLE!!!!four months before pub date and it’s already clear that this is a very polarizing book. it’s also a book best gone into blind, with no expectations about whether you will exit through the “love” or “hate” tunnel. i know that’s a big risk, right - to not know anything about a book except that people have strong, and strongly divided, opinions about it? but it’s extremely landminey to talk about, because not only does this one have THINGS THAT HAPPEN spoilers but it also has tonal/genre spoilers, which leaves precious little for the courteous reviewer to discuss. and i am most certainly a courteous reviewer. the GR synopsis is more detailed, but all i knew about this book was what was printed on the back of my ARC: From the Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat comes a subversive, speculative thriller about a scientist and mother of two young children who, by confronting a masked intruder in her home, slips into an existential rabbit hole where she grapples with the dualities of motherhood — joy and dread, mundanity and transcendence — in blazing, arresting prose. that’s basically nothing. in terms of actual plot points, you get some nouns: scientist, mother, children, intruder; the conflict is covered by the vagueness of “confronting,” and then it’s all abstractions and filler. what book about motherhood doesn’t concern itself with both the joy and dread, mundanity and transcendence of the role? even “subversive, speculative thriller” is broad and subjective and slippery - is it a spy thriller, a psychological thriller, a romantic thriller? i mean, even Heart of Darkness is a thriller, on strictly generic grounds. if it sounds like i’m criticizing the back copy, i’m not. i think that’s exactly the right approach to selling this book, and it’s incredibly difficult to write something to entice a reader to pick up a book while also trying to keep its secrets.as you can see in my struggles here today. i went in blind and wary; i’d read one of the author’s previous books, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, and it wasn’t a ‘me’ book - it was one of those books that you feel in your headspace but not in your gut, if that makes sense. it was distancing and cerebral and i just never fell into it. but this one? this is all gut. and it is indeed very much about motherhood, a theme that rarely resonates with me. i don’t have kids, haven’t ever wanted kids, spend zero time around kids, don’t usually have any interest in reading about kids, but somehow, this book made the experience of motherhood so vivid in all of its facets - the primal bond and the exhaustion and the doubts and hopes and physical discomfort and the boredom and the fierce emotional tether and the pride and helplessness and fears and fears and fears - that i felt - i'm not presumptuous enough to declare that "now i know what motherhood is like," but i did feel a something. in the collective unconscious of my wombish region. as for the shakier ground where i must tiptoe, the plot-shocker comes early and in that moment, i was reminded of another book, but to name it here would be both spoilery and somehow also misleading, so if you wanna go detecting, it's a this-color book:(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]having that reference in my head was great, because it gave me an unintentional, additional red herring layer in a book already chummed with red herrings. it's a very held-breath kind of book, where you’re never sure if it’s going to veer into horror or sci fi or psychological suspense - is this real, is this an unreliable narrator going mad, is this our world or a slipstream world in which things like this just happen sometimes? is it gonna do this? is it gonna go there?and that's fun to me - unexpected plot twists are one thing, but it's much less common for there to be a suspensefulness to the kind of book we’re reading, and that was so exciting - it’s ominous and keeps you on edge, anxious to see where it's going, all frantic page-turning anticipation. last week i had the opportunity to hear the author speak about where this book came from, emotionally, and everything clicked into place. because of course this is the novel that comes out of that. addressing some of the criticisms i've seen on here - yeah, there are some unanswered questions at the end of it all. there aren’t a lot of explanations about some of the things that exist or occur that maybe just add textural flourishes to the story. but there is so much wonderfully visceral writing and such raw emotional grit and cerebral headfuckery, i don't even care about the unexplained bits.i am going to be naughty and type out one of my favorite passages in the book, because i think it gives a perfect idea of the hard-to-articulate combination of the ominous and the everyday - the ordinary horror of being in a grocery store with very young children with the suggestion of maybe/maybe not horrors of a different kind lurking in the wings. but i'll mute it because, again, courteous.(view spoiler)[Molly grabbed a second handful of cheese from the display and distributed the cubes to the children. "What's this no?" Viv said, chewing cheese."What?" Molly was trying to catch the dribbles of cheese from Ben's mouth before they hit the floor."What's this NO?" Viv was pointing at a sign on the glass case of the butchery. She had recently developed an obsession with NO signs: No Smoking, No Pets, No Barbecuing. The Circle With The Line Through It.Molly examined the sign. It depicted a woman with a shopping cart containing a baby. Beside the woman stood a child leaning against the glass of the butcher's case. All enclosed within a circle, all crossed out with a line."It looks like us," Viv observed.She was right. It did."So, what's it saying?" Viv said. "No us?""I think," Molly said, gathering herself, trying to overcome the agitation the sign had set off in her, "it means Don't Let Your Kid Lean On the Glass." An explanation intended as much to comfort herself as to inform Viv. Of course they didn't want kids leaning on the glass, leaving their fingerprints. It was a generic informational sign."You mean like leaning on the glass like the way how I'm doing right now?""Exactly." Molly couldn't believe how chipper her voice sounded. "So don't.""Okay," Viv said. "I won't. But I want to keep looking at this sign.""But we have to finish the shopping," Molly said. "Remember, the juice boxes? You can have one as soon as we pay for it." She didn't respect herself, her never-ending tactics and bribery. "I love this sign," Viv declared. "And it's my birthday. And I want to stay right here. Looking at it. Forever.""We have to finish the shopping," Molly said.Some moments later, Viv was on the floor, kicking and slapping the linoleum. Her barrettes had fallen out. She was screaming, not words but syllables.Molly took a step back, clinging to Ben, who clung to her. Other shoppers had begun to assemble, to witness. Molly felt hot and helpless. The witnesses murmured and muttered, trying to help."I'm sorry," Molly kept saying to everyone, to the world as a whole, "I'm sorry."She wished she had methods for ushering Viiv back into her tamed self. But she had never developed any methods. The beast within fought its way out while the mother watched in awe.As the tantrum continued alongside Molly's repeated apologies, the witnesses either lost interest or trained their increasingly judgmental eyes on the mother. (hide spoiler)]******************************4.5 rounded up because i did not love The Beautiful Bureaucrat, so this one gets extra points for being so much more my kind of thing. no one ever said math was an exact science.review to come.come to my blog!
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    My husband was out of town so I went to bed with a pile of ARCs fully intending to read several pages of each before making a decision about what to read next. I picked up The Need and woke up the next morning amid a slew of untouched ARCs with a large golden retriever contentedly snoring next to me. Clearly, I couldn’t put this book down.With her husband away on a business trip, a working mother cares for her young children alone and hears footsteps in the house. This is a dark and unsettling b My husband was out of town so I went to bed with a pile of ARCs fully intending to read several pages of each before making a decision about what to read next. I picked up The Need and woke up the next morning amid a slew of untouched ARCs with a large golden retriever contentedly snoring next to me. Clearly, I couldn’t put this book down.With her husband away on a business trip, a working mother cares for her young children alone and hears footsteps in the house. This is a dark and unsettling beginning. While this narrative scrutinizes identity, empathy, fear, and the joys and miseries of motherhood, it is not without humor and wordplay. Original and genre defiant, this is a novel that will be divisive. You’ll either like it or you won’t.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Well............what a strange story. Speculative fiction has been hit or miss for me. This one a hit. Every mother who has juggled the many responsibilities in her life, I believe, will find this book meaningful. The less said better here, it's really better to read without any preconceived notions. I do want to say though, that despite the book summary, this is not a thriller. Yes it is intense in parts, but not for the reasons one would think. If you are in the mood for something different, w Well............what a strange story. Speculative fiction has been hit or miss for me. This one a hit. Every mother who has juggled the many responsibilities in her life, I believe, will find this book meaningful. The less said better here, it's really better to read without any preconceived notions. I do want to say though, that despite the book summary, this is not a thriller. Yes it is intense in parts, but not for the reasons one would think. If you are in the mood for something different, well written, give this one a try. The young daughter in the story is a real hoot which lightened things up a bit.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    This book had one of the best beginnings I have read in a very long time and I was so on board flipping those pages furiously to figure out what the hell was going on. Molly, a young exhausted mother of two, works as a paleobotanist at a dig site where some strange, otherworldly items have been discovered. After returning home from work one evening she hears footsteps in the other room and her fear for her childrens safety is her only concern. The intruder does reveal themselves and they appear This book had one of the best beginnings I have read in a very long time and I was so on board flipping those pages furiously to figure out what the hell was going on. Molly, a young exhausted mother of two, works as a paleobotanist at a dig site where some strange, otherworldly items have been discovered. After returning home from work one evening she hears footsteps in the other room and her fear for her childrens safety is her only concern. The intruder does reveal themselves and they appear to know everything about Molly and all her darkest secrets. That's all I can really say plot wise. Again, I must say that this books beginning was so chilling I had goosebumps. Real creepy stuff and I applaud Helen Phillips for making my heart race. The kids, Liv and Ben, are drawn so perfectly and to be honest little Liv gave me the creeps a few times with some of the things she says. So shivery! Buuuuuutttttttt, this book sort of lost me. Don't misunderstand that I never once contemplated putting it down and I flew through this in a day but the ending really fell flat for me and I closed this feeling as exhausted as Molly did and in that way I suppose the author succeeded. If you enjoy the work of Iain Reid or Samanta Schweblin then this is a book you will likely enjoy! 4 stars! Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley.I really wanted to love this book. I didn't. I think the synopsis was rather misleading. Still, this book started strong. I was intrigued, and a wee bit freaked out! Quickly, I realized what was up. You will too. It's stated fairly soon. What I didn't get was all the lactating. I do understand how the author tied it all into being a mom, and all that goes with it. Yet, I kept thinking, "for shits sake, woman. Wear a pad or throw some 🚽 toilet pape My thanks to Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley.I really wanted to love this book. I didn't. I think the synopsis was rather misleading. Still, this book started strong. I was intrigued, and a wee bit freaked out! Quickly, I realized what was up. You will too. It's stated fairly soon. What I didn't get was all the lactating. I do understand how the author tied it all into being a mom, and all that goes with it. Yet, I kept thinking, "for shits sake, woman. Wear a pad or throw some 🚽 toilet paper in there!" All of this is just a teeny, tiny representation of my annoyance.First off, is Molly sane or slightly post partum? I would not have chose the path she took with Moll. Real or imagined, I'd have killed her! Worse yet? The ending. FULL STOP. I can't say more, because I already have said too much. I'm glad this was a fairly quick read. It wasn't bad, but it sure as heck wasn't great either.
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  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    I was going to skip this one since I've been avoiding thrillers centered around moms because there are only so many domestic thrillers I can read about drunk unreliable moms who just got out of a coma with a husband cheating on her...But apparently there's a sci-fi twist in this one and I'm hoping it will be another "Behind Her Eyes" situation aka everyone hates it but I don't!
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    We become our thoughts.Our thoughts, in time, become the battleground.Molly balances on a hair's breadth between her professional life and that of distant wife and bleary-eyed mother of two. Her heart is wrapped up in the ribbons of mommyhood with four year old precocious Viv and toddling one year old Ben. Her husband, David, is out of the country on one of his musician treks. Molly's hired Erica, a young woman babysitter, to fill in the gaps.The Pit.....Molly, a dedicated paleobotanist, is assi We become our thoughts.Our thoughts, in time, become the battleground.Molly balances on a hair's breadth between her professional life and that of distant wife and bleary-eyed mother of two. Her heart is wrapped up in the ribbons of mommyhood with four year old precocious Viv and toddling one year old Ben. Her husband, David, is out of the country on one of his musician treks. Molly's hired Erica, a young woman babysitter, to fill in the gaps.The Pit.....Molly, a dedicated paleobotanist, is assigned to a fossil quarry located outside the town near a defunct Phillips 66 gas station. She works alongside Roz and Corey taking turns sifting through The Pit for treasures, categorizing and documenting finds, and presenting tours for busloads of the curious. Beneath the dirt, the team has found a Coke bottle, a recent penny, and a Bible that designates God as "She". Molly finds a certain strangeness here that can't be put into words.....especially the tall, thin woman dressed in black wearing a baseball cap.A Night Visitor......Right out of the gate, Helen Phillips has us crouched down next to Molly as she hugs her two children tightly to her chest in the dark. She's heard someone in the next room and whispers to her babies not to make a sound. Slowly she makes her way closer only to be stunned by the presence of someone sitting statue-like on her couch wearing the deer mask that David made out of paper mache for her. And, believe me, it's not David.The Need is almost beyond description with its threads tightly wound around the purity of motherhood and the deeply rooted grip of survival. Phillips paints detail like a master artist in this one with descriptors that elevate the connection between mother and child to grand heights. Your eyes almost well each time the dialogue is spoken in innocent tones. Phillips tumbles out memories of the sweet smell of a baby's hair and the squeeze of tiny fingers on skin. She has a powerful reign over unexplainable events that keep her readers in a freefall from the first page to the very end.Helen Phillips will incorporate a razor-sharp split involving one of her characters. We'll see events happening with blurred, uncertain eyes. Molly will experience the gut reaction of a fight or flight response throughout. And we, as readers, can't let go.....I received a copy of The Need through Simon & Schuster for an honest review. My sincere thanks to them and to the talented Helen Phillips for the opportunity.
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    The Need is a unique, complex, brilliantly written story that is one of the strangest books I have ever read. Now, this is a good one to go in blind however if you are like me and want to know what direction a story is going I think it’s good to read a little bit about this one before going in. It’s a hard one to review because I feel saying anything about this story might be a spoiler as it really is very original and a very different reading experience here. However, it’s very complex and fast The Need is a unique, complex, brilliantly written story that is one of the strangest books I have ever read. Now, this is a good one to go in blind however if you are like me and want to know what direction a story is going I think it’s good to read a little bit about this one before going in. It’s a hard one to review because I feel saying anything about this story might be a spoiler as it really is very original and a very different reading experience here. However, it’s very complex and fast-paced and at times I felt I was missing things I really needed to pick up on. I feel the whole experience here is picking up on your own anxiety, fears, vulnerabilities, needs as a mother and facing your parenting self. The Need is a thriller, horror with some sci-fi that explores the fears and needs that make a mother vulnerable. The story starts off like a fast-paced thriller with a little horror there and then things take a little sci-fi. There is some horror throughout the story but not like you might think. The chapters are short and quick but pack a lot in them with all the complex layers to the story. Each chapter ended with me wanting to read one more chapter to find out what is coming next. Helen Phillips does a fantastic job here with the characters of the children and the dynamics with them. The daughter Viv is witty, sharp and entertaining. A bit annoying at times but I really enjoyed her character. She is realistic with all the traits of a toddler that had me laughing and cringing with her behavior. This one took some focus to really pick up on all the complexities of the story and I am really glad I gave this odd story a try. I think it one not to be missed for anyone who loves to delve into all the complexities of being a Mother. I highly recommend for group reads. I received a copy from the publisher.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Four dimensional, timeless space as infinity, between science fictional and supernatural, fear attracting, shocking stars!WOW! This book is the dimension of imagination! It stands at the area which we call the TWILIGHT ZONE! NANANANANA! Eerie music theme stops! This book is amazing mashup of Twilight Zone, Orphan Black TV series, David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” movie and Blake Crouch’s “Dark Matter”! It reminded me of “Shatterday”episode of Twilight Zone( 1985, Bruce Willis was in- his good times, Four dimensional, timeless space as infinity, between science fictional and supernatural, fear attracting, shocking stars!WOW! This book is the dimension of imagination! It stands at the area which we call the TWILIGHT ZONE! NANANANANA! Eerie music theme stops! This book is amazing mashup of Twilight Zone, Orphan Black TV series, David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” movie and Blake Crouch’s “Dark Matter”! It reminded me of “Shatterday”episode of Twilight Zone( 1985, Bruce Willis was in- his good times, before Moonlighting and tumbling down a ventilation shaft, still have hair on his head!): A guy sat on the bar stool, accidentally called his house and somebody answered the phone. Yes, the guy on the other line was also him! Was he a body snatcher? Yes kinda! When one of them( bar guy) started to vaporize, the other one at the phone took his place! Creepy as hell! So back to our story! Molly was alone at the house with her 2 young children when she heard the footsteps in her living room. And she realized that the owner of the footsteps didn’t belong to a stranger! It belonged to her! But other version of her. Yes, Molly or shortly Mol came from another dimension. Her own children were dead! And she wanted to participate in this Molly’s life! She only wanted to share her family! An innocent request, isn’t it? NOOO IT IS NOT! This version of Molly( Mol) lost several marbles! She’s threatening, she knows all of Molly’s secrets (because they’re the same person. Only difference, Mol has nothing to lose which makes her more unpredictable and terrifying!) So this book is: Terrifying: YES! Intriguing: YES! Creative: YES! Fast pacing:YES! Sooooo soooo soooooo disturbing:YES!Not nightmarish, pure horrible nightmare:YES!Grey cell deep fryer: YES!Nerve twister:YES!Makes your heart jump into your mouth: YES!Nail-hand-arm biter!: YES!ENDING: Definitely harsh, raw and again mind-losing! ( As soon as I finished this, I called my doctor for new mind transplant) WARNINGS:PLEASE ONLY READ IT AT YOUR HOUSE!If you read it at the coffee shop and accidentally start screaming, other customers may call an ambulance and they may take you away, force you wear the straight jacket! KEEP IT HIGH PLACES THAT YOUR CHILDREN CANNOT REACH IT!You don’t want to deal with nonstop screaming children, do you?CONSUME SMALL AMOUNTS:If you devour too much pages, it may create anxiety, panic attacks, hyperventilating , lactose intolerance( it happened to me, because of the stress, I consumed two big cartoon of Ben&Jerry ice creams), alcoholism( still me! )SUMMARY: Great concept, intriguing writing, best ending! If you’re a fan of mind bending, twisting, disturbing thriller stories, this book is definitely the best cup of tea for you!
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting, not at all what I expected! I related to the exhausted mom juggling a young child, nursing baby, and job. Those descriptions were spot on! Other than that, the story takes a serious detour - one that is never completed or explained. Overall this story had a lot of potential but was just not satisfying to me. If you enjoy an unresolved ending, this is the book for you! 👍🏻Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • sue
    January 1, 1970
    Help! I don’t know where to start.I’ve just read reviews on this book and I’m now thinking I’m kinda dumb. I just didn’t “get it”.The writing is very good, but following the gist of the story made my head hurt.I get that she has two young children, I get that it’s very hard work and that’s not to be underrated I’ve been there. Gosh, hard work, constant, no time for yourself but very rewarding.She works as a paleobotanistI loved it had short chapter and parts 1, 2 and 3.For me I think it needed t Help! I don’t know where to start.I’ve just read reviews on this book and I’m now thinking I’m kinda dumb. I just didn’t “get it”.The writing is very good, but following the gist of the story made my head hurt.I get that she has two young children, I get that it’s very hard work and that’s not to be underrated I’ve been there. Gosh, hard work, constant, no time for yourself but very rewarding.She works as a paleobotanistI loved it had short chapter and parts 1, 2 and 3.For me I think it needed to be divided into boxes of time.It’s definitely not a fast paced thriller.It’s........different. It’s not a huge book to read but because it puzzled me so very much I kept having to reread it.You know when people say “it’s not you, it’s me?” Maybe it is me?I read Ludwig’s review, got to the ‘scientific twist’ and I was done. If you are seeking a book with a difference, this is it.If you are seeking a fast pace thriller, this definitely isn’t it.If you are looking for an headache, this is it.When I closed the final page I was relieved.I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I really didn’t understand it.
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  • Mackey
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly, I had no need for "The Need." This is an extremely fast paced, quick read; a fairly short book. It's sort of speculative fiction or perhaps more sci-fi. There are suggestions of alternative universes so whatever genre that applies to, that is sort of what this book is - however - it is so strangely written that it's more horror/domestic horror than anything else and the ending, well, you would have to read it to see why the ending is "the thing," except I really don't recommend wasting yo Sadly, I had no need for "The Need." This is an extremely fast paced, quick read; a fairly short book. It's sort of speculative fiction or perhaps more sci-fi. There are suggestions of alternative universes so whatever genre that applies to, that is sort of what this book is - however - it is so strangely written that it's more horror/domestic horror than anything else and the ending, well, you would have to read it to see why the ending is "the thing," except I really don't recommend wasting your time unless non-stop, ad nauseam talk of breastfeeding, pumping breast milk, leaking breast milk and reading how incredibly hard it is to be a mother and so forth, so on, blah blah blah... wait, what was I saying? Oh right, if this is your thing and you don't get tired of repetitiveness or incredibly (!) annoying toddlers who are so over the top irritating (couldn't we have sent that child to the alternate universe I wondered) then you will enjoy this book. I couldn't get past the breast pumping, leaking breasts, breast feeding, milk storage, more pumping, more feeding, more leaking to really get into the story at all. Somehow I suspect that the "hype" of this story is more popular than the story itself and, like the emperor's new clothes, everyone is simply afraid of appearing "uncool," and admitting you didn't "get it," when -in fact - there wasn't anything to "get" at all. But, you know maybe it's just me.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. A fever dream about the deepest and most urgent fears of being a parent. I adored this book, it wrapped me very very tightly around its finger and toyed with me like a cat batting at a feathered toy. It is very hard to write about this book for people who have not yet read it. It defies simple categorization. It also defies tropes and expectations. It seems to be one thing then becomes another. At first, this appears to be yet another entry in the wave of domestic thrillers. Then it z 4.5 stars. A fever dream about the deepest and most urgent fears of being a parent. I adored this book, it wrapped me very very tightly around its finger and toyed with me like a cat batting at a feathered toy. It is very hard to write about this book for people who have not yet read it. It defies simple categorization. It also defies tropes and expectations. It seems to be one thing then becomes another. At first, this appears to be yet another entry in the wave of domestic thrillers. Then it zigs and then zags but I dare not spoil the ride. I will just have to do my best to talk around it. Being a parent requires a certain amount of magical thinking every single day. You have to think around the constant fears and worries. You have to not let yourself get stuck remembering that your child is mortal, that they are vulnerable, that the smallest thing could take them from you in an instant. But there's much more to this book than that. That is the most primal fear, for certain, but there are so many others, especially with young children. What if you are not a good parent? What if you could see yourself and realize that the version of you in your head is not the truth? What if you really do not have the strength to get through it? Phillips pulls apart these deep-seeded fears for Molly, who has an infant and a newly-minted 4-year-old, a job at an archaeological site, and a husband who is out of town for the next week in a truly terrible bit of timing. To me, this is a horror novel. It may not look like something by Stephen King, but it taps into the deepest and darkest thoughts parents have. Plus there's a supernatural strain running through the entire thing. At Molly's dig, they've not only uncovered plant fossils that are totally unprecedented, they've found more modern relics that don't make sense: a Coke bottle with the logo leaning the wrong way, a hundred-year-old Bible where God is referred to as female. The first section of this book is so well done I would punch it if I could. It is one of the most tense things I have ever read. It was terrifying (if you are a parent of young children, I recommend not starting this book at night while your children are asleep in the next room!) but it was terrifying in a very specific way I rarely encounter in horror: because it felt like it could happen to me and it could happen right now. Molly has parental fears that most parents share, the rational and the irrational. Even though my kids are no longer babies I still think I hear a cry every time my heater turns on. One moment Molly is terrified and trying to figure out what to do, the next she is sure everyone will laugh at her the next morning when she tells them the story of how she freaked out. She is, frankly, quite real and everything that happens over the first part is so incredibly creepy that I recommend precautions. (After the first part it is still scary, but in a much more insidious, just as brilliant way.)This is also one of a growing number of books that portrays early parenthood (especially for breastfeeding parents) so accurately I just wanted to scream "Too real!" every few pages. For so long this part of parents' lives (especially mothers) has been left off the page or simplified to only present perfect children because this part of family life is not worthy of being centered. But it is the most dramatic, most terrifying part of most people's lives and while it's not comfortable to read it, it's ironically comforting.I want to sing about this book from a rooftop. It does not fall into any particular category of what readers are supposed to like. It is too weird for women, it is too female for men, it is too genre for literary readers, and too surrealist for genre readers. But it is exactly 100% my shit and I will read a thousand more books like it.This would be an interesting companion to THE CHANGELING by Victor LaValle, another book about parental fears but with a very different perspective and genre mashup.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine being in two places at once; as a parent of young children, I can appreciate the appeal, however, this suspense filled surreal fiction centered around domestic family life flips the script on that notion to deliver a truly engrossing tale where nothing is quite as it seems. Comprising elements of sci-fi and horror, drama, The Need has a little something for everyone. Primarily centered around Molly and her two young children, the story is complimented by a series of strange happenings at Imagine being in two places at once; as a parent of young children, I can appreciate the appeal, however, this suspense filled surreal fiction centered around domestic family life flips the script on that notion to deliver a truly engrossing tale where nothing is quite as it seems. Comprising elements of sci-fi and horror, drama, The Need has a little something for everyone. Primarily centered around Molly and her two young children, the story is complimented by a series of strange happenings at a local dig-site where Molly works; a number of odd artifacts are unearthed and before long the site becomes a popular draw-card for the tourist industry. Unfortunately for Molly, the increase in attention spawns an unimaginable horror. The Need is pitch perfect for parents; that inbuilt primal desire to protect your children at all costs is exploited in devastatingly good fashion. The story is sure to pull at parent's heartstrings from the opening pages and throughout as it steadily evolves into something completely unexpected yet scarily satisfying. My rating:4/5 stars.
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 25%. The story took a very weird turn and I grew weary of hearing about the MC's pumping and constantly leaking breasts on every other page. Speculative fiction is not for me.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    OK, first I should admit that The Need by Helen Phillips was a book that quickly lost my interest and I had a hard time following this one from the start. There are plenty of people that love this one so it’s probably more a case of it’s me and not the book this time. The Need is a sort of weird horror, scifi mix that did remind me a lot of being tossed into the Twilight Zone for a few hours while reading and as weird as it sounds with me being a huge horror fan I was never that fond of the Twil OK, first I should admit that The Need by Helen Phillips was a book that quickly lost my interest and I had a hard time following this one from the start. There are plenty of people that love this one so it’s probably more a case of it’s me and not the book this time. The Need is a sort of weird horror, scifi mix that did remind me a lot of being tossed into the Twilight Zone for a few hours while reading and as weird as it sounds with me being a huge horror fan I was never that fond of the Twilight Zone.Our main character Molly is a young mother that tries to do it all to hold her family together. A mother of two young children under the age of five would be more than enough for anyone to handle but Molly’s husband is a musician and often gone while Molly is a paleobotanist bringing home the steady pay. Molly has been working at a site called the Dig where things have been found that seem just out of the ordinary leaving Molly with questions. Then one night at home with her children, overworked and exhausted Molly encounters an intruder into her life.As I mentioned already this one just didn’t seem to be for me, it felt like the beginning wanted to be creepy horror but then became more scattered and out there as it went along. Not sure how to explain it as to me it felt the author was trying to expand but dropped some details as quickly as they start along the way and just didn’t gel well into the book. I just figure as much as I love twists and turns and red herrings in stories those are still solid information whereas something like this leaves too much to the imagination leaving me with questions along the way.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Elizabeth at Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review ” And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. An Many thanks to Elizabeth at Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review ” And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.” Hmm. That was weird. No, I’m not referring to the quote above (though it is really weird. The bible is f**ked up). This book is weird. When I think back on it, I really can’t help but compare it to a weird fever dream. Maybe it was because the entire of state of Maryland is dangerously hot. The Need follows Holly, a young mother who is watching after her children when she hears some weird noises. When she investigates, she finds a mysterious figure who turns out to be…➵ Moll - An otherworldly duplicated of Molly, Moll is spooky, dark and twisted yet, because she’s a copy of Molly, who we do in fact care for, we can’t help but feel a small bit of pity for her.Molly and Moll fight over who gets to have the children. They both want them to themself. So, they decide to take turns watching the children but that doesn’t go well and Moll really just takes over the home and Molly is forced into hiding because she doesn’t want her children to see two of her because that would f**k up their tiny little fetus psyches. Admittedly, I was really, really close to DNF-ing this because it reminded me too much of one of my favorite horror novels this year, Little Darlings. But I stayed strong and powered through and I was only slightly disappointed. Fortunately, the story did diverge away from being too much like Little Darlings. That said, I really felt like there wasn’t much of a plot.Around the 25% point, I really lost track of what the f**k of what was going on. That could have been because I was listening to it in 100+ degrees of heat and I wasn’t in the right state of mind to read or because it was poorly written. Who’s to say.Overall, this is a really weird book that I didn’t totally enjoy but I still recommend it. Just make sure to read when it’s not ridiculously hot outside.Bottom Line:3 StarsAge Rating: [ R ]TW: Scary ThemesReps: [NONE(?)]Cover: 4/5 ~ Characters: 3/5 ~ Plot: 3/5 ~ Audio: 3/5 Publication Date: July 7th, 2019Publisher: Simon & SchusterGenre: Horror| Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Reddit | Buy
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Very strange story and not at all what I expected when I started this book. I can't even categorize the genre because it was a mystery, psychological thriller, and sci-fi. I heard it called speculative fiction but I've never heard of that category before and don't have any idea what falls into it. The story was well written and certainly showcases the fears of mothers, but with a very strange and creepy scenario. The beginning of the story got me interested quickly, but then it kind of slowed do Very strange story and not at all what I expected when I started this book. I can't even categorize the genre because it was a mystery, psychological thriller, and sci-fi. I heard it called speculative fiction but I've never heard of that category before and don't have any idea what falls into it. The story was well written and certainly showcases the fears of mothers, but with a very strange and creepy scenario. The beginning of the story got me interested quickly, but then it kind of slowed down - I guess because I thought I had figured out pretty quickly what was happening with Molly and Moll, and I was right. The repetitiveness of the lactation thing drove me nuts and for me, distracted from the story. I do think this author is talented though and I liked the writing style as it flowed easily.Thanks to Helen Phillips and Simon & Schuster through Netgalley for an advance copy.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued by the genre here, and before reading I couldn’t decide if it would be more horror, more science fiction or thriller. It’s not quite science-fiction, more speculative, and more thriller than horror. It reminds me a lot of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.Genre aside- the core of this book is about motherhood, and Phillips nails that part. In some ways, while reading this, I was relieved to know I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy. My daughter is six, so a lot of the things Molly is going I was intrigued by the genre here, and before reading I couldn’t decide if it would be more horror, more science fiction or thriller. It’s not quite science-fiction, more speculative, and more thriller than horror. It reminds me a lot of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.Genre aside- the core of this book is about motherhood, and Phillips nails that part. In some ways, while reading this, I was relieved to know I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy. My daughter is six, so a lot of the things Molly is going through I don’t have to cope with as often, but everything she endures is hauntingly, eerily familiar. I felt like I could have written this book. Kids will make you crazy, but your love for them will always trump all.This book starts much stronger than it finishes. I think, unfortunately the reveal for The Need comes far too early, and the end of the book stretches on a little too long. I would have liked if there had been more suspense/mystery built into the plot, or if the MC had spent more time investigating what was going on instead of simply accepting what was happening to her.Phillips does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life on the page. Especially the kids who come out with some off the wall, nonsensical stuff (like ‘Can I lick your eye?’) that only four year olds can invent. My one complaint with Molly would be that I really wasn’t sure the decisions she made felt reasonable or logical. People all react differently to different things, of course, but there were some decisions she made that were mildly rage-inducing and made me want to shout at the page. It was disappointing considering Phillips gets literally everything else right.I did enjoy the writing. The Need is definitely more literary than commercial, and while I wouldn’t describe it as lyrical, Phillips does some things with repetition and structure that feel hard hitting, if that makes any sense.The ending is ambiguous. Normally this is something I avoid, I don’t like ambiguous endings ever, but for some reason it works here. I’m attributing it to the fast build-up of suspense and the slow unraveling of everything else, as well as the allegorical nature of the book. It’s an ambiguous ending that I somehow understood perfectly, because the allegory makes a lot of sense to me. All in all- not a bad little book. If you’re interested in this because Molly is a paleobotanist I’d skip it, that’s a very small part of the book. Otherwise it’s a super quick read (258 pages) with fast, punchy chapters, that would make for a great lazy day beach read.The Need releases in the US on July 9, 2019 from Simon & Schuster. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    If this is one of those polarizing books people are talking about, I think I may fall into that meh category. I felt the same way about Baby Teeth, too.Yes, motherhood. Fear for the kids. Maybe not *fearing* the kids, but this is one of those "immerse you in the realities of motherhood" thrillers that then get... strange.I don't mind strange. I like strange. The stranger, wilder, the better. Give me something new, glorious... oh... well... This is a thing. Motherhood thrillers. Psychopathic tend If this is one of those polarizing books people are talking about, I think I may fall into that meh category. I felt the same way about Baby Teeth, too.Yes, motherhood. Fear for the kids. Maybe not *fearing* the kids, but this is one of those "immerse you in the realities of motherhood" thrillers that then get... strange.I don't mind strange. I like strange. The stranger, wilder, the better. Give me something new, glorious... oh... well... This is a thing. Motherhood thrillers. Psychopathic tendencies. Split personalities. It's a THING. The new, common, utterly replaceable Thing. I remember Cujo. Do you remember Cujo?Well, this isn't Cujo. By the mid-point I kept saying to myself... cuckoo... cuckoo... and that's not all that bad, in general, but when I keep reading the same themes over and over a grand majority of the thrillers I do read, I wonder if I'm hitting a rough spot. A spot where they all start running together.Is the market really demanding this?Well. I'm sorry to say, I was meh'd.
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  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    Mary is a paleobotanist who has discovered some odd artifacts in a fossil quarry, seemingly almost but not quite of this world, including a controversial Bible. Word gets out about these finds and people are flocking to the pit for tours. Their discovery has also sparked quite a bit of hate mail and Mary is a bit on edge. She’s also sleep deprived and stressed from caring for her one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter during her husband’s music tour. When a stranger in a deer mask appears i Mary is a paleobotanist who has discovered some odd artifacts in a fossil quarry, seemingly almost but not quite of this world, including a controversial Bible. Word gets out about these finds and people are flocking to the pit for tours. Their discovery has also sparked quite a bit of hate mail and Mary is a bit on edge. She’s also sleep deprived and stressed from caring for her one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter during her husband’s music tour. When a stranger in a deer mask appears in her home and seems to know more about her world than possible, Mary’s fragile connection to her world begins to disintegrate. This is truly a literary masterpiece. I’m blown away and stunned by its beauty. There’s absolutely no genre this book can be placed in. Even without the surreal aspect of this book, it’s a profound look at being a parent, both the high and low, both the joy and anguish. Coupled with the mind-bending happenings, this makes for an exquisite, unique read. Not only will this author change the way you look at the world, but she’ll break your heart while she does it.Most highly recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Bee
    January 1, 1970
    A mother alone with her two children, settling in for the night as her husband is abroad. An intruder who knows them intimately, lurking in their home. The Need is eerie and gripping from the very first page. This is the first of Helen Phillips’s books that I've read, and I was thrilled with the captivating quality of her writing, especially her raw portrayal of motherhood. The pacing is quick, with frequent changes of scene, bouncing between the present and days earlier. I tore through the firs A mother alone with her two children, settling in for the night as her husband is abroad. An intruder who knows them intimately, lurking in their home. The Need is eerie and gripping from the very first page. This is the first of Helen Phillips’s books that I've read, and I was thrilled with the captivating quality of her writing, especially her raw portrayal of motherhood. The pacing is quick, with frequent changes of scene, bouncing between the present and days earlier. I tore through the first half of the book, but found myself beginning to lose momentum as the plot progressed further. The Need became more dreamlike and ambiguous and ultimately ended this way. The final act of this book was unsatisfying and left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, but this was an interesting read nonetheless.I received my copy of The Need from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    Darn it! I was fooled yet again by a misleading description. WARNING ***THIS IS NOT A THRILLER! I would describe this book as speculative fiction so if you're looking for a 100% pure adrenaline, heartpounding thriller...look elsewhere!The first part of this story is fantastic! It is gripping, tense and mysterious. There is an early reveal that knocked me RIGHT OFF MY FEET! But then....it fizzles...like "air out of the balloon" fizzles. It delves into speculation and motherhood. It's like steppin Darn it! I was fooled yet again by a misleading description. WARNING ***THIS IS NOT A THRILLER! I would describe this book as speculative fiction so if you're looking for a 100% pure adrenaline, heartpounding thriller...look elsewhere!The first part of this story is fantastic! It is gripping, tense and mysterious. There is an early reveal that knocked me RIGHT OFF MY FEET! But then....it fizzles...like "air out of the balloon" fizzles. It delves into speculation and motherhood. It's like stepping into the twilight zone.I've read some other reviews and would agree there is lots to discuss in this book. For example, what the heck happened at the end??? I honestly couldn't tell you!! It's left up to the reader's interpretation. If the struggles of early motherhood is of interest to you and you enjoy interpreting the hidden meaning behind tropes, then this book is the perfect read. It delves into those sleepless nights, monotonous days and deepest fears that accompany this particular time in life using a compelling plot framework. Although the beginning of the story might have you thinking horror, thriller or sci fi, it is none of these genres. It is about the blur between reality and fantasy during those early years of motherhood.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for an ARC.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Need. This is my first book by the author and the blurb caught my eye so I went into this with an open mind.Molly is a paleobotanist excavating a site known as the Pit of various archaeological items that defy conventional explanation or categorization.At the same time, she is an overworked, exhausted, sleep deprived mother of two children under the age of five; her husband is a struggling musician who takes off when he gets a gig so, no surprise here Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Need. This is my first book by the author and the blurb caught my eye so I went into this with an open mind.Molly is a paleobotanist excavating a site known as the Pit of various archaeological items that defy conventional explanation or categorization.At the same time, she is an overworked, exhausted, sleep deprived mother of two children under the age of five; her husband is a struggling musician who takes off when he gets a gig so, no surprise here, she does everything.One night, Molly discovers an intruder in her house who seems to know everything about her. Her every move. Her secrets. Her life.Who is this person? What does she want?I don't want to give anything anyway because for me, this was the best part. The only good part.After the reveal of the intruder, the story quickly fell apart and I wonder if its because the author was not sure where she was going with it.I don't mind novels that break genres; most do.The blurb had me anticipating a sci-fi Twilight Zone, X-Files-like kind of tale; not unlike something Blake Crouch would write.And the possibilities were there!What is the Pit? A portal to a multi-verse? A link to infinite worlds and lives and tragedies?Why did this intruder show up and not manifestations of Molly's co-workers?What about the bizarre Bible Molly found? What does that mean?The writing is good but scattered, as if the author wasn't sure what she was trying to say:Motherhood is hard, regardless if you have a full time job or not, and no one truly understands how hard overworked you are. Well, duh.There is a lot of summarizing of the endless tasks that all mothers face; the demands for your attention, the wails of your children, the comfort and love and support they constantly need. Mothers are humans too and all this neediness takes a toll on Molly. Life would be easier without children, but joyless and loveless, to an extent, she realizes.There are more questions than any kind of answers:Is it this exhaustion that summons the intruder?What is Molly's connection to the Pit? Who are these zealots who visit the site? What is their purpose?There are many themes running throughout this short novel but nothing is touched upon, perhaps glossed vaguely but in a mild manner that didn't freak me out. I wasn't even creeped out until the intruder showed up and then she proved to not be the adversary I hoped for.I wanted madness, danger, confusion and some answers; I don't mind a vague ending, but an explanation or two wouldn't hurt.Also, there's no sense of place. Where is Molly working? Where is the Pit located? How did she come to work here?There is also no background on Molly. Why did she become a paleobotanist? Does she enjoy it? What does she hope to gain from working this site?I was not impressed with Molly, as a character and as a scientist. She was frazzled, yes, because she has two young children and a demanding, stressful job with fanatics, but I caught no hint of how smart she is nor does she have any plan to figure out what the Pit is and why the intruder is here.Instead, she does a lot of worrying about her children (fair enough) and wandering back and forth from her work site. Perhaps the intruder is there to remind Molly that her children are a gift, in any multi-verse and she should be grateful.I'm not sure since we don't know much about the intruder, either.How did she get here? How long has she been here? Also, what the fudge is going on?There was great potential for The Need to be dark dangerous and downright frightening; instead, it was a slow paced story about a lackluster main character who seems not entirely interested in deciphering the reason this intruder has come into her life.Or maybe its because she's just exhausted, like I was after reading it. I did 'need' a break when I was done.
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  • Jessica Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    This taut novel is a brilliant fever dream about motherhood and identity. It’s a perfect combination of thrilling page turner and cerebral, literary transcendence.I hesitate to reveal too much about the plot because you should definitely go into it knowing as little as possible, but I will say this: it’s about an exhausted mother of two young children who works at a fossil quarry where she has recent unearthed a handful of strange items that appear just a touch removed from the world we know. On This taut novel is a brilliant fever dream about motherhood and identity. It’s a perfect combination of thrilling page turner and cerebral, literary transcendence.I hesitate to reveal too much about the plot because you should definitely go into it knowing as little as possible, but I will say this: it’s about an exhausted mother of two young children who works at a fossil quarry where she has recent unearthed a handful of strange items that appear just a touch removed from the world we know. One night, she is putting her children to bed when she is confronted by a masked intruder in her home. How these two storylines intersect is surreal and fascinating.I had a similar feeling reading this as I had reading (and watching) Annihilation. The tension and dread are palpable, heightened by a constant sense of the uncanny: the strange terror and awe of the world not behaving the way you expect it to.Duality is a common theme throughout: the mundanity of motherhood vs. the extraordinariness of outside circumstances, alienation vs. togetherness, anxiety vs. joy.The prose is urgent and expertly paced, further ignited by Phillips’ linguistic playfulness.This book haunted me in the best way, and will remain in my head for quite some time.*Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Marisa
    January 1, 1970
    While Helen Phillips is a talented writer, I couldn’t quite get into this one. Maybe I lack maternal understanding, and maybe I’m not the target audience with the genre blend going on here. Just based on reading the description, The Need sounds like it’s going to be a home invasion horror novel, and as someone who LOVES horror and gets most scared by home invasion plots, I was super into it. However The Need isn’t the novel its description advertises it as. I understand that that’s due in part t While Helen Phillips is a talented writer, I couldn’t quite get into this one. Maybe I lack maternal understanding, and maybe I’m not the target audience with the genre blend going on here. Just based on reading the description, The Need sounds like it’s going to be a home invasion horror novel, and as someone who LOVES horror and gets most scared by home invasion plots, I was super into it. However The Need isn’t the novel its description advertises it as. I understand that that’s due in part to keep spoilers at bay because the big twist would definitely be ruined, but if I had known what the novel was going to turn into, I don’t think I would have tried it because it’s just a little out of my interest zone.Again, Phillips is a talented writer. Her writing is easy to follow, compelling, and laced with the anticipation needed to make this story successful. That being said, if I have to read one more description about leaking nipples or milk, I’m going to explode. That could’ve been a drinking game all on its own while reading. Another issue is the lack of world building that goes on. I saw another reviewer comment on the same thing, and I think that that also contributes to my apathetic feelings about the novel. The sci-fi element has absolutely no explanation, no sense of discovery, or anything to make it believable. It feels like the reader is just supposed to accept it and not question it, which I don’t think is a strong choice to make when dealing with a novel as sci-fi heavy as this one is. Overall, I’m glad I read this book but wouldn’t read it again. I’m glad to see that some people really love it, and I hope it continues getting positive feedback!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is not what you will expect from reading the blurb. It's so hard to say anything about it without giving away major plot points, so I'll just say it's about a very dark realization of a common fantasy of motherhood.(view spoiler)[ (Being able to be in two places at once.) (hide spoiler)] I would recommend to fans of Blake Crouch who are also interested in diving into all the dark and ugly parts of motherhood. I'm not a parent, so I couldn't personally relate, but I thought the author painte This is not what you will expect from reading the blurb. It's so hard to say anything about it without giving away major plot points, so I'll just say it's about a very dark realization of a common fantasy of motherhood.(view spoiler)[ (Being able to be in two places at once.) (hide spoiler)] I would recommend to fans of Blake Crouch who are also interested in diving into all the dark and ugly parts of motherhood. I'm not a parent, so I couldn't personally relate, but I thought the author painted a really vivid picture of the strain Molly was under and the sheer exhaustion that can come from being completely beholden to small humans. My only quibble is with the ending, which I didn't totally get.*I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Roz
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 40%I don't even understand why I read so much of it. This book.. well, it's definitely not for me.
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    The Need by Helen Phillips is a strange nightmare of a novel. from description: From the award-winning author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat, comes a subversive genre-busting thriller about a woman who grapples with the complex dualities of motherhood—joy and dread, tenderness and anxiety—after confronting a masked intruder in her home.Real, supernatural, science fiction, psychological? I never could decide. Toward the end, I began to find it tedious, but kept on hoping for more enlightenment. The The Need by Helen Phillips is a strange nightmare of a novel. from description: From the award-winning author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat, comes a subversive genre-busting thriller about a woman who grapples with the complex dualities of motherhood—joy and dread, tenderness and anxiety—after confronting a masked intruder in her home.Real, supernatural, science fiction, psychological? I never could decide. Toward the end, I began to find it tedious, but kept on hoping for more enlightenment. The Need reads like a bad dream and has the same open-ended feeling of being unable clarify or interpret with any genuine understanding. That wispy feeling of trying to remember, interpret, and understand an eerie nightmare.Maybe that was just me. I've never been particularly good at being able to synthesize dreams, to meld the elements into a coherent whole. I ended up with the same vague emotional reaction to something that failed to emerge as a comprehensible description.NetGalley/Simon & SchusterJuly 9, 2019. 252 pages.
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