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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Want To Go Private? - Sarah Darer Littman

Released August 2011

Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth for Amazon Vine

I'd love to think in this day and age that young girls are smart enough to avoid online conversations with strangers, however I also know that isn't the case simply by reading the news every day. Want To Go Private? touches on this concerning issue.

Fourteen-year-old Abby comes from a loving home, but her first year of high school scares her. Her best friend, mother and bratty sister push her into dressing nicer, doing more with her hair and using make-up. When Abby passes out during an audition and her friend tells her parents after promising Abby she won't, Abby starts to feel like she and her best friend are heading in opposite directions. Abby feels alone until a boy enters a chat room for teens and makes her feel special.

Abby knows the dangers of the Internet but "Luke" spends time building a relationship and making Abby feel like she's a princess. When things progress from simple text chats to video chats and then beyond, Abby grows to trust him. When he asks to meet up after a particularly bad day, Abby goes against everything she knows and agrees. Much to her friends and family's horror, Abby vanishes.

Want To Go Private? is scary, compelling and very realistic. The first half of the book is told from Abby's point of view. Once she disappears, the story is then told by Abby's best friend Faith, Abby's science partner and potential boyfriend Billy and Abby's sister Lily. All three add depth to the story and brought a tear to my eye as the investigation intensified.

Like me, I've betting most teen readers will wonder why on earth Abby became so gullible. I don't suppose anyone truly understands what makes a teen fall for the lines issued by an Internet predator. What this book will hopefully do is teach teens that no matter how good things sound and no matter what the predator says, he/she ALWAYS has a dark side.

While this is teen fiction, parents should take time to read it too. If you don't have your child's passwords, get them. Both of my kids understand that failing to give me their passwords means computers get taken away. It's that important.

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