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Pretty Little Things    by Jilliane Hoffman order for
Pretty Little Things
by Jilliane Hoffman
Order:  USA  Can
Vanguard, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After reading Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman, I decided that if I still had young daughters, I would first wrench their computers from their grasp and then chain their ankles to my ankle. They would never get out of my sight.

Pretty Little Things is a very powerful and disturbing novel about computers, Facebook and its ilk, and Internet predators. Thirteen year-old Lainey Emerson meets a boy in a chat room and tells him she is sixteen. She gussies up with her older sister's cosmetics and clothes, and sends him a picture looking years older than she really is.

He answers back with a picture of a blond hunk. Need I say more? Well, she meets him in real time and things go horribly wrong. The man not boy is not only a rapist but a kidnapper who enjoys inflicting pain.

Other pretty little things are missing and Special Agent Bobby Dees of Crimes Against Children in Miami is also missing his sixteen year-old daughter. Bodies in horrendous condition are turning up and Dees is in a panic that one could be his daughter.

Pretty Little Things is a heart-wrenching read. Action never stops, although at times I wished it would to give me time to catch my breath. It's hard to read but gives a definite warning to all parents.

This well-written book offers ghastly statistics about missing children runaways, family kidnappings, predators, drugs, teenage prostitution, abuse in the home as well as rape by a family member. Reading this, I wonder how many kids do turn out to be productive citizens. The first page captures the attention. Put everything else on hold until the last page. It's hard to put down. Very hard. Read it in sunshine, though.

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