Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic, August 1, 2011
Read for YA Contemps Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
Abby and Luke chat online. They've never met. But they are going to. Soon.Want To Go Private? was a pretty scary read. Abby starts chatting with Luke online, and even though some of what he asks of her makes her uncomfortable, she quickly begins to develop intense feelings for him. Knowing her family and friends would disapprove, she keeps the entire relationship a secret. The time comes when Luke persuades her to move their relationship to the next level, and she agrees to meet him and run away with him for a few days.
Abby is starting high school—it should be exciting, so why doesn't she care? Everyone tells her to "make an effort," but why can't she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she's losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke—he is her secret, and she's his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn't who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again.
UGH! As a parent I was cringing while reading this book. At several points in the story Abby tells us that she learned not to do "X" from an Internet Safety presentation at school, or because her parents told her not to...and then she does it anyway! This is some scary, scary stuff here. This book demonstrates that even though your child may know the rules of Internet safety, he or she might not think the rules apply in that particular situation.
The layout of the novel makes it easy to want to continue reading. Part I is the brackground of the story-how Luke meets Abby, how their relationship develops. Part II consists of chapters told in alternating viewpoints--Abby's younger sister, best friend, and boy friend who'd like to be a boyfriend. There's a part III, too, but I won't reveal any spoilers. Just trust me, you will not be able to put this book down. Reading how Abby does what Luke asks her to, even though on some level she recognizes that it's wrong, will keep you on the edge of your seat.
For those of you wondering, while yes, this book is scary, and it is pretty graphic, there was just something about it that's preventing me from putting it on my MAHROAT list. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about it that keeps it from being absolutely horrifying.
Fans of dark contemporary fiction will enjoy Want To Go Private? This novel should be required reading for parents when their children get to be about 10 years old. Teenage girls should read this as a cautionary warning tale. In short, I feel that almost everyone should read this book.
Borrowed book from library.
Enjoy your reading!