Thursday, May 25, 2023

Always There For You by Miriam Halahmy

2019 


Holly is forced to spend a long time on her own, her parents are occupied with looking after her grandmother, her best friend Amy has gone to live in Canada.  She doesn’t fit in all that well at school; she isn’t part of the in-crowd but neither does she feel comfortable with needy Noah and animal-lovers Tim and Ellen.

Then she meets Jay in an online chat group. Their mantra becomes “Always there for you”. She arranges to see Jay and finds he is older than she thought.  He said he was fifteen but now confesses to being nineteen.  We eventually find out he is twenty-six.  He is a paedophile and has been grooming several young girls.   It all comes to a head when he makes Holly take a photo of herself in a bikini, photoshops  that picture and threatens to put it up on the internet if she doesn’t sleep with him.

He is taken to court, found guilty and imprisoned. However, it takes a while for the trial to take place and Holly has to live with the fact that she could bump into him at any time. During the trial, where she appears by video link, the defence barrister makes her feel that it was all her fault.

This it clearly an important topic.

The author gives us a note about internet safety at the end of the book.

There are 282 pages of blocked text with an adult font.  

This is a thought-provoking book for the young reader. It offers a stark warning. It clearly demonstrates how easily Holly is taken in.   

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