Rachel has a lying problem. She lies to everyone. Her parents, aware of the problem, have been making her attend weekly appointments with her school counselor. Rachel goes, but she doesn’t stop lying. Soon she’s met someone online–Lonely Guy. And her lying only gets worse. She stays up late every night chatting with Lonely Guy and as a result her grades start to suffer. Her parents and best friend want to help, but when Rachel won’t tell the truth, they find there’s not much they can do.
My initial impressions of the main character were not favorable. First, it was never really explained why Rachel lies. Is it a psychological thing? Is she acting up because her father got remarried? Does she do it for the thrills? The reader doesn’t really know. She also seemed really immature, selfish, and naive to me. At the same time, she is supposed to be a kid in middle school, so that does kind of fit with her age. It was just hard for me to read about a character that kept making me roll my eyes. I feel like that could totally be on me though. I HATED junior high. I think back on 7th to 9th grade and cringe. My friends and I were all boy crazy and self-centered and looking back on it, I just feel so embarrassed of how I acted. So maybe the character’s hitting a little close to home in that aspect and that’s why I had a hard time with her.
Rachel’s naivety gets her in big trouble even though she insists that she’s being safe online and knows what she’s doing. Her situation made me reflect on what I would have done at her age in her situation. I’d like to think that OF COURSE I’d see that this guy who I was chatting with online wasn’t real, but would I? Rachel wants a boyfriend really bad, and I know that’s something that I struggled with at her age as well. That longing for someone to love her might have left her a little blind to some things. I was really glad that the best friend character, Steph, stayed with her through everything. I felt like they had a good relationship and genuinely cared for one another.
The last criticism that I have for the book is that the ending didn’t really seem resolved to me. The creeper she’d been talking with online was still out there (at the end of the book, the police were just looking for him to my knowledge) and he still knew where she lived! Totally creepy. In the end, I just felt really sad at how much Rachel felt like she needed a boyfriend and I kind of wish the author had placed more emphasis on boys not being everything. I feel like that “need” to have a boyfriend gets girls in trouble at a very young age. Just relax on the boy thing until you’re done with high school, okay? Overall, this book kind of reads as an online predator awareness campaign…so not exactly my cup of tea. I know a lot of other people gave this book great reviews though, and even though I didn’t particularly care for it, I do feel like it’s something I’d want my daughter to read when she’s starting junior high. I think it’s a good book (and probably a good series) for girls around that age.
Overall Rating: 2
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. One mention of smoking.
I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.