Release Date: August 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
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.