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In Case You Missed It Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sammy Wallach is a goal-oriented teen who has monumental plans for the end of her junior year in high school. Lie to her parents and sneak out to the city to see her favorite band? Check. Finally get the boy of her dreams to ask her to prom? Check. Rock her driver's ed test? Check. Everything is falling into place, until her world comes crashing down right before her eyes. The bank her father runs is attacked by hackers who have an activist agenda and steal everything in her family's private cloud network, including Sammy's journal. As a result, her entire digital life—emails, texts, and photos—is exposed for everyone to see and read. Now Sammy's best friends aren't speaking to her because of things that she wrote. The boy of her dreams thinks she is desperate instead of flirty. As if that weren't bad enough, her parents find out all of the lies that she has been telling to get her way. But Sammy soon learns that she is not the only one in her family who has been keeping secrets, and that realization turns out to be more painful than the lies that she so desperately tried to keep hidden. This work may spark some interesting conversations on Internet safety and the ramifications of anonymous digital posting. VERDICT An easy, fun read for fans of light fiction and of the author's previous novels.—Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs Middle School, TX
"Littman pens a raw, frighteningly realistic, and absorbing look at cyberbullying and the damaging effects of airing private trauma in a public forum." --Publishers Weekly
"[T]his is a powerful and credible story" --Booklist
Praise for Want to Go Private?
"A bold investigation of a potentially lethal, if common, mixture for teen girls: emotional immaturity, technology and emerging sexuality." --Los Angeles Times
"Littman pens a harrowing cautionary tale about the dangers that lurk online." --Publishers Weekly
"This book is a compelling, if not disturbing, read." --School Library Journal
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Top customer reviews
The characters were very well developed, and my biggest peeve in books is when the characters are dull, predictable, or underdeveloped. This book surpassed all of those, and each character, even if they were minor, had plenty of development and you could relate to them, since all of them were so diverse. The more diverse a book is, the more relatable it becomes within the whole community and it becomes relatable to more than one person, or group of people. This book pulled it off very well, and I would recommend it to any of my friends. To be honest, when a book is better, I have less to say about it, so read it yourself!
Diversity: 1 - Tokenism
Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Sam's family is Jewish; her friend Rosa is Hispanic with no specified background; two characters with the surnames Karim and Chen go undescribed and also have no specified background)
Intersectionality: 1 (Racism is a major issue handled in the novel, but I don't feel it did it well)
You know Jennifer Brown? The YA author who wrote Hate List and a bunch of other books that play out contemporary issues like sexting and a natural disaster destroying your home? If you ever needed a comp author for her because you or your teen already devoured Brown's entire backlist, Sarah Darer Littman is that author. In Case You Missed It is yet another brilliant novel from her, but I'd appreciate it if her books would stop making me cry.
In Case You Missed It is told in first-person, but when we read Sam's journal entries as an interlude between each chapter, readers get an even deeper look into her mind. She focuses a lot on her crush Jamie Moss and makes clear that she's a bit shallow and childish, but that's okay. Though my focus wasn't on boys, I was the same way at her age and have the diary entries to prove it. (You don't get to read them, though.) She's a realistic girl you might know in real life and she's also the reason you really should keep a paper diary.
Seriously, keep a paper diary instead of an online or even offline digital diary. Sure, your brother is more likely to get into your paper diary, but it's far less likely to end up on the Internet for all to read.
Coverage of the hack, the patriarchal culture her father both engages in and fosters within his banking corporation, and the casual racism Sam encounters thanks to her dad and her friend Margo's mom feel real and relevant without the bagging fear that this book will be dated within just a few years. The big names of news might change, but the style of coverage remains the same. I'm honestly surprised Sam encountered no anti-Semitism since her family is Jewish and her dad's a banker. The neo-Nazis would be on that before you could say anything!
But the true heart of the novel and its most powerful element is how Littman paints tensions within Sam's family. She and her mother have shouting matches regularly, she can hardly recognize her father post-leaks, and her little brother is an anxious mess. Seeing as my family situation is similarly volatile for very different reasons, In Case You Missed It cuts deeply a thousand different ways for me and regularly reduced me to tears. As the rift between Sam and her mother started to heal, it made me wish things were so easy in my own case.
But that's another story I can't currently tell. Regardless, In Case You Missed It is a novel that will deeply engage your emotions in ways other novels could only dream of and Sam's family is given depth that family members don't often get in YA novels.
The novel does its best to confront both systemic sexism and racism, but the latter is handled weakly at best. Though Sam is furious her father agrees to pay a recently hired woman named Aisha Rana less than he'd pay a man in the same position, it never comes up that Aisha is likely a woman of color based on her name. Intersectionality is important, but no one acknowledges that as a woman of color, she's likely being paid even less than she would if she were a white woman or a man of color. In addition, quoting Winston Churchill regularly in a novel with racism as a minor conflict is not a smart idea given his imperialist policies caused a famine in Bengal that killed 3 million people.
One further way the novel fails readers of color: when Sam writes in her diary that Hispanic girl Rosa's ability to sleep despite smelling of vomit must be "a cultural thing," Rosa is rightly angry. The scene in which she forgives Sam left a lot to be desired. Sam has the knee-jerk "I'm not a racist" reaction and Rosa downgrades what she said to "a hurtful thing from a non-racist person," which lets Sam off the hook too easily. There would have been no harm in Sam acknowledging the passive racism of what she wrote and fighting to be better than that going forward.
In Case You Missed It is an Issue book and there's no shame in that. It's the Issue book done right with genuine characters aplenty and a human approach to handling what teens might be struggling with instead of a didactic, novel'length lesson of what not to do. Did you read a bunch of Jennifer Brown's backlist and love it? Did her books fail you one way or another? Sarah Darer Littman's entire backlist should be on your TBR pile.
Now for me I figured there would have been more depth to what was posted, it was mostly Sammy's journal, text messages between her mom and dad, and her dad's emails. It seems that Sammy isn't the only one with secrets. Her family has to answer to the secrets that brought up. Too me it seemed that because of these hackers they did the damage they wanted too do, but it brought the family closer as we get towards the end.
Sammy learns that her dad seems different when he is at work verses at home and it makes her question him. On top of trying to handle the backfire of her social life going down the drain because of what was posted the family has to come together when they learn via the hackers about a family member.
Sammy to me was a developed character and too me acted like some teenagers do. I was glad to see a book that shows a teenager trying to do really good in school so she can have a bright future.
To me this book is great for the teens and ya to read as it is a clean read.
My favorite quote Sammy is reading a book called The Light Between Oceans and she pulls this quote out of it. " We live with the decisions we make, Bill. That's what bravery is. Standing by the consequences of your mistakes."
I did like the idea of diversity of characters, although it felt like they were inserted into the story just as social reminders of how todays prejudice can be used against each other.
As different levels of tragedy unfolds, the story presents many problems that need to be solved within family and friends. I felt dad was never given a clear reason why he did what he did or any workable answer to solve his dilemma. In the end, nothing seemed to mesh together, only the most unimportant event was highlighted. I love Scholastic Books and their young adult themes, but this was a miss for me.