I bought Want to Go Private based on a review that I read by Lori at Pure Imagination, but also because it covers a subject matter that actually rings true with me. I was a regular user of chat rooms for nearly ten years, and I even met (and eventually moved across the world to be with) my current boyfriend. But there are a lot of very very creepy people in Internet chat rooms, and although the vast majority of teenage girls wouldn't be interested in chatting with a man in their late 20's, there are vulnerable people who will believe everything they hear, despite what anyone would say.
Abby isn't the most of inspiring characters - she's quite shy and negative about herself, and lacks the confidence of her best friend, Faith, that high school will be the best years of their lives. And when she starts talking to a guy in a teen chat room about music, her problems at school and with her best friend, she immediately feels a connection to him. But those characteristics are exactly what makes this story so realistic - a confident, popular girl just wouldn't have felt right.
Abby's sister Lily is the exact opposite - snarky, opinionated and popular, their relationship really sets up the family dynamic, and without a doubt Lily was my favourite supporting character. One character I really didn't like was Faith's boyfriend, Ted. I found him to be quite unkind considering that Abby had been Faith's very best friend for years, and honestly if I was Faith I would have told him to piss off.
Want to Go Private? is split into three sections - Abby's perspective, the perspective of her family and friends after she goes missing, and the ending.
The first section really grabbed me, especially through the relationship development phase. As a reader I could see some very disturbing actions from Luke's side, but as Abby was completely wrapped up in their little world it was like watching a car crash.
The second part told from multiple perspectives is where I lost a little interest - and not because I didn't want to know their stories, which I think were as equally important, but because there's very little insight into what is actually happening with Abby. On the other hand, I can understand what the author was trying to do in writing the story this way, as this book is already quite explicit and adding that perspective would have made for an incredibly disturbing read.
The ending is sweet but I was left wanting a little bit more as not every loose end is tied up, and it also at times seemed a little fairy-tale-ish but the overall message is incredibly well presented.
I can imagine that some readers would find this book unrealistic in a way. After all, in this day and age, what teenage girl would start chatting with a stranger in his late twenties and agree to meet him to piss her parents off? But that also made it far more realistic, because the psychology behind it was so convincing.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie