Dear Jo: The Story Of Losing Leah…and Searching For Hope
It is hard to make friends when you move to a new town, but devastating when one of your best friends is kidnapped. Dear Jo (short for Journal) is a book of journal entries written by 12-year-old Maxine detailing her emotional turmoil after the loss of her best friend, Leah.
Maxine and Leah have discovered internet chat rooms, and begin to spend a lot of times in them under assumed names. At first simply fun, their exploits take a turn when both girls are swept off their feet by internet boyfriends. Then Leah disappears, and Maxine is overwhelmed with grief and worry. After six excruciating months of waiting, Leah’s body is found in the woods. Maxine is even more distraught; to her mother’s despair, the funeral does not seem to provide Maxine with closure. That’s something she can achieve only by assisting in the police investigation (worrying her mother even more).
Police detective Lucas becomes Maxine’s good friend and comforter. She gets to join in the investigation by going online to lure the internet predator back. In the end, Maxine’s participation is crucial to the investigation and empowers her. Kilbourne tenderly explores a difficult subject in a novel that culminates in healing. mRb