By Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic Press, $17.99, 332 pages
High school is tough. In Want to Go Private?, fourteen-year-old Abby just doesn’t seem to fit in at Roosevelt High. The guy she crushes on copies her math homework every day but can’t even remember her name, her little sister, Lilly, latches on to every opportunity to get her grounded, and her best friend since second grade, Faith, ditches her for the theater crowd.
Between being ignored by her parents and harangued by Amanda Armitage, the “Clique Queen,” the only place Abby finds solace is on a new chat-room aimed at teens. On ChezTeen.com, Abby meets BlueSkyBoi, who seems to be the only one to understand her. He makes her believe she’s special, sends her gifts, and eventually invites her to meet him.
When Abby goes missing, it’s up to her family and friends to rescue her before it’s too late. Sarah Darer Littman’s fourth novel is both chilling and suspenseful, and refutes the belief that “this could never happen to me.” I recommend this book to an audience of older teen girls, or to parents who feel uneducated about the dangers of the internet. Ultimately, this is a novel about healing, about friendship, and about growing up.