Review: Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Want to Go Private?
By Sarah Darer Littman
336 Pages
Scholastic Press

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.

I’m honestly not really sure how to review this book. On one hand, the idea that child predators are lurking around every corner on the internet is exactly the sort of absurd media-induced fearmongering that I absolutely detest. On the other hand, predators obviously DO exist and they are preying on children. Otherwise, what would this guy be doing with himself?

Seriously though, it’s just a really distressing topic. And, quite frankly, a disgusting topic. That an adult could behave like this and take advantage of a child is just inconceivably gross. I struggled to read the book because I found it so uncomfortable, which I take as a sign that it was well done. It was as graphic as it needed to be without crossing over into gratuitous territory.

I confess that at times I felt myself wanting to shake Abby for behaving so stupidly, and then I felt bad because she was basically a naive abused kid.  I had to keep reminding myself that…she’s JUST A KID. I guess I just expect kids to be more wise to the ways of the world and it’s hard to remember that they don’t have the knowledge or maturity to deal with situations like these. And as frustrated as I got with Abby I was infinity times more pissed at Luke because he was the adult and it was his responsibility to, um, act like an adult and not take sexual advantage of an underage kid.

As anyone who reads YA knows, bad parenting is pretty much a theme in YA books. Abby’s were a different kind of bad, though. Where most YA parents are blissfully ignorant at best and dangerously neglectful and/or abusive at worst, Abby’s are for the most part engaged in her life but in the wrong ways. They harp constantly on things like her grades but don’t seem to actually know her, how she feels, what she’s going through, etc. And after the shit goes down, her dad behaves in a way that made me want to slap his face off.

I truly have no idea how to rate this book so I’m not even going to attempt it. It’s a subject that’s important for teens to be familiar with but this particular book might be better suited for more mature teens due to some pretty serious subject matter as well as some very explicit dialogue (and believe me, it takes quite a lot for me to raise my eyebrows). It’s a well-written book and it should be read. It also made me very, very glad that I don’t have a daughter.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh my! This is very scary. I totally want to know what happened to her though. I’m not sure I could read this. I do have a daughter and although she’s still very young, issues like this scare to death! Well thought out review. Thanks for sharing! You’ll have to tell me what happend. 😉

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