*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Who R U Really?" by Margo Kelly

There is something to be said for Margo Kelly's Who R U Really? If I knew nothing of the back story of the novel and only took it at face value, I doubt I would have rated it higher than a 2, maybe a low 3. But because I read a review before reading it, it captured my attention differently and I was able to forgive the plot points that bothered me. For this reason, I am able to give it a higher rating because I can see the heart and passion behind the writing.

Thea feels very suffocated by her parents. Many of her actions are closely monitored and her parents don't give her the same freedoms that her friends enjoy. When she starts spending time in a role playing game, she meets Kit. Though she starts off practicing good sense, they become closer and closer and things begin to move quickly, too quickly. Convinced that she is in love and knows best, Thea begins taking risks that put her in harms way. Will she be able to get help before things go too far.

This was a very interesting novel. I often struggled with certain plot elements, but knowing that this is based on Kelly's actual experiences with her daughter helped that a bit. There were many times that as a novel, I couldn't help but think 'this is too far fetched.' Every time though, I would remember that it's based on fact. As a writer, I wanted to tighten up some sequences, alter some secondary plot details, and make the ending stronger. However, I am glad to see real experiences being used to help others avoid the same situations.

Though a little inconsistent for a novel, I think this book does do a good job of shedding light on the importance of internet safety. My only real concern is that at times it does seem a little to PSA-like and I think that can be a real turnoff to the audience that needs to be reading books like this. Reading it as an adult, certainly makes me want to keep communication open and be able to talk to kids and teens alike and help them make smart decisions and be someone they can talk to.

Happy Reading!

*A few years ago, I worked with kids at my local Boys and Girls Club to teach Internet Safety. This series of videos were part of the course. They are certainly an eye opener.

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