For awhile after finishing Margo Kelly's Who R U Really?, I had the thought of doing a dual book review with Mari Mancusi's Gamer Girl, which I recently finished before I started Who R U Really? – sort of like a comparison review of two books. I then decided not to for the sake of confusion, but do be aware there may be references and some comparison – nothing that'll give away what I'll put in my review for Gamer Girl later on in the month.
Margo Kelly's Who R U Really? is a very realistic version compared to Gamer Girl – a dash of darkness, drama, and a whole lot of reality rolled into one. It reminded me of another book that came out around 2007-2009, a book that I may have the title correctly, the author is completely forgotten from my mind, and the font is almost the same: Want to go Private?. Both books take on a realistic version of bullying, not only in real life (in Gamer Girl's case), but a heavy emphasis on cyber bullying, online predators and online safety, whether in a chat room (in Want to go Private's case if I remember correctly), in a game (in Who R U Really's case), or anywhere else on the internet.
Who R U Really? revolves around a girl named Thea, a ninth grader who gets bullied (along with her friend, Janie) at her local high school by a few ninth graders who apparently act like the local sixth graders at my school (seriously. Worse batch this year). After being introduced to the game Skadi by her older brother's friend, she becomes addicted to the game and meets a guy named Kit, who claims to love her. Thea feels Kit can understand her more than anything else and vice versa. As they get to know each other and their relationship online becomes more deeper, Thea has to cover it all up from her parents and her real life friends, who are concerned for her safety and well-being.
It was obvious to me as soon as Thea met Kit that Kit would be the one up to no good – it is revealed early on that Kit is short for Kitsuneshin, and as Kit reveals to Thea, Kitsuneshin is the Japanese word for "young fox." But it's not just any young fox – I'm not terribly familiar with Japanese history, but I have heard about Kitsuneshin once from my Astronomy/Chemistry teacher. I just didn't want to pinpoint it. It ruins my fun. Guessing ruins my fun. My definition of fun is not as skewed as one of my friend's.
I love Margo Kelly's writing style, and the way she uses quotes (I'm a sucker for those) throughout the book as Thea learns who Kit really is. Who R U Really? is very realistic – there's enough drama, and it's not fluffy or light-hearted where it's very obvious the book will end on a happy note. It's a must read, even for those who are not big fans of realistic fiction.