Dear Jo: The Story of Losing Leah and Searching For Hope
Juvenile/Tween Fiction (Ages 9-12/12-15)
This realistic, gripping novel of tween fiction, explores the dangers of online predators through fictional diary entries.
Maxine and Leah used to have so much fun chatting with boys online. Their other friends were jealous of their new relationships, and their parents were oblivious to all the love notes being emailed back and forth. So what if Max and Leah lied about their ages and where they lived ... it was just a website ... just for fun. But when Leah disappeared, Max realized that they weren't the only ones telling lies online. Now Max must help the police find her friend and catch an internet predator ... a predator who had come dangerously close to Max. Through her daily journal entries, Max shares the horrible feeling of betrayal, the crushing loss of Leah, and the struggle to move on.
Praise for Dear Jo
"Written in diary/journal entries, DEAR JO is compelling and intriguing and focuses on an issue that most of us do not think of as serious. Christina Kilbourne writes a novel that will leave anyone who discovers it speechless."
Teens Read Too
"While the subject matter may be the stuff of parents’ worst nightmares, it is an important book that every teen, young adult and parent should read.“
Windsor Life Magazine
The book is very well written, and Maxine’s character sound almost exactly like a young preteen girl who is trying to accept this tragedy. Every word is well-chosen, as well as all of the references to modern Internet sites and music artists. All of these inferences really bring this story home and makes it all the more realistic.
One80 Youth Media
Christina Kilbourne's Dear Jo is an all too real account of the dangers that lurk inside Internet chat rooms.
The Globe and Mail
Dear Jo combines mystery, adventure and high emotion while educating young readers at the same time. Kilbourne has provided a public service as well as a great young adult novel. Although aimed at this specific audience, the book has much to offer older teens and also their parents. Given the climate in our modern society, Dear Jo should be in every classroom and every library in the country!
Manitoba Library Association
This little book goes a long way towards showing how real is the danger that internet predators pose and how easily one can become ensnared in their horrific machinations.
Kilbourne tenderly explores a difficult subject in a novel that culminates in healing.
Montreal Review of Books
This book is a must read for all children who use the internet, and their parents. The recommended age is 9+. This is one of the most important books I have read this year and has been included on my "books which belong on any bookcase" list. If your tween or teen only reads one book this year, Dear Jo should be the one.
The Literary Word
Author Christina Kilbourne brings us a riveting story of how dangerous the Internet can be. It's a book both parents and children should read -- together.
This timely novel is skillfully crafted. Author Christina Kilbourne recreates the voices, interests and daily lives of the two girls with perfect accuracty. The plot is full of suspense and intrigue.The overall handling of the very real threat ...is both sensitive and helpful without being alarmist - no easy feat.
Once I started it, I could hardly set this book down. In fact I enjoyed it so much, I propose that it should be required reading for late middle and high school students. In journal format, this story deals with the ugly reality of Internet predators.
... never preachy, always exciting ... This is great stuff!”
H. Mel Malton, author of the “Polly Deacon” series
“Kilbourne has taken a real social problem and woven a fascinating story around her theme. While this novel is prescribed for tweens, as social worker and parent, I strongly recommend it for teens and parents as well. It reads quickly and keeps you spellbound to the very end.”
Diane O’Hara, Registered Social Worker
“... current, important, and insightful ... A gripping story, suitable even for the youngest tweens ... will keep young readers turning pages and make them more savvy about the internet.”
Martin Avery, author and educator
“This may seem like heavy material, however, the author handles the topic sensitively while providing a gripping story which is hard to put down ... Read this book and then give it to your child! Librarians, buy this book for your library. You could save a life.”
S. McKenzie, Grade 3 Teacher (Ontario)
“Through the eyes of Maxine, we learn what it's like to be naive, trusting and brave when you grow up in the world of technology.”
Alison Turnbull, Vice Principal, Huntsville High School (Ontario)