Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Review: Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

I've seen many reviews of Want to Go Private  that suggest this book should be read by every teen girl. I do think that this is a book that will speak to many, as well as being an engaging story.

The book is divided into three parts. I really had trouble relating to the first part. This is where Abby develops a relationship with Luke online, believes everything he says, does everything he asks, and ends up in trouble. I was frustrated with Abby because she missed all the signs of an internet predator. I did understand her keeping everything a secret -- from her parents, sister, and even her best friend. You have to understand that I'm a loooooong way from 14 years old. I had a hard time putting myself in her position and understanding her stupidity. I'm not saying this wasn't accurately portrayed, I'm just saying I had a hard time relating. I was very frustrated--but that's not a bad thing.

The second part, which is told from the perspectives of her family and friends as they frantically try to figure out what happened to Abby was brilliant. I really could feel the frustration, anger, and anxiety of these characters.

The third part is from Abby's point of view again, and basically is her and her family's adjusting and recuperating. I'm really glad they sought out counselling -- I can't imagine having any kind of normal life after these events without it. I really understood her father's reaction -- even though he made me mad. I'm happy that things were at least hopeful, but nowhere near perfect, as the book ends.

If it's possible to teach 14-year-olds that some decisions they make today can be life changing, then this book has potential to do it. I'm just not sure it's possible.....

I WILL recommend this one widely, however. If it enlightens even one teen, then it is a masterpiece, as far as I'm concerned. Littman's writing is tight. The book is hard to put down. It's very emotional, at least for this adult, but I think it will be emotional for teens too. This is a wonderful contribution to contemporary teen fiction about an important and timely topic.

Published by Scholastic, August 1, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
330 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. This one definitely sounds intense and I completely agree that her choices in the first half sound stupid. What's really frightening is that it accurately portrays a good number of teen's attitude and their internet use. I have this one on my list to read and I think it would be a valuable book that parents could read along with their kids and/or used as a book club discussion at school. Definitely a relevant and hot topic.

  2. Oh I am intrigued. Perhaps I should get a copy of this for my teenage cousin!

  3. This sounds pretty neat. I like the way it's divided in parts. I've never heard of this one before I'll have to check it out. Great review Annette!

    Xpresso Reads

  4. I've seen this one around but haven't heard much about it so it was really nice to read your review, Annette. I think more teens are aware of issues like Internet predators but I'm sure there are those out there who remain unaware. This book seems like a great way to educate them while providing a suspenseful and emotional story.

  5. I hadn't heard about this book until I read your review. This would be a great book for parents to read with their kids, much like the book "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. This will be a must read when my daughters each turn 14.

  6. This was a very informative review. Sounds very intriguing ...darn, not in my library ..yet? I'll have to keep an eye out for this.


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