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Friday, September 5, 2014

Who R U Really?...Review

About the book:
Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.

Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.

Thea is a 14 year old girl frustrated with overprotective parents.  She is introduced to a harmless role playing game online and soon meets an older boy who is beguiling and charming and everything a teenage girl could want in a boyfriend.  As Kit pulls Thea away from her family and friends, she is aware that it could be dangerous, but Kit is too tempting to resist.

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.

Thanks to Merit Press for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Margo Kelly here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 9/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars