Friday, November 10, 2017

[Review] Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Add to Goodreads
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 330
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
4.5/5 stars
My thoughts

The world is not a safe place. Books like this are vitally important to help prevent minors from falling victim to sexual predators from the Internet. I know what it's like, I used to prowl online chatrooms, Habbo Hotel and the like as a high school student, and trust me, there was an abundance of creeps out there. Luckily I never did come across any creeps who had the opportunity to exploit me in person in my naivete, but I suppose I know more than anyone else just how easy it might be, how real and scary this issue is. We NEED books like Want to Go Private? in the world. We need these books to be shared and discussed.

Want to Go Private? follows 14-year-old Abby, a slightly shy and studious girl who is nervous about starting her first day at high school. Over the summer holidays, she and her best friend Faith, while on their favourite online social media/chat room platform, one where you create your own avatar and explore a world (sort of like Habbo Hotel), they meet some guy who shares the same musical taste as Abby, her "musical soulie". What starts off with a WTGP? (Want to Go Private) catapults Abby into a dizzying spiral of LukeWorld, in which she gets wrapped up in the sweet guy who listens to her, calls her beautiful and sexy and understands her like no one else. Her grades start slipping, her best friend is too busy with her new boyfriend and drama club, and she starts to blow off her cute science lab partner after one date. And then after her parents ground her for getting a D on a maths test - her best subject - she gets a chance to run away from home with (and finally meet) her boyfriend Luke who loves her, which is a dream come true! Right?

This book was just so scary and upsetting. It chills me to think it's been 10 years since I was 14, but I still remember how I was like back then. I actually met my first boyfriend on the Internet, a fan message board, at 13/14, and he was 25, and luckily I played it safe because we first met up with a group of fellow fans of the musician. But reading this made me think of how things could have turned out, and that thought chills me to the bone.

I appreciated the way Littman tells this story, through multiple perspectives so we get to see how this event affects her family and friends, too. It definitely makes the underlying message much stronger. The way her family breaks down and is slowly built up again moved me to tears!

I empathised with Abby, and I think what helped was that I was able to see a little of myself in her, particularly my awkward high school self. I was anxious to know what was going to happen to her, and I inwardly pleaded with her not to meet up with Luke. In general I quite liked all of the characters and somehow didn't mind if we didn't get to know everything about them - in this kind of book I don't think it's necessary to know everyone's backstories and the like. I adored Faith, she is an awesome best friend. And Billy, who is just the sweetest ever, though I'm not sure how many high school boys there are like him out there in the world.

The writing is crisp and easy to breeze through, despite the troubling and unsettling subject matter. 
I did not enjoy this book, nor is this the kind of book that can be enjoyed. The immensely important underlying message marks Want to Go Private? as a highly recommended read for young adults, especially those who think "This could never be me". I'm sure that many victims out there thought the exact same thing, it's not like they woke up one day and decided to meet up with a sex offender. A real eye-opener. Will definitely pick up more from this author in the future.


AUSTRALIA: A&R | Booktopia | Boomerang Books | FishpondThe Nile


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Related Posts with Thumbnails