Reviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

It’s Complicated is one of those eye-opening books that leaves you asking yourself question after question, wanting and needing to find the answers. For parents struggling to teach their children about Internet safety, or for those wondering how social media can have such an influence on the lives of everyday teens, this book would be an excellent way to begin your research.

Boyd interviews and observes teenagers as they live their lives through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is an advocate for teenage Internet usage and wants the world to know that utilizing the web does not always lead to negative consequences for teens. Most of us age forty or over hung out at football games (opening scene) to socialize with our friends for four hours on a Friday evening, not worrying necessarily about capturing every moment on an IPhone. Teens now-a-days capture moments through video and photographs, and when the night is over they relive the aftermath through commentary on status updates and photographs taken over the course of an evening.

The main idea that I took away from this book is that teens use the Internet to develop a sense of identity—one that used to be found through soul-searching, studying at the library, hanging out after school at the coffee shop and at Friday night games. The Internet has allowed teenagers to find themselves – the good, the bad and the ugly – and also allows them to suffer consequences of making the wrong decisions. With cyber bullying lately a main topic of conversation, the Internet tends to get a bad reputation. Although Boyd does not condone such behavior, she reintroduces readers to the positives of the Internet and social media and how they can help develop our youth.

This is not a typical read for me, however, since I have two young children and am petrified of the world around us, I decided to review this book to get a better understanding of what my kids could face in years to come. I am so glad I took the time to read this and have definitely taken a new approach on how I view social media. Although I have been victim to some online bullying, I can see how Facebook can give one their own sense of self and how one can create a persona that others would want to follow.

Boyd is an excellent writer and her opening scene puts you right back to high school coupled with the band, flamboyant cheerleaders, girls wearing letter jackets, and obnoxious laughter. I had to laugh while being introduced to this book because it reminded me of all of the things that I feared when I was younger and gave me a new perspective on what is to come for my children.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Rebecca is passionate and insane, empathetic and aggressive, loud and predictable. She loves reading, writing, shopping and creating. She is what she is and it may not be what the world wants but it is what it is. Love.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.