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The Need

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  177 reviews
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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Simon Schuster
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  443 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Miranda Reads

"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
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Diane S ☔
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
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 ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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.
Jessica Woodbury
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, 2019-shelf
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
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
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
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
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 ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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,
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
Jessica Sullivan
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
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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) 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 ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
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
Uriel Perez
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jaclyn Crupi
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How anyone can have children and not live in a constant and crippling state of fear is slightly beyond me. And it’s clearly beyond Helen Phillips, too. Here she elevates those fears to produce a fever dream of a novel that is unsettling, dark, clever and surreal. Motherhood as rendered by Phillips is a fractured state. This incredibly compelling novel will hold you in its spell with its Lynchian imagery and damn fine writing.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brooke || FindingMyFavoriteBook
You know that feeling when you've had the weirdest dream? And then when you are waking up, in that midst between total sleep and total alertness, you are left wondering if the dream was really happening? This novel was just that.

It was such a bizarre story and I am still trying to figure it out.

Although the writing style was very interesting and a nice change from usual, I couldn't get over the storyline and really had to push myself to finish this one. If you are really interested in the human
Morgan Schulman
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

I am so glad that this author brought her Gothic weirdness into this feminist take on mothering. It’s like the best of both worlds. Heartily recommended for all the moms out there whose minds may be getting away from them
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was ok

Behold the plight of the young working mother! Burdened by exhaustion, spooked by anxieties, feeling unworthy of the task, she is rife for exploration by so many contemporary authors.

I am not making light of it. It IS challenging and transformational to juggle toddlers, career and one’s own sanity. It’s the stuff of mythology. And indeed, Victor LaValle, another writer, did a fine job of that in The Changeling. The theme of centered around the fears that have been with us since ancient times whe
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!
Jun 19, 2019 marked it as dnf-arcs  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned at 34%. I like the strange elements, but the narrative style is flat and I just cannot read another word about the protagonist looking after her kids.

Review copy via Edelweiss.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star
DNF @ 15%

idk why, but I am having absolutely terrible luck with arcs right now. Everything I'm trying is completely failing to captivate me in any way. I don't even anything to say about this one, just that the writing and set up did not interest me enough to feel motivated to continue.
Geonn Cannon
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An extremely interesting premise that combines a domestic story about the trials of motherhood with a more fantastical premise. The idea of this book reminded me of a TV series I won't name for fear of giving away the early twists, but it took the seed of that similar idea and took it on a much different path. It asked intriguing questions about who is right, who is wrong, which person is actually the villain in the scenario (it seems obvious at first, but then you have to ask 'what if I was in ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Eerie much the same as Foe and The Third Hotel in that they both disturbed and confused, Phillips' coy narration easily manipulates the reader as well, playing with any slippery sense of grounding one may or may not have as the chapters slide quickly by and more questions come alongside the discomfort- something is very much amiss here.

Molly is dedicated to her job in the Pit as a paleobotanist, trying to make sense of the oddities (both organic and not) unburied there, and her job as a mother
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Mt. Lebanon Publi...: The Need by Helen Phillips 1 7 Jun 11, 2019 05:16PM  
Helen Phillips is the author of five books, including, most recently, the novel THE NEED. Her collection SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS received the 2017 John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her novel THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her collection AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY w ...more
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“She wondered if other mothers experienced it, this permanent state of mild panic, and worried that perhaps they didn't, that perhaps there was something wrong with her.” 0 likes
“Moment by moment, maddened by them and melted by them, maddened / melted, maddened / melted, maddened / melted.” 0 likes
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