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Who R U Really? Paperback – September 4, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Thea Reid is tired of her parents' draconian rules: no dating until she's 16, no cell phone during family time, no Internet until her homework is finished. On top of all of that, Thea has no privacy. Her parents have the password for her email account, and they do random checks of her mobile and online activity. Ready for some personal space, Thea signs up for an online role-playing game called Skadi. Using the game's chat feature, the teen begins talking regularly with an older boy named Kit. At first they only chat about the game, but as they begin to swap more personal information, Thea realizes that she thinks of Kit as a friend—maybe even more. Her friends and family warn her about the dangers of talking to strangers online, but Thea knows that she can trust Kit. He really loves her. Inspired by her own daughter's terrifying story, Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. While preachy at times, often reading like a cheesy after-school special about "stranger danger" on the Internet, this is a short and suspenseful novel that's guaranteed to give readers goosebumps—particularly as events heat up toward the end. Rather than condemning technology, Kelly focuses on the importance of making smart and safe choices and earning trust. A strong message here is honest communication between parents and children. A good choice for families to read together.—Liz Overberg, Darlington School, Rome, GA --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Winner of the Idaho Author Award
"Kelly's first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message." --Kirkus Reviews
"Suspenseful novel that's guaranteed to give readers goosebumps--particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together." --School Library Journal
"Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing.... Once I opened it, I couldn't close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page.... This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style." --Tempest Books
"This was such a good book. A story that all of us should read.... This was a great read that opened my eyes even more about the internet." --Just Us Girls blog
"Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine
"Kelly shows us just how terrifying, dangerous and unknown the world of online gaming can be--especially for a young teen.... The book is well-written and the story believable and engaging...I strongly recommend this book. It was a great read and delivered a strong, important message." --The Idaho Statesman
"This book is sure to spark a dialogue between parents and teens as well as tell an appealing cautionary tale to a younger audience and would be a good addition to any middle school, high school, or public library." --The Idaho Librarian (A Publication of the Idaho Library Association)
"This tense thriller offers useful lessons." --The Horn Book Guide
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Top Customer Reviews
I really wish I wrote expansive book reviews. Flowery. With lots of adjectives.
But I don't.
So, here's the deal - this is a tremendously good book.
It grabs you from the first page and carries you through until the end.
Internet friends are safe, right? Who hasn't had a chat in a group somewhere with someone from another state. OF COURSE they're your age. Why wouldn't they be? Who else could possibly be gaming?
While you are reading this book, if you're a parent, you are SO yelling at Thea. Grounding her. Forever. Taking every electronic she has ever owned away.
And then reality sets in and you realize YOU text your kid more than anyone else, so you're only punishing yourself if you go this route.
If you have ever been a teenage girl or if you have a teenage daughter, this will do the job of scaring the pants off of you.
It will also force you into having a SERIOUS conversation with your kid, especially if they are still fairly young teens who roll eyes and think you're a moron.
Really, the conversation should happen with either gender. Because let's face it, people are crazy. There are predators everywhere who have no moral compass, which is why they are predators in the first place.
It's a quick read that does get your heart thumping in places.
I think everybody can relate to that rush of first love when you're a teenager, and it was exciting to follow along with Thea as she gets involved with this charming boy she meets online... and also agonizing as it starts to take a turn for the worse.
Anybody who likes some suspense would enjoy this book, and it's also a good read because of it's frighteningly realistic story
That Thea baulks at the strictness does not surprise, although she does so in a fairly passive-aggressive way. She does not run away or stay out late partying or date thugs or get caught having sex in the basement. In fact, Thea's push back starts off fairly innocently: she begins playing a computer game, an online Dungeons and Dragons, Minecraft-type experience that entails playing with and against other combatants with whom she can chat and strategize. Before long, the game becomes an addiction. She foregoes school, homework, and friends, preferring to escape to her virtual world.
If this sounds like an episode of Dateline, you wouldn't be too far off.
Thea forges a particularly close relationship with fellow player Kit, an older teen who lives in South Carolina. He confides some of his family drama in her, and Thea begins to believe that she found a kindred soul of sorts. They both feel misunderstood by their families, and each desperately seeks a connection with someone who does understand.
Thea's need for this relationship becomes so intense that it drowns out the voices of reason and sensibility that caution her to pay attention to discrepancies, to listen to her instincts. She acknowledges to herself that there are things about Kit that concern her, but she then willfully ignores them. It will frustrate you as a reader, because one minute she's worried or horrified, and the next she's making excuses and rationalizing.
The important thing to remember is that Thea is a young, teenaged girl who has been sheltered and protected by her parents. She lacks the life experience to know that she absolutely must listen to her gut, not understanding that just because you want something to be true does not mean that it is.
The book is fast-paced and interesting, although at times it feels repetitive. It seems like Thea has the same conversations several times with her mother and her friends. There also is a sub-plot involving a friend that feels a bit unnecessary. The ending, I suspect, is intended to give the sensation of a movie chase sequence, yet it is resolved almost too easily.
This is the sort of book that will keep parents up for days, full of worry every time their child plays a computer game. Reading it with a teen or tween undoubtedly will inspire some interesting family discussions.
Published on VoxLibris.net
The author has a solid grasp of what it is like to be a teenage girl with all the emotional ups and downs, the frustrations and tears and the joys and sorrows of friendship and family. Thea frustrated me at times, but what teenager isn't frustrating? I found the conversations between Kit and Thea a little cutesy, but I'm old and I only have teenage boys at my house. What I really appreciated was Kelly's exploration into how Kit, by his words alone, groomed Thea into pulling away from family and friends who obviously cared about her and her well being.
YA is not my normal genre, but occasionally I find a YA novel that reaches out, grabs me and doesn't let go. Who R U Really? did just that. I read this book in one evening and I was anxious to find out Kit's identity. I had my suspicions from the beginning but there were enough twists and turns that the story kept me enthralled until the end.
A fantastic debut novel and I look forward to more from Margo Kelly. This would make a terrific book group discussion for teens and young adults, as well as simply to promote a dialogue between parents and children about Internet safety.
I received a complimentary copy for review. My opinions are my own.