Release Date: August 1st, 2011 by Scholastic
Details: 336 pages, hardcover
Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary
Source: Bought on Amazon for Kindle
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.
Want To Go Private? is a very realistic and scary look at what teens today are prone to face while online. Abby is starting high school and she's not excited about it, not like her best friend Faith is.
I felt for Abby during her transition into high school. It was easy to relate how she was feeling as far as Faith "ditching" her for all these new friends and activities. And yeah I could say well why didn't Abby just join her instead of being so bitter about everything, but I know how hard starting high school and feeling alone is. So when Luke shows up, I didn't really question why she was spending all her time talking to him or why she was doing the things she was doing... she finally had someone she considered a friend. Someone who "understood" and "listened" to her. Sarah does an amazing job with Luke, he was believable. He said all the right things to Abby and at the right time. Luke was obviously not my favorite character. The way he manipulated Abby and lied to her was really frustrating, especially when it was SO easy to see.
So many times I wished Abby would just stay away from Luke and go on another date with Billy. Poor Billy. He was patient and supportive and really there for her, but it was just so hard for he to see. But I loved Billy's character. Another character I really could not stand was Abby's sister. I know sisters are suppose to be annoying and a pain but she was REALLY annoying and SERIOUSLY a pain. Every scene with them together literally made me thankful I don't have a sister.
Want To Go Private? is not a light read. It's dark, scary, completely realistic and it's graphic. I'm no newbie to the internet or to chat rooms and meeting people online (every friend I have in San Francisco I met online, but this was back in the AOL days, before webcams and such) and I'd like to think I know it all, but having situations that you know are real and that do happen in your face... how much you know or experienced doesn't make it easier when you see it happening to someone else. I'm glad that this book is published and that it's out in the world, maybe someone will pick it up and read it before something like this happens to them.
As for myself, I'm one of those this-could-never-happen-to-me people. Except, it never really could. To me the internet is a whole other world, I'm free to play pretend (which I did, at 13 I was really 16 and my name was Anna Mae and I lived in Arizona), be whoever I want to be and no one would know the difference. I guess that's sort of how predators look at it too, except for me it was to keep my identity safe and to distance myself from my real life. Like Abby, growing up was hard for me and being online was my escape.
I don't really recommend this book to anyone over maybe 18 years old, but I do highly recommend it to the much younger crowd (even if there are a lot of super graphic scenes, I think that's what makes it the scariest).