Want To Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman

Want to go Private by Sarah Darer Littman from The Figment Reviewby Victoria Testa

Abby’s life appears to be splitting at the seams. High school is proving to be even more torturous than middle school. Her best friend, Faith, is making new friends and leaving Abby in the dust. Her relationship with her bratty sister is deteriorating, and her parents just don’t seem to understand or care about the problems she is facing. In fact, no one really seems to care.

But then Abby meets Luke.

The age difference aside, Abby slowly starts to fall for this boy in her computer screen. He is funny, sweet, and charming. Best of all, he listens to Abby. Luke seems to understand exactly what is going on in her life. He is there for her, when no one else is. Luke becomes Abby’s beautiful secret where she can build a perfect life with him in the comfort of her own bedroom. Is Abby falling for the man of her dreams? Or, is she just falling into a web of lies and secrets beyond her imagination?

Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman is not an easy beach read. It handles heavy themes that, although mature at times, should be read by everyone. I strongly believe in the message of this novel, and I think that the more people read this book, the fewer teenagers will suffer the devastating effects of internet predators.

Despite the myriad problems Abby faces, her most crippling one is the feeling of being misunderstood or ignored. She feels like no one wants to hear about the situations she faces. This is not an uncommon feeling among adolescents. Many teenagers fear that they won’t be understood, because most of them don’t understand themselves yet. The teenage years are supposed to be a period to grow and find yourself. But you don’t have to do that alone.

Want To Go Private? is a realistic fiction at its best. The events that take place in the novel can happen to anyone at any time. In a way, this novel is the worst kind of horror story. It isn’t the kind that makes you scream at the protagonist, “Don’t open the door!” Want To Go Private? is a horror story that could become any teen’s life in a matter of seconds. Anytime you talk to someone you don’t know online, you are opening yourself up to danger. Monsters on the internet aren’t chain-saw wielding masked murders. They are quiet, thoughtful, sweet, and look just like you. But, this facade simply masks the terrible thoughts within. Please, don’t be fooled.

Although the message of Want To Go Private? often overshadows the story itself, there are other lessons to be learned within the text. Truly, this isn’t just a novel about internet predators. It is a novel about what teenagers want, fear, and need. It says that no one should have to face the world alone. There are plenty of real people in your life that want to listen to you and help you face your fears. All you have to do is find them. Just, please, don’t find them over the internet.


Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!

4 thoughts on “Want To Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman

  1. I’m actually sort of offended by a few lines in this. Being autistic I’ve always had trouble making friends in “real life”, so I turned to so-called “strangers” on the internet for socialization. Many of these strangers have become my best friends, and I’ve met most of them offline as well.

    I’ll admit socializing on the internet can be dangerous at times, but overall I’m disappointed in this review. I’ll reserve judgment on the book until I actually hear more about it than just a general soapbox on the message it proposes, but it’s safe to say I’ll skip this one.

  2. The whole idea of “people aren’t real if you meet them online” makes it hard for young people to comprehend that other people actually exist, even if they can’t physically touch them and that the content of a relationship is the emotions involved, not tactile sensation.

    And it blinds them to the fact that danger exists everywhere, not just online. “I can see you, so I can trust you” gets a lot of teenagers in trouble, but it’s easier to blame the big bad internet than to teach real prudence.

    If you can’t be honest with a teenager and tell them what dangers actually exist and why, then they’ll just find another way to fall victim to all the nasty people in the world. And they’ll develop an inability to understand that the consequences of their online actions are actually real and affect real people. But as they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

  3. I am in fact only 11-14 years old (not saying my exact age for personal reasons) and I believe I do a pretty good job of preventing predators. I think it’s okay to give out your first name (never last) and possibly pictures if you have known them for 4+ years. Never city, maybe state.

    I don’t believe that just because you can’t see the person, doesn’t mean they’re dangerous. A person you can see could be just as dangerous. You should just be very, very careful.

  4. I have to agree with the other comments on this page; you can meet people in “real life” who are just as dangerous, or more so, than those who you meet online. Yes, it’s becoming increasingly common for teenagers to meet dangerous people online, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to meet dangerous people. The people who don’t exercise caution when talking to people who they meet online are usually the same people who don’t exercise caution when talking to people who they meet “in real life.” Let’s not blame the internet for everything, please.

    I’m just going to hope that this is a bad review, filled with generic and vague statements about the morals of the story, but I don’t think that this is a book that I’m particularly interested in.

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