Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (5 stars)

Want to Go Private?
by: Sarah Darer Littman
Pub. Date: August 2011
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover , 336pp
Sales Rank: 51,336
Age Range: 12 and up

ISBN-13: 9780545151467
ISBN: 0545151465

Summary: Abby is just starting high school. She’s not excited about it. Her friend Faith seems to be way more interested in it than Abby does. The two of them talk online on the new teen site, CHEZTEEN.com, and a stranger interrupts them. He sympathizes with Abby’s fear of high school and says that he is glad that he no longer has to deal with that. Faith immediately decides that the two of them shouldn’t talk to him, but Abby doesn’t see care. It wasn’t like they were talking about anything dangerous. School starts and Abby begins to feel more out of step. Faith seems to be making new friends and Abby starts to feel left behind. She spends more time online and bumps into the stranger, Luke, in a CHEZTEEN chat room again. He flirts with her and they begin to talk a bit more. As school becomes a habit and Abby feels more and more left behind by Faith, and distanced from her family, she spends more time talking with this guy online. He seems like the only person that understands him. Soon, she can’t think of anyone but him. Her grades begin to slip and she ends up getting into a huge argument with her mother. Luke puts the argument into perspective and asks her to run away with him. She does. The problem is that Luke is not who he says he is and now Abby is missing. The investigation begins and we can only hope that Abby will be found and okay.
My thoughts: This book is separated into three sections. The first section is basically the relationship building between Luke and Abby. It’s amazing how easily he integrates himself into his life. I don’t know if others have been through this, but I’m sure that teenagers are dealing with this often. People just seem to get close online quickly. I play video games online and often think of my fellow players as friends even though I have never met them. Since I am an adult and am trusting random people online, I can only imagine how a teenager that doesn’t think they can talk to someone may feel. When we are teens, we want so much to just be heard and understood. It’s scary how easily Luke uses this with Abby. It really made me rethink how integrated people who I don’t know are into my life. Anyways, the second section of the book is after Abby leaves with Luke. It is told through the eyes of Abby’s sister, Faith, and a boy who Abby went on one date with, Billy. This section focuses on the investigation. It’s interesting and scary at the same time. I wonder how accurate it is, but I would like to believe that police and FBI take internet predators as serious as they portray this in the book. I don’t want to ruin the third section, so I won’t talk about that one. It’s been difficult for me to get into books lately, and this was definitely a slump buster. It was just so good! It was relatable, a quick read, and wrapped you up into Abby immediately. It made me rethink my life, worry about my students, and make me want to take public action immediately. When can the FBI come do an assembly at my school about internet safety?!?

5 BIG, HUGE STARS

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