The Need

Long listed for the 2019 National Book Award, THE NEED by Helen Phillips starts out as a standard home-invasion/domestic horror thriller but quickly takes a strange turn into the speculative fiction/sci-fi realm! While her husband is traveling for business, Molly – an paleobotanist and mother of 2 young children – finds herself confronted by an intruder. I won’t tell you more because you simply must experience the twists and turns for yourself!

THE NEED started out very strong; it was intriguing, intense, and all together different than what I expected. It is wonderfully written and broken up into short, choppy chapters that pack a punch and set an ominous tone. But for some reason, the plot fizzled out for me and the ending provided none of the clarity or resolution I was hoping for from the beginning.

The central component of the story is motherhood. I loved Philips vivid depiction of being a mother: the ups, downs, stresses, and anxiety that comes along with raising young children. Though the description was brilliant, I felt like since I am not a parent I am missing out on an element that would make this book even more intense and relatable. I’m not saying you need to have kids to understand the emotions described, but I do feel it would make for a more impactful read.

** Simon and Schuster provided the book for honest review


  • Title: The Need
  • Author: Helen Phillips
  • Published: July 9, 2019 (Simon and Schuster)
  • Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction
  • Booky Nooky Rating: * * *

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