Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 330 Pages
Published August 2011
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 book definitely scared me into being much safer on the internet. (Which is a bad thing in a way, because my dad is a detective so I'm pretty much lectured on internet safety each and every day and therefore should already be super strict and aware on the internet.) This book drew me in and held my attention--I finished it in about a day; I couldn't put it down!
As the summary explains, Abby is the smart, good, behaved girl of her family. So it's a shock to everyone when she falls for Luke, a guy she meets on a creepy online site. As predicted, she goes through all of the steps an internet predator is going for--interest, trust, falling, love, devotion. And then Abby makes the ever-wise decision to run away with Luke for a few days.
Uh-oh. What happens? You'll just have to read it and see.
This book was chilling and gripping and I just couldn't put it down. The only reason I didn't give it 5/5 stars was a personal reason--I just felt that Abby falling so fast and doing all of these stupid things for this guy that she didn't know happened a bit too quick, that's all. But I still really, really liked this book. It's a good eye-opener and helps you to realize that you really do need to be safe on the internet, and you want to believe that stuff like what happens with those "stupid teenage girls" won't happen to you, when it reality, it can happen to you. It does happen to girls (and boys, occasionally) like you and me.
The fact that Abby was such an "angel," such a good and smart girl really drilled the point home, in my opinion. Most people tend to think (and I do not agree with this, it's an uneducated and stereotypical judgement made by some rotten people in society) that the girls who get nabbed by internet predators (or go with them willingly, as Abby did) are the stupid, loser, slutty girls looking for attention. Which is wrong and I do NOT agree with this uneducated thought at all.
So the whole thing happening to Abby just makes it all the more clear that stuff like this happens every day, to everyday girls, the kind of good and smart girls you wouldn't expect something as controversial as this to happen to.
It just really makes me think, and it should make you think, too.
I thought that Want To Go Private? is an important book that everyone needs to find some time to pick up. The story is chilling and all too real and possible, but it's a very good and important way to preach about internet safety and about how something as tragic and scary as Abby's situation can happen to, well, anyone.