Published: Scholastic (August 1, 2011)
Source: ARC from publisher
GoodReads Summary: 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.
My Thoughts: So can I please say that for the majority of this novel, I wanted to slam my eyes closed and say "nononononononononooooo?!?!?!" Because I did. Not because it was bad or poorly written. In fact, it's the complete opposite. Never has a book EVER made my stomach twist in discomfort and despair and disgust like this one did. BUT I COULDN'T STOP READING. And I didn't. I read it in one sitting. This book is not romantic and it's not sweet. It's gritty and raw, and really makes you think. Which you should think.
Because this stuff can happen.
This stuff DOES happen.
It was so easy to slip into Abby's lost, lonely mind. And with social media and the internet being so easily accessible and open to EVERYBODY, it's not hard to believe that a young girl like Abby would turn to a charming guy for comfort and affection. Was it just me who went into chat rooms? The internet was this new, awesome thing when I was a young teenager and I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that you could talk to people all around the world through a computer. I thank my lucky stars I wasn't naive enough to fall prey to a predator (or even get myself into that kind of situation) because I knew what could happen. Just like I knew exactly where this story was headed the entire time. And I couldn't help but think to myself: "what if this was my daughter? Or sister? Or ME?" Honestly, it makes me borderline nauseous just thinking about it.
Sarah Darer Littman is a genius. It takes a heck of a good writer to make me uncomfortable to the point where it's sickening. I hated that I loved this book. But I did. I love that the story not only was told from Abby's point of view, but also her younger sister's and her best friend's. It provided a well-rounded view of how Abby's actions affected everybody. The ending made me choke up a little bit.
Guys, I cannot stress this enough. Read this book. I know it's fiction, but it happens. It's REAL. If you're a parent or a child, READ IT. I'm going to make my children read this book. I'm going to make my children's friends read this book. I'm going to barge into my husband's school and hand it out to students there. It's a difficult, disquieting read. But it's worth it.