Review: Want to Go Private by Sarah Littman

Want to Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman


Release Date: August 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From:
IBSN: 9780545151467

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 bought Want to Go Private many, many months ago based on some of the great reviews I read. Then of course it languished on my shelf for quite awhile until I had sudden urge to read it. It’s not a perfect book, but its very captivating. I had a horrible time putting it down after I started.

 I’m sure you have some sort of idea about what the story is about, right? It’s about a 14 year old girl who is facing normal 14 year old girl problems. The difference that instead of finding solace in her friends she turns to the 27 year old guy she met online.

My first reaction to Abby was annoyance. She is so, so naive. I would have never done or fell for the things she did at 14. But girls do! These things actually happen so it’s not so hard to believe that Abby would make the choices she did. While she might not have been a 100% likable character she was realistic and that’s all that matters.

Want to Go Private doesn’t pull any punches. I was really surprised by how graphic the scenes are. It’s not gratuitous or anything. Just shocking. It brings a horrifying and creepy nature to the story. If I was a young teen reading this I would be terrified to talk to strangers in chat rooms afterward. That’s probably the point.

My favorite element of Want to Go Private was the process of finding Abby after she disappears. There’s great detail about the police investigation. It was really fascinating. There were also just a couple of things that I didn’t like. At times the writing was very repetitive. Math and Science were Abby’s best subjects and that fact is pointed out countless times along with other sentences that seemed to be repeated almost word for word. I also felt a bit of disconnect from Abby after she was found. She never had this big Ahhhaa moment that I was expecting. Those things weren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, though.

Overall, I enjoyed Want to Go Private as much as you can enjoy a book about internet predators. It was very captivating and impossible to put down.



  1. I just recently watched a documentary about this topic and it’s quote horrible what’s going on there! I have this book myself but for some reason never picked it up! It does sound however like a book one should talk about…
    DannyBookworm recently posted..Undeadly by Michele Vail – Blog TourMy Profile

  2. I know I should read this book. I know I want to read this book. However, it just scares the bejeezus out of me and I’m too scared to pick it up.
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  3. I almost bought this a few months ago when I saw it at B&N. It sounds really good. I hadn’t really heard anything about it though, so I didn’t end up getting it. Now that I know it’s a great book I will probably pick it up sometime. Great review!!
    Amy @ Book Loving Mom recently posted..The Protectors Series: Exiled & Shift Promo Post with GiveawayMy Profile

  4. I remember hearing about this book but it’s not a book I would really pick up. It does seem very captivating and I’m glad that it worked for the most part.
    elena recently posted..(what a tangled web we weave) review: crewel by gennifer albinMy Profile

  5. What a horrifying yet very realistic premise and threat! Thanks for putting this one on my radar.
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  6. I read this one and liked it, but for some reason it really didn’t stick with me at all. I barely remember any details of it. And don’t remember the end at all. I think I’m going to go read the end just cause I’m curious about what happened. That’s sad that I don’t remember though…
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  7. Want To Go Private has gotten so many great reviews, I don’t think I’ve heard anything bad about it besides the graphic-ness of the scenes. Anyways awesome review, and I can’t wait to read the book myself, and see how I feel about it!


  8. Ah! You know, I really enjoyed this book. I liked how raw and honest it was… but you are right, there is a change in the final chapters that also took me by surprise. I think that was a good tactic by the author though. Because the scenes are so dark and scary. I really believe in Sarah’s writing and I think she took a storyline that could almost be a Lifetime movie and she made it pretty realistic.

    I’m really not the kind of person who is not going to read a book because it’s issue driven or definitely going to be sad. I like to be challenged to feel those things by these writers. I’m so glad you put this on the radar though. The above folks look keen to try it out.
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  9. I saw this book a while back on Shelf Awareness and added it to my TBR list. This topic of online predators is covered so often in books/TV/movies, you’d think people would know better but…

    Thanks for your review :)

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