Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

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Summary: Abby and Luke chat online. They’ve never met. But they are going to. Soon.

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.”

This is a story about a girl named Abby who is feeling stuck in her middle school ways when starting high school. Her best friend is moving forward with a new boy friend and a new friend as well. She’s trying new things and is having a good time. Abby feels like all of this is happening without her and doesn’t understand what’s wrong with not wanting to change. I can relate to Abby a lot in that way, but i PROMISE that’s where the similarities end between us!

While being in a bad mood Abby is on a hot teen chat site where she meets Luke. Now, when you’re reading this, you’re going to think ‘How can she buy into this?!’ And trust me I’m not saying I don’t agree with you, but lets think about it. Think of yourself as a lonely, 14-year-old. Your best friend isn’t hanging around as much. Your parents are against you and your little sister is the devil. And you meet this guy. You’re just talking, and he understands. He’s on your side and you finally, FINALLY feel like someone gets it. And he’s not being a creep, he’s not asking for pictures and making you feel uncomfortable. He’s just being a friend. And you know he’s not lying about his profile picture, because you’re video chatting.  Now, think of yourself in this same position, but it’s a guy from school, that you can actually see in real life. So in both situations, this guy makes you feel special, loved, understood and happy. The only difference is, is that one you can see physically, the other is through a camera. And when he starts to be more intimate with you, it’s not unexpected, it’s a relationship and you trust him. You’re young and you’re vulnerable and you are ignoring the voices in your head telling you this is wrong because all you want is to be wanted. So what’s the big deal?

Understand a little bit better? In the book Abby’s dad has a really hard time understanding WHY. Why would she get in the car with some creep? Well, why would you get in the car with someone who you like, your boyfriend?  He doesn’t seem like a creep. He didn’t just IM you saying ‘Hey, lets meet up’. And this is something adults really, really need to understand and realize when they’re giving internet safety talks. No matter what, you cannot meet up with him. No matter if he seems like a creep or not. And I think that is the part adults are missing.

Now, how i feel about the book: I really enjoyed this book, despite how sick it truly is. It really opens your eyes, and shows you how the victim is feeling when they’re talking to someone online, and helps you understand why they would do it. I really felt bad for Abby because she was feeling left behind, and that’s not a good feeling. Her sister, Lily. Oh my goodness. She is a BRAT! I thought I couldn’t stand my younger sister. I seriously have no idea how Abby can stand her. Well..she can’t, but she doesn’t go ballistic on her every 10 seconds like I probably would. And it bothers me how much she gets away with. Her parents are always like ‘Now, Lily..Hey, Lily.’ It’s like a little tap on the back of her hand and she’s on her way again. I really like her parents just because their characters were so realistic. Not that I’d jump on having them as my parents, but as far as most parents in books, and heck real life, go, they are very caring. Faith is Abby’s best friend and I liked her a lot too but she was super pushy, which would annoy me. Billy is a boy in her science class who really like’s her but she isn’t sure what to think of him because of Luke. I liked him too because he’s really funny and jokes around with her a lot.

There’s three parts to this book and the first is told by just Abby. The second and third and told from Lily, Faith and Billy’s also. Not that the other perspectives weren’t interesting and well written, but I enjoyed reading Abby’s perspective best because you got more of an inside look on the whole thing.

I recommend this book to EVERYONE. It tells such a good story and I feel like it helps have a better understanding of the WHY part of all this. I think every teacher and parent should read this, just so they can understand, it can happen to anyone.

 5/5 stars

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8 responses »

  1. I haven’t read the book yet, but just wanted to address this point –

    >> No matter what, you cannot meet up with him. <<
    Disagree with this completely, as a now-adult who grew up with the internet, and I think advocating this is part of the problem. People do make friends online, and meet up in real life – that's not the issue. The issue is meeting up with people in private places, in going to someone's house or getting into someone's car, not with meeting up full-stop. I think the issue is more so that the internet makes it much easier for people to give out false or misleading information and means that certain things you'd know-for-sure about a person if you hung out with them, went to school with them, etc can't be taken for granted. It seems to make much more sense to advocate safe meetups rather than insist that everyone on the internet is a creep and/or dangerous – the latter just isn't true.

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