SOURCE: I received this from Tina at Bookshipper at one of our recent meet ups.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In six words, an instant message changed Alexis forever.
After a rocky junior year of high school, Alexis Singer was lonely, stressed out, and vulnerable–the ideal target for an older man with bad intentions. When a message popped up on her computer screen one night from a message board acquaintance, she could never have known that by responding she was making a choice that would change her forever.
By posing as a friend and confidant, the man gave Alexis the attention she desperately craved and weaseled his way into her life in an unimaginable way. Within weeks, Alexis was sucked into an emotionally dependent relationship, engaging in cybersex and sending him explicit photos of herself. Somewhere along the way, she lost who she was and put her dreams for the future, relationships with friends and family, and psychological well-being on the line.
‘Not much about that first online conversation we had sticks out in my head except for his surprising interest in me. I probably would have forgotten about it if it weren’t for that. I would have dismissed him as just another creep.’
I think I first heard about these books was right around the time BEA was about to happen. I have to say I was and I am really curious about the books because HCI Books has decided to come out with a series of books (6 to date)actually teen authored memoirs. Each book tackles a different teen issue such as mental issues, online predators, dealing with a horrific death of a parent and an illness. I think teens will be able to relate well to these books because they are books for teens written by teens.
The first book I picked up to read was Alexis’s story. I have to say my growing up is so much different then kids today. We didn’t have the Internet then so we never had this to deal online predators like the kids do today.
Alexis is your typical teenager. She is sixteen years old and having a horrible summer, she has just finished her junior year of high school and she is stressed out (college applications) then to top it off she is still struggling about the break up with her boyfriend, Chris.
I felt for Alexis because she has so much on her plate and dealing with alot and the friends she had are no longer there as they are all drifting apart. Alexis spends alot of her time on the computer as so many kids do. Being on the computer she finds a site that has people on it that share her interest, the arts. She goes to the site and escapes from the daily grind of life. She loved that site because on there she was accepted and finally had a place and friends to fit in with.
On the site called The Board she talked and left messages. It was on there that she met her online predator. He was the popular guy but also very rude. It was a hate/hate relationship at first. He always left rude comments about Alexis. One day that changed when he IM’ed her with this message ‘yer not 18 yet, are ya?’ (pg 7).
The man behind this message was a 37 year old guy who she later found out was named Phil and he is married.
I have to say from reading the book that Alexis wasn’t stupid she knew about online predators because she has seen the shows and knew the warning signs but having someone give her the attention she craved she caved like most teens would do. I mean honestly if you are a person and feel as though the world is against you and someone magically appears and tells you just what you want to hear wouldn’t you to?
I really think that more kids should read this book because they don’t seem to realize the dangers of being online and that accepting an IM (instant message) from a complete stranger could change their lives forever.
As a parent I am always cautious when I let Michael online and I am constantly monitoring when he is on. Thankfully he is young and doesn’t really go anywhere dangerous apart from lego and web kinzs world. Although after reading this book I was talking to Michael about the computer and the dangers of the Internet, he told me some of his friends (seven year olds) are on the computer all the time and that one boy sneaks online when his parents busy doing other things (their computer is in the family room in the basement) and I have to say that scared me to hear this.
I don’t think kids/teen agers realize the dangers of the internet and that they don’t realize that there is consequences to their actions. In Alexis’s case she was struggling and having someone say all the right things to her made her feel okay even though she knew it was wrong. Her gut instinct was telling her so but she didn’t listen. Thankfully she got caught before something serious could have happened to her.
I think kids need to realize that once you put it online its out there FOREVER no matter that you delete it from your phone, camera or computer its out there and god only knows what the other person will do with that info or pics.
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