October 20, 2011

Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: August 2011
Source: Library
Abby and Luke chat online. They've never met. But they are going to. Soon.
When Abby meets Luke online, she can't believe her luck. He's nice. He's funny. He listens to her and he thinks she's pretty. He even gets jealous of other guys, which is adorable. Without Luke, Abby's not sure how she'd make it through her first year of high school. Everyone, including her mom and her best friend, Faith, tells Abby that if she just made more of an effort, she'd be having more fun instead of dreading each and every day as if it's a prison sentence. But there's nothing fun about being the lowest link in the social food chain.
Abby knows she's not supposed to chat with random guys online. But Luke isn't random, and he isn't a stranger. Best of all, he loves her. So what if she never goes out with her friends anymore and her grades are slipping? All she needs is Luke. Luke is her secret, and she's his -- it's perfect that way. So when Luke suggests they meet each other in person, Abby agrees. And then she's gone. Missing. Without a trace. And everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again.

This book has some serious HOLY WOW going for it. Chances are after reading the synopsis you're thinking to yourself about cheesy this book is likely to be. I mean, we all know about internet safety, right? Well, I'm here to tell you just how completely wrong you are.

When Abby started getting caught up with Luke my brain was having some issues. It was like I was split down the middle and one half was saying "don't do it, Abby! Can't you see who he is?!" and the other completely understood every one of Abby's thoughts and actions. Most of us have gone through that completely sucky insecure stage of our lives -- your parents hate and don't understand you, you're losing a friend or don't think you have any, and none of the opposite sex notices you at all -- and that's precisely where Abby is. Along comes this caring, sweet guy who always listens. What would you have done?

I feel like this book should be bought and handed out at Internet Safety talks instead pamphlets. Yeah, there are some pretty stark things in here that adults will likely balk at and for this reason will likely try to keep it out of kids hands. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one on a banned book list next year. But guys. These are the facts. The serious, gritty, scary facts. And you know what? Abby is fourteen and that's an age that is highly susceptible to these types of, for lack of a better word, attacks. I just want to buy a million copies of this book and hand it out to teens all over the place. Want to Go Private is a book that really should be required reading in schools.

(minor spoiler)
I loved that you got to see the "After." That's something you never see in crime dramas, but it was an integral part of the story. Tv often gives the impression that the girl is saved and there's a happily ever after for everyone, but Want to Go Private proves that this isn't the case at all. Abby was left with so many feelings and emotions after the whole mess. And it wasn't only Abby, but we saw how this affected everyone around her.
(end spoiler)

Final Thoughts: This book was a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes it was really hard to read, but I'm so glad I did. I honestly wish this book was required reading in schools. It would give kids a look at something very real and very scary. Please don't pass this book up because you think you already know everything about the subject or think it sounds a bit cheesy.
Thank you, Sarah, for writing such an amazing book.

Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 5 stars


  1. sounds pretty intense. And you're right, kids do need to read books like this. Sounds like something I should give to my flatmate who keeps meeting up with random dudes on the internet. And worse, she invites them over to our place... for their first meeting! :( so moving out soon as I can.

  2. I'm not going to lie..I totally read this synopsis a few months ago and thought it sounded cheesy...until I saw some reviews/chatter on Twitter about this book! I saw people really having an intense reaction and saying parts were hard to read. It's DEFINITELY back on my list for sure! Great review!

  3. I think this sounds amazing! I really want to read it! I love books about internet safety (or un-safety!). I think I will like this, and your review was great!


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