Sunday, November 9, 2014

Review: Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: September 18th, 2014
Page Count: 239
Format: Hardback
Source: via the publisher (thank you!)

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.


Review: I am back with another review (finally!). My hands are freezing at the moment, because our house is freezing, so it feels a bit odd to type at the moment, but the show must go on! This was another book I was sent from Merit Press (if you know nothing about this publishing company and the books they put out, definitely check out their website. They publish AWESOME YA books). When this book arrived in the mail, I had never heard of it before, but I was very excited to read it after reading the synopsis. It seemed like it would be a good thriller, and I have not read many of those. Besides, I think that it's great to finally have a YA book talking about an online relationship - as I teach middle school, I know that this is starting to become a very common/very scary thing with our teens, and it's great that someone is finally talking about it!

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I read it in one sitting because I could not manage to put it down. I had to know what happened next, and it was written so well that I just flew through it. It's always great to find one sitting books, and if you're someone that enjoys those as well, you should definitely check this one out. It helped that the whole thing was incredibly realistic, which is so important when dealing with a real-life problem like Internet relationships. 

Thea was a wonderful main character in the fact that she made some really, really bad choices at some points throughout the novel; just like your average teen would. Having very strict parents, she decides that she needs to defy their rules in order to have any sort of independence at all, which is how she ends up playing a new computer game at night, and eventually meets Kit. I do think that there are parents out there like Thea's, but hers were incredibly over the top. They could go into her room without knocking to see what she was looking at online, they made her share their email address so they could see all the emails that she sent back and forth, and they could check her text messages whenever they wanted to. While I understand parents wanting to keep their children safe, I do think that it was all their rules that ended up pushing Thea to start lying and breaking their rules. I suppose that was probably the whole point of the book, though. 

It was interesting to see Thea deal with things as the book progressed. She definitely grew as a character, and since I grew attached to her pretty quickly, it was easy to cheer for her at the end when she finally started making good decisions for herself. She was not the only great character, though. I love that even the supporting characters had their own stories; her best friend Janie, for instance, was a favorite of mine. I also loved Thea's mother, and the relationship that the two of them had. My mother has always been my best friend, so it is always nice to see a good mother-daughter dynamic in a YA book. It's not something that we get to see often since parents tend to be left out or part of the problem, so it was nice to see that change here, even if it took some time and development. 

There were really only a couple things in this book that I was not as thrilled with, though they did not take away from how great the book was. At one point, it did get a little too judgmental and "preachy" when a friend talked about how you could never be close to or trust someone you meet online. As book bloggers, a lot of us know that this is not true at all, and I do think some young readers might be a little turned off of the book by this part. Luckily, it was not a large part of the book. My only other issue with the book was the ending, and the fact that it came way too soon without all of the closure that I would have liked after getting attached to the characters. Everything else about the book was great and wonderfully written, and then the ending seemed far too sudden.

Overall, I think that this book was a wonderful, thrilling YA read. It's different than anything that I have read lately, and I think that made it even more enjoyable for me. It was impossible to put down, and it definitely had me wondering what was going to happen next. I would definitely recommend this book to any YA fans out there.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

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