Monday, January 5, 2015

Blog Tour/Review/Author Interview: Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly

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Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly
2014, 239p, YA Suspense/Thriller
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

Thea’s overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She’s living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.

Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really “gets” her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

This book deals with an issue that is every mother's nightmare--your daughter becoming emotionally involved with someone on the internet. My daughter is starting to use technology more and more and I've had multiple conversations with her about what is and isn't appropriate. When she gets a little older, I will definitely give her this book to read.

Thea and her best friend, Janie, like two boys, Tim and Josh. The girls are looking forward to these boys asking them out but something else happens at the bus stop which leaves them both humiliated and embarrassed. A few weeks later, her brother's friend tells her about this cool online game, Skadi, so she starts to play. She meets a boy, Kit, who she becomes friends with. He has some big problems that she helps him deal with and their relationship starts to grow. He starts pressuring her for more and more personal information and she slowly starts to give into him, not realizing the harm she's placing herself in. Thea believes Kit is who he says he is but others are warning her that he might be someone else entirely. She's willing to break all sorts of rules for him but is Kit worth all the trouble she puts herself in?

Thea is likable. She's a typical teenager that just wants to fit in and when she has a difficult time at school, she turns to a new hobby. She made some poor decisions but was pressured by someone she came to trust. Her parents kept reminding her of their rules but once she started breaking them, it became easier to do. She started to lie to everyone, even her friends, to keep the extent of her relationship with Kit secret. While Thea made some poor choices, she never became unlikable. I kept wanting her to smarten up so nothing serious would happen, but felt her actions were typical of a trusting teenager.

I also liked Janie and Tim and thought they were good friends to her throughout. Janie tried talking sense into Thea but friendships at that age can be tricky. I wasn't sure about Tim after the first time we met him, but grew to love him and looked forward to the time they spent together.  

Once I started this book, it was hard to put down until I finished. The suspense built throughout and the reveal surprised me. The fact that it's fiction based on fact was chilling to me. It's a good book to start a conversation with your teen about the dangers of the internet and the importance of not giving out personal information to anyone! This is a book that every mother and teenage daughter should read.

I'm so glad I was able to interview the author to get some more information on this book and also get to know Margo Kelly better!

Author Interview

1. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote a lot of poetry when I was young. (I don’t write poetry anymore.) And I always wanted to be a writer … or ruler of the universe … they’re kind of the same thing. But I honestly considered myself a writer way back in elementary school when I wrote a poem about rollerskating.

2. What inspired you to write Who R U Really?
The inspiration for my debut novel, Who R U Really?, came when my daughter was nearly abducted by an online predator.

3. What was the hardest scene for you to write?
The scene where the mother and daughter played Scrabble was the hardest scene for me to write, because that happened in real life. The events that immediately followed the game also happened. As I wrote the scene, I got very emotional. Writing it from my daughter’s perspective rather than my own made it even more challenging.

4. Who is your favorite character? Least favorite?
Favorite = Tim … Least favorite = Kit

5. Is there anything else you would like to say about this book?
Yes! Audible recently acquired the rights to produce an audiobook for Who R U Really?! I am very excited about this. It will be interesting to hear those online chats read out loud!

6. What are some of your favorite books and what book are you reading now?
I just finished reading Partials by Dan Wells, and I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite books that I read in 2014 (I love that I can check Goodreads to refresh my memory!) include Legend by Marie Lu, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I highly recommend them all, and you can read my reviews of them on Goodreads.

7. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to make quilts. I love to go camping. And I love to read.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Revise. Revise. Revise. Finishing the first draft of your manuscript is an awesome accomplishment, but do not stop there. Revise it. Find a fellow writer to critique it. Revise it. Find another person to critique it. And revise again.

9. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks! The support and encouragement I’ve received during the launch of my debut has been amazing.

Praise for the book:

“Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Suspenseful novel that’s guaranteed to give readers goosebumps–particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together.” –School Library Journal

“Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing…. Once I opened it, I couldn’t close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page…. This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style.” –Tempest Books

“Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens.” –VOYA Magazine

Author Margo Kelly

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Blog Tour Giveaway

1 print copy of Who R U Really?

Open to US only

Ends 1/12/15

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Margo Kelly said...

Thank you for featuring Who R U Really? on your site today!

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