The Need

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 he...

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Title:The Need
Author:Helen Phillips
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Need Reviews

  • karen

    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

    about a book except that people have strong, and strongly

    , 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

    about a book except that people have strong, and strongly

    , 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:

    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

    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

    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,

    , 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:

    having that reference in my head was great, because it gave me an unintentional,

    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

    ? is it gonna go

    ?

    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

    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

    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.

    ******************************

    4.5 rounded up because i did not love

    , 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.

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  • Miranda Reads

    Molly, archaeologist, mother of two (Viv and Ben) and possibly insane, has just stumbled upon a mystery so dangerous that

    It started at work. In "The Pit" - a dig site that contained dozens of

    perfectly preserved in rock.

    Often people find a few new species, but so many in one location? Almost impossible.

    An old cola bottle with t

    Molly, archaeologist, mother of two (Viv and Ben) and possibly insane, has just stumbled upon a mystery so dangerous that

    It started at work. In "The Pit" - a dig site that contained dozens of

    perfectly preserved in rock.

    Often people find a few new species, but so many in one location? Almost impossible.

    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.

    And while it started with the Pit

    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

    other book in the

    is good enough).

    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

    that it's another trick.

    And just like that, the comfortable world Molly has constructed around her cracks ever-so-slightly.

    but nothing in the world could have prepared her its reveal.

    In short -

    The imagery, the pacing, the scenes - they all

    me and kept me on the edge of my seat.

    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

    whenever the book turned towards it.

    Molly (and later Moll) had such

    - 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 -

    Definitely one to look for if you want the ultimate summer read!

  • Brenda - Traveling Sister

    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.

  • Michelle

    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

    or

    then this is a book you will likely enjoy! 4 stars!

  • Linda

    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.

  • Diane S ☔

    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.

  • Tammy

    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.

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    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!

  • Lisa

    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.

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    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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