This edition of Second Chance Sunday is Sarah Darer Littman’s disturbingly realistic book Want to Go Private?. I still get the chills thinking about this book it was that real and scary especially in a world where teens live on the internet. This book looks at what happens when a child is unsupervised online for the most part and the dangers that they may face. I warn anyone that is a parent and read this it will freak you out. I’m not a parent and it freaked me out thinking of my 14 year old godchild and how easy it is in a world of faceless communications. A definite must read!
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.
A book like this really freaks me out. Not because of the subject but because of the reality of it. Things like WTGP really, truly happen. When I was 14 there was no worry about online predators. Commodore-64 was known for Logo and Oregon Trail, not chat rooms and Facebook. This day and age anyone can be anyone online and that is a scary thought especially when it comes to young teens. And Abby is the perfect example of how easy it can be to become a victim of this kind of crime and why predators look for kids like her.
There was nothing significant about Abby. She was a 14 year old average girl scared to start high school and for things to change. She was under pressure from her friends, her family and school. Her best friend Faith was fitting in as a freshman with no problem and that scared Abby. Instead of talking to someone Abby turned to the Internet and a boy she didn’t know named Luke. Luke was good, very good at getting this naive girl to trust him. He knew what to say and how to say it to get Abby sucked in. He was smooth and slick and made himself seem completely trustworthy and that he loved her. He made her feel special and that was what she needed. By the time he sprung the idea on Abby to meet she was too far gone to see the warning signs.
The part of this book that I really liked was that the story wasn’t just about Abby and how she became a victim. It was also about how it affected the people around her like her obnoxious sister Lily, her parents, the boy who was crushing on her and her best friend Faith. Abby may have been the victim but she wasn’t the only one that had to deal with the aftermath. Every person in her life was affected by this situation and I think it was important that the author showed that. Instead of the whole book being from Abby’s POV the second and third parts had Lily’s, Faith’s and Billy’s POV and showed how her disappearance impacted their lives.
Littman wrote an extraordinarily real story about the dangers of online chatting for teens in current society. It worried me and made me think of my 13 year old goddaughter and the world she lives in. Just a phenomenally amazing book. A must read!