[2015] Katie Gao (8K2015): Dear Jo

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[2015] Katie Gao (8K2015): Dear Jo

Dear Jo

By: Christina Kilbourne

Maxine, a 12 year old girl, was introduced onto a website by Leah (her best friend) where she could chat with strangers that are boys. The 2 girls thought it was fun and they could just lie about their identities. Maxine had no internet at her house because her mom thinks the internet is not safe and could lead to many other problems. Maxine got addicted to the site and she goes to Leah's house instead, to go on the website without her mom knowing that she's using the internet. Leah met a boy called Muscle Boy and Maxine met 2FunE. The 2 girls talked and emailed their "boyfriends" almost every day. Maxine and Leah got into an argument on their relationships with their "boyfriends" and whose were better. The argument went on until Leah went missing. The police searched for Leah, but only found Leah's dead body covered in snow. Maxine tried going to the therapist to calm herself down over Leah's death. However, that didn't help and her aunt, Lory, gave her a journal to write down her emotions. As police searched through Leah's house for any clues on how she died, Maxine found something that caught her attention. Maxine looked through Leah's email and found out that she went to go meet with Muscle Boy. The email ended with the same sentence that 2FunE ends with. Immediately Maxine found out that Muscle Boy is 2FunE. Maxine got scared and stopped contacting 2FunE. Maxine finally knew that they weren't the only ones lying about their identities. The sad tragedy of Leah’s death left Maxine desperate to find the predator. Maxine decides to work with Detective Lucas to help find Leah’s murderer. Detective Lucas thought of a good plan to catch the predator and calls it operation Max. Maxine wrote an email to 2FunE to meet up at the mall. Maxine followed the plan and together they caught the internet predator, Gabriel Basile. After Gabriel Basile was put in prison, they found his apartment and saw blood and Leah's hair everywhere around the house. The police assumed that Leah was abducted by Gabriel from where they met up and he pushed Leah into Gabriel’s car to bring her to his apartment. After he killed her, he drove her dead body and threw her out of the car. Leah wasn’t the only victim, Gabriel talked to many other girls on the internet and kept track of them. Now that everything is solved, Maxine learned to never talk to strangers on the internet again.


The mall that Maxine met up with 2FunE.

Character Analysis

The book Dear Jo showed that Maxine is determined, brave and loyal. She was determined because after Leah was murdered by the internet predator (Muscle Boy), she was desperate to help Leah. Maxine felt guilty toward Leah for having an argument before she died. Maxine was determined to help and catch Leah's murderer. In the book, she started to cooperate Detective Lucas to capture Leah's murderer. Detective Lucas started the plan called operation Max where Maxine needs to ask 2FunE to go out and meet at the mall. Detective Lucas sent police as disguises and set up a trap to catch Leah's murderer. However, Maxine didn't quit and was determined to help Leah. Maxine is also brave. She was able to follow the plan to catch the internet predator. Although she felt nervous when she was in front of Leah's murderer, she knew what has to be done to help Leah. Maxine is loyal to her friends. After Leah's death, Maxine felt guilty and sad. Lexi, Emma, Amanda and Chelsea were Leah's best friends yet they didn’t care for Leah's death.Leah is innocent. In the book, it clearly shows many examples of how she is innocent. Near the end of the book, when the police caught the internet predator, Gabriel Basile, they figured his only way to catch young girls. He would meet up with the girl and claim that he's Muscle Boy's father. Then he would say that Brad had an accident at his hockey practice this morning. He would say that he has his cell phone if she wanted to call him. He would say that he "accidentally" left it in the car and ask the young girl if she wants to come with him to get the cellphone. However, Leah thinks that he was saying the truth and followed him. Poor Leah who got kidnapped and tortured by him. Leah was innocent because she thought that Muscle Boy was nice but fell in his trap. She's also a perfectionist. During the book, she practiced her cartwheels until she was better than the boys. She wants to be perfect and beat everyone. Leah is unyielding because she doesn't change her opinion once it’s set. In the book when Maxine and Leah were fighting over their “boyfriend", Leah argued over how Muscle boy is way much better than 2FunE. Leah didn't think of 2FunE, and simply thought that Muscle Boy is the best. She didn't change her opinion on that.

The main idea of the book is to warn everyone that the internet isn't always safe. We have to be careful when we're using it and tell a guardian if anything seems weird on the internet. Christina Kilbourne portrayed the message of the book by telling a story of a young girl, Leah, who trusted a stranger on the internet so much that she was murdered by the stranger. This novel shows that trusting the internet way too much can lead to consequences.

Main Idea

The internet is not something to trust or rely on because it can also be dangerous. Therefore, you must be careful on the internet. I learned many different things about internet safety from this book. We carelessly post our personal information and pictures onto the internet without thinking about the consequences. In the book, Leah started to talk to a boy called Muscle Boy on the internet and trusted all his words he said. She decided to meet up face-to-face with Muscle Boy without anyone knowing. In the end, she was murdered by Muscle Boy. This tells me that you never know what is on the other side of the screen. It could be some sweet words and comments on the screen that's said to you, but do you know what's behind the screen? What's even worse is that Leah had no clue what Muscle boy looked like and he was a total stranger. I learned to not take strangers so lightly like how Leah did. Some people are nice and some aren't in this world. If I don’t recognize or know someone from the internet, then I'll ignore them and tell my parents if anything is weird. That way I can be safe and not be tricked to give out my personal information. The consequences by talking online with strangers can be dangerous. In the book, the consequence was that Leah was murdered. This is what I learned on internet safety.

What I learned on internet safety

The book Dear Jo by Christina Kilbourne was very well written. The journal format gave readers a better understanding to Maxine's various perspectives throughout the book. The journal format was written very realistic and the author really made it sound like a preteen girl who was struggling with the tragedy of losing her best friend. Every word in the book was well chosen, as well as the connections with modern internet websites. The inferences that Christina Kilbourne made made the story seem more realistic. I love the way how Christina uses a social issue that we are not so concerned about to a wonderful, emotional and fun story. The book combined adventure, mystery and other sets different feelings to the reader to make the book interesting. As Mme Kuli was reading the book to the class, I found it really hard to focus on my work because the book creates a suspense and mysterious surrounding. The author projected the main idea of the story really well.

This image portrays that you never know what's behind the screen. The lady thinks that the man and the flowers makes him a good person. On the other side, the man giving the flowers seems like he's evil and has a plan. This image is just like the situation of Leah in the book. Leah is the girl and Muscle Boy is the man handing her the flowers.

My opinion on the book Dear Jo

Maxine who is depressed on Leah's death. Maxine is determined to find Leah's murderer.

The lady

The man trying to trick the woman


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