7/08 - Exciting book with a twist that I didn't see coming. This is 3.5 more than 4, but I'm feeling generous today. I kind of felt like Coben was trying to get a few messages across with this book, namely the importance of internet security and underage drinking permitted by parents. I don't like being preached at and that's what I felt like while I was reading some of the passages, especially the ones focussing on the perils of underage drinking with the involvement of the parents. Personally I don't drink alcohol at all (I've found it all tastes terrible) and most of my friends abstain as well, so I've never been in the kind of situation that Hayley found herself in (and as a teenager I went out of my way to stay away from teenage parties where I might find myself in a situation like that). I'm also not a parent, but if I was and it looked like my teenager was going to go in the opposite direction to me, I would like to think that I'd be able to sit down with them and come up with some rules (like a limit on the amount of alcohol, strict rules on who is invited and a time limit). I would much rather they had a couple of drinks in my living room, than attempt to get fake I.D.s and get into clubs with hundreds of much older strangers/predators (especially in the case of a teenage girl).
Regarding the majority of the plot (this is where the book earned its stars) I had no idea what was going to happen, so as each twist was revealed I was surprised. I read it in just over 24 hours, so I didn't have enough time to really contemplate who the perpertrator might be (in Dan Mercer's or Phil Turner's case), I was just along for the ride.