Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Series: Stand Alone
Published: August 1, 2011 by Scholastic
Description: 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 Give This ...
This was an interesting read for me in many ways. As a parent, I wanted to read this for my own benefit on recognizing the signs that this type of behavior might be happening to my own child. But, I was also curious how this might happen in today's society. You always hear about what not to do on the internet, but how does it really apply?
My first thought was that this book feels a little dated. I really honestly wondered if chat room like this really occur today. I remember chatting like this when we first got the internet back in the mid 90's. And it was with random people you didn't know and the eventual question of "want to go private". Not that this makes this book any less real. Because I can see how this could happen on Facebook, eventually leading to private communications. And I could really see how the chain of events could occur, as much as they make me stop and think.
I really felt for Abby. I think she is socially awkward and doesn't know how to handle her new school. When it's hard to make new friends to begin with, being separated from the few do have can be overwhelming. I don't think every one understands that. "Luke" knew just how to target her insecurities. He knew how to make her feel better about herself, when to agree with her, and basically what to say and when. While at first I was honestly shocked at how fast Abby gives in to what Luke asks of her, I later got the impression that maybe more time had lapsed than the reader really thinks. He is really grooming her. Everytime he listens to her vent about her everyday problems he is proving how much her cares (in Abby's eyes). In turn each little thing her asks of her better seals the hold he has on her.
The book was graphic in every sense. No words are lost in what Luke says to Abby. I think its for shock value to Abby. So the reader gets all the warning signs that Abby is missing. Abby knows she shouldn't be doing what Luke asks, but in she justifies it all to herself so beautifully. So when he finally asks the ultimate thing from her, she never hesitates.
Really, a must read for parents and teens (especially those who are active on the internet). I'm sure many people think this will never happen to me, or my child would never do that. This just proves that it can and does happen to anybody!