Krista the Krazy Kataloguer's Reviews > Dear Jo: The Story of Losing Leah ... and Searching for Hope.

Dear Jo by Christina Kilbourne
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Nov 15, 07

bookshelves: read-childrens-books, read-goodreads-authors
Read in November, 2007

This was a gripping book about two 12-year-old girls who go against their parents' advice and get into online relationships with, unbeknownst to them, the same man, who is pretending to be a teen. One of the two girls arranges to clandestinely meet her online BF, and is never seen again until her body is found a few months later. The novel is told in the form of journal (the "Jo" of the title) entries by the girl who didn't get abducted and kidnapped. She eventually participates in a sting operation to catch the guy.

The message in the book is clear-- listen to your parents, and be very, very careful of online relationships, because not everyone tells the truth. The journal entries detail the range of emotions the surviving girl feels: anger, grief, depression, fear that he'll somehow find her and abduct her from her home, shame for not listening to her parents, survivor's guilt (why me?), frustration (wanting to DO something). Her parents, friends, teachers, and counselor all try to help in various ways. Closure in the form of catching the guy brings some relief, enough to allow her begin to function normally again.

I highly recommend this for middle school, and even high school, readers. I certainly intend to purchase it for my library!
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