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Stranger in the Chat Room    by Todd Hafer & Jedd Hafer order for
Stranger in the Chat Room
by Todd Hafer
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Teenagers Blake, Jenn, Krys, and A. C. first met in a chat room in In the Chat Room with God. Blake was already a Christian, and after God came to chat with them, Jenn and Krys became believers as well. Now they are all back for a second round in Stranger in the Chat Room. Blake's younger sister Lorri joins the group and this time, evil is also present.

It's summertime, and Blake and Krys have left on vacation, leaving new believer Jenn to chat with cynical Lorri. They forge a tentative friendship, which is challenged by a sly interloper with the screen name of Watcher55. Watcher talks down to the girls, telling Jenn her faith is nothing but hot air. He makes a deal with Lorri, to go to a wild party for an hour - if she's successful he will leave them alone. Results are disastrous pulling Lorri closer to the evil that Watcher is promoting. Blake and Krys return to stand up for their faith and for all that they hold dear. Will the good in the friends prevail over evil?

This is a unique story written in an unusual format, with pages that look like chat room transcripts. Many good issues come up: defending faith, standing up for friends, overcoming evil. The book also shows just how easily someone can infiltrate communications on the Internet. It is not necessary to read the first in the series, since a synopsis is included at the beginning, and transcripts from the final three chat room sessions appear at the end. My one criticism is that people do not chat this clearly and concisely, using complete sentences with quote marks - but perhaps the book wouldn't be very reader friendly without them.

In this world of computer literacy, Stranger in the Chat Room provides a frightening look at the dangers inherent for young men and women in electronic meeting rooms.

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