Author: Jens Hildebrand
Published by: Warped Tomato
Publication date: 1st October 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from the author.
It all starts with an Internet ban. Lilly gets a bad grade in her Maths exam and as a result, her mother bans her from going on the Internet. Lilly rebels and is online in no time at all, checking her MyWorld account where she has several friend requests. One of them is from a guy she doesn't know but she assumes he's from the sixth form and she accepts. Little does she know that she's putting her whole family in immense danger. Is he who he says he is? They chat regularly and soon Lilly wants to meet him, which results in a wild car chase and more drama than Eastenders packs in at Christmas...
Damn this book is creepy. Not in a bad way, but it creeped me out enough to make me delete several hundred people on Facebook! I think this book is great at raising awareness of how serious and common Internet grooming is. 'Cyberstalker' is frank and honest whilst thrilling at the same time, so I think it's an excellent book for teenagers and possibly even mature pre-teens as Hildebrand dealt with the subject in a mature way.
I'll be honest, I didn't like the main character Lilly. She didn't have to accept Ian's friend request; it's common sense not to accept people you don't know. However, a lot of teenagers add people they don't know because it's like a popularity contest; who has the most friends? Lilly just frustrated me. Her only ambition was to get a boyfriend and even when someone was outside her bedroom window one night, she didn't bother to let her parents know. It's like she didn't have any common sense at all.
There were only two characters I properly liked, and they were Emma (Lilly's best friend) and Lucas (Lilly's younger brother). Emma always seemed to be there when Lilly was in trouble and she was generally a lot nicer than any of Lilly's other friends. Lucas was sweet and you could tell that he truly cared about his sister, even though he was always grassing her up to their parents.
Lilly's friendship group confused me. For a start, I wasn't sure how old they were - on one page they were referred to as Year 8s, but on the next page it said they were Year 9s. Secondly, I couldn't tell if Lilly and her friends were popular or if they were wannabees...their actions and the dialogue just didn't add up. They acted popular but Lilly didn't act like the rest of them and it never mentioned whether any of them actually liked each other. This is the only time you'll ever
In 'Cyberstalker', there are a few illustrations of Lilly's MyWorld account that show her status updates and comments etc. I'm not sure if my copy is an ARC - if it is then I'm sure these problems will be sorted out sooner or later - but sometimes in the illustrations, Lilly was referred to as Lena Joelle. There were also a couple of grammatical and spelling mistakes, but I believe this book has been translated from German so that is expected.
Some parts were just unbelievable. Towards the end of the book one of Lilly's friends tells her that if she put the letter 'o' in front of a URL on a mobile phone, she'll be able to access the website for free. I know it's fiction, but I think Hildebrand could have come up with something more complex and believable than just putting a single letter in front of a URL. If it was true, none of us would be paying for Internet on our phones. (Oh, how I wish it was true...)
To conclude, this is a really good book that focuses on some serious topics that definitely need more limelight in the YA world, but there were a few faults. I give this book a 3/5 and I do recommend it. Why not check out the first chapter and see what you think?