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Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Abby Johnston is 14-years-old and has just started her first year of high school. She doesn’t get along with her younger sister Lily and rarely sees her father since he started his own business. She is unhappy that everything in her life is changing. Abby’s best friend Faith, on the other hand, is excited to be starting high school and thrilled to be meeting new people and beginning new experiences.

Faith tries her best to encourage Abby to see the possibilities, but instead Abby begins to drift away from the close friendship they started in 2nd grade. She begins to feel betrayed when Faith becomes friends with Grace and starts trying new things. Grace is into drama and while Faith didn’t get a part in the school play, she gets a job working on the scenery. Abby faints during tryouts and refuses to return. She is furious with Faith for telling her parents about her fainting spell after she promises not to. Faith also starts dating Ted, whom she works with on the set and this further distances their friendship.

Abby belongs to a teenage internet “chat” site where she goes to talk and listen to music and where she is befriended by someone named Luke. They have the same tastes in music and he always has a sympathetic ear for her problems. Luke makes Abby feel better than anyone else and truly listens to her and agrees with her. Eventually he tells Abby that he is really 27, but by then he is already calling her his girl. Luke begins asking Abby to send him topless pictures and has her webcam herself “doing things” for him, but by then Abby believes that they are in love and is desperate to not lose the one person who completely gets her. She is given a cell phone that is to be used strictly for texting and talking to Luke and after a huge blow up with her parents, she agrees to take off with him for a weekend to teach them a lesson.

When Abby doesn’t return home her parents call the police and the FBI soon becomes involved. With Faith’s help, they crack the password into Abby’s account and work against time to free Abby from the grips of an internet predator.

I found Want to Go Private? very compelling – well written, informative and fast paced. I was shocked, engrossed and repulsed all at the same time and I would definitely recommend that parents suggest this book to their teenagers.

Rating: 4/5

Enjoy Littman’s writing? Check out our review of her novel Life, After

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