Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Genres: Women & Family Issues
Format: Paperback • Pages: 305
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Six children keep Kate and Brad Thompson busy all day. Between work, school, and Church activities there isn't much time for anything else. Having baby number seven might disrupt the family routine, but Kate isn't worried about that. She is worried, however, about her oldest daughter, Jess, who has been more secretive of late...
For Jess, being fifteen isn't just tricky—sometimes it feels downright impossible. ... Jess feels totally overwhelmed, continually misunderstood, and completely alone. Until she meets Emily online.
Emily listens, understands, and gives Jess confidence. Best of all, Emily introduces Jess to her cousin, Colt...[who] understands her better than anyone else in her life.
However, when Jess disappears it only takes one e-mail for everyone in the Thompson family to discover that when it comes to the Internet, things aren't always what they seem...
*While there is nothing explicit in this book, it does deal with the harsh reality of internet predators, kidnapping, and assault.
If your children have access to the Internet, you need to read this book. If those children are over the age of 12, they need to read this book.
I liked the Prologue, which sets the tone and foreshadows events to come. I liked the way Josi started each chapter with e-mails between Jess, Emily and Colt. It was unnerving to see how subtle, yet manipulative those e-mails were—coaxing identifying information from Jess, alienating and isolating her from her parents and friends, and finally, convincing her to break all the rules and meet in real life. The scenes with Jess seemed realistic and right on with the way teens think and feel. I could really empathize with her.
I was less captivated by Kate. We spent a lot of time in Kate’s head and there was a lot of “telling” rather than showing of her emotions. I would prefer to have some of that be shown in action and dialogue a little more. There were also a few errors—typos, cut and paste mistakes, etc. It should have been more closely edited, and for Deseret Book to let these slip through, all I can say is “tsk, tsk.”
But even with these annoyances, the concept and plot are great. The characterizations are well developed. I liked the ending. Small spoiler alert: It was a delicate balance between reality (the usual result) and a happy ending (unlikely), but Josi handled it well and it was believable.
I think this is an important read on a timely topic and so I say once again: If your children have access to the Internet, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. If those children are over the age of 12, THEY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
Note: I originally read and reviewed this book in 2007.