Thursday, September 1, 2011

"I really want to get people talking about this very important book. Every teenager and every parent should read it. "--Jackie

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.

Jackie says:

"I started this book and couldn't stop--I read it straight through.  This is the story of Abby, who is having trouble adjusting to high school, especially since she doesn't see very much of her best friend anymore.  They don't have classes together and Faith is getting into new activities, like school plays, that Abby is just not into.  So she relies more and more on her online friends at a teen targeted chat site.  Especially Luke.  He compliments her, he agrees with her, he's THERE for her when no one else is.  He's interested in her, and that feels so wonderful that at first she doesn't mind answering some rather personal questions from him, after all, he's probably hundreds of  miles away and she's never going to meet him anyway.  Then he wants pictures.  Then he wants to webcam.  Then he sends her a phone.  Then he wants....other things...but he says he loves her, so it's all right, right?

This is about online preditors and how they "groom" teens, tweens and even younger children, making them feel safe and loved and special, when in reality it's about exploitation, pornography and sometimes kidnapping and murder.  This book takes Abby from the very first online comment to the aftermath of exploitation.  It is hard to read because of how easily it is done to thousands of children and teens every day.  This book shows the whole trap--and the wide range of consequences for the victims.  This book will cause a stir, and I think that is a good thing.  This needs to be talked about, and just like this, in real terms within real, average situations.  I applaud this author and this book for taking on this subject so boldly."

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