Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cyberstalker by Jens Hildebrand

Title: Cyberstalker
Author: Jens Hildebrand
Published by: Warped Tomato
Publication date: 1st October 2013
Pages: 239
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

"I love you."

Lilly's heart misses a beat when those words appear on her screen. Okay, she'd love to have a boyfriend, and when Ian sends her a friendship request, she eagerly accepts. He just looks so gorgeous in the pictures. But when she's about to meet him in person, things take a dramatic turn. Who is Ian really? And how far will he go to get what he wants?

It all starts with an Internet ban. Lilly gets a bad grade in her Maths exam and as a result, her mother bans her from going on the Internet. Lilly rebels and is online in no time at all, checking her MyWorld account where she has several friend requests. One of them is from a guy she doesn't know but she assumes he's from the sixth form and she accepts. Little does she know that she's putting her whole family in immense danger. Is he who he says he is? They chat regularly and soon Lilly wants to meet him, which results in a wild car chase and more drama than Eastenders packs in at Christmas...

Damn this book is creepy. Not in a bad way, but it creeped me out enough to make me delete several hundred people on Facebook! I think this book is great at raising awareness of how serious and common Internet grooming is. 'Cyberstalker' is frank and honest whilst thrilling at the same time, so I think it's an excellent book for teenagers and possibly even mature pre-teens as Hildebrand dealt with the subject in a mature way.

I'll be honest, I didn't like the main character Lilly. She didn't have to accept Ian's friend request; it's common sense not to accept people you don't know. However, a lot of teenagers add people they don't know because it's like a popularity contest; who has the most friends? Lilly just frustrated me. Her only ambition was to get a boyfriend and even when someone was outside her bedroom window one night, she didn't bother to let her parents know. It's like she didn't have any common sense at all.

There were only two characters I properly liked, and they were Emma (Lilly's best friend) and Lucas (Lilly's younger brother). Emma always seemed to be there when Lilly was in trouble and she was generally a lot nicer than any of Lilly's other friends. Lucas was sweet and you could tell that he truly cared about his sister, even though he was always grassing her up to their parents.

Lilly's friendship group confused me. For a start, I wasn't sure how old they were - on one page they were referred to as Year 8s, but on the next page it said they were Year 9s. Secondly, I couldn't tell if Lilly and her friends were popular or if they were wannabees...their actions and the dialogue just didn't add up. They acted popular but Lilly didn't act like the rest of them and it never mentioned whether any of them actually liked each other. This is the only time you'll ever hear me see me type this, but I think their friendships should have been more stereotypical. Otherwise, it just wasn't obvious what kind of people they were.

In 'Cyberstalker', there are a few illustrations of Lilly's MyWorld account that show her status updates and comments etc. I'm not sure if my copy is an ARC - if it is then I'm sure these problems will be sorted out sooner or later - but sometimes in the illustrations, Lilly was referred to as Lena Joelle. There were also a couple of grammatical and spelling mistakes, but I believe this book has been translated from German so that is expected.

Some parts were just unbelievable. Towards the end of the book one of Lilly's friends tells her that if she put the letter 'o' in front of a URL on a mobile phone, she'll be able to access the website for free. I know it's fiction, but I think Hildebrand could have come up with something more complex and believable than just putting a single letter in front of a URL. If it was true, none of us would be paying for Internet on our phones. (Oh, how I wish it was true...)

To conclude, this is a really good book that focuses on some serious topics that definitely need more limelight in the YA world, but there were a few faults. I give this book a 3/5 and I do recommend it. Why not check out the first chapter and see what you think?


  1. Ever since I saw your book haul on Youtube, I really couldn't wait for your review to come out. This sounds very creepy and I think this will keep me up quite late. I really want to try and read this. Brilliant review as always, Amber!

  2. I don't think I'd read this, simply because things like bad editing really get on my nerves. But this type of book is definitely very good for raising awareness about cyberstalking, so it does sound good from that perspective. Fab review, Amber!

    1. Mine too, but if I'm right in thinking this is just an ARC then problems should have been sorted out for the final copy published in October. Thanks Maya! :)

  3. This book sound soooo creepy T_T I do want to read it and I might end up reading it in German D: Thanks for posting this Amber!

  4. I'm going to be on the blog tour for this but haven't actually read it yet, hopefully I'll like it more than you, hate negatively reviewing on tours :/ great review as usual and hopefully those errors are sorted out for the final copy!

    1. I hope you like it too, although I didn't think 3/5 was giving it a bad rating. I really enjoyed the book, there were just a few faults I found with it. Thank you Charli! :)

  5. I'm definitely going to track this book down and read it. Although I'm not a fan of creepy fiction but I love the reality behind this and how books like this reflect the true naivety of our generation when it comes to going online. In all honesty, it is common sense not to accept a friend request from a stranger but in fiction it is very interesting to see how people fall at that hurdle. x

    1. I completely agree and I really hope you enjoy the book when/if you read it. :) x

  6. "More drama than Eastenders packs in at Christmas" - AMBER THIS IS HILARIOUS! One of the best book reviews I think I have ever read! Hahahaha! This book sounds great!
    -Sophie :)

  7. That girl sounds like she has no common sense and that would annoy me. This book sounds so darn creepy but also like a great read to promote awareness about Cyber safety. Which I think is really important since Social Media has become such a big part of the 21st Century. That's so wierd about their friendship group. Great Review Amber!

  8. Yup, we both seem to have mixed feelings on it. Thanks Sunny :)