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From: Rob & Sara

Subject: Our Story

Rob: Don’t worry. I’m weird, but I’m not dangerous. And I won’t send you ...

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From: Rob & Sara

Subject: Our Story

Rob: Don’t worry. I’m weird, but I’m not dangerous. And I won’t send you ads.

Sara: The truth is, I couldn’t bear to go back to the way things were before you read my poem. Maybe it doesn’t matter who you are. . . .

They’ve never met.

They’re hundreds of miles apart.

He won’t tell her his real name.

And they have nothing in common.

Or do they?

From the Hardcover edition.

Rob, who lives at a school for troubled teenagers, and Sara, the sixteen-year-old daughter of an army colonel, meet in a poetry chat-room and develop a close relationship via email.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fittingly, the coauthors sent each other sequential e-mails, written in the authentic-sounding voices of the two title characters, to create this involving novel. Rob and Sara, whose story unfolds exclusively through their e-mail correspondence, first communicate when Rob comments positively on a poem Sara posts on an Internet poetry bulletin board for teens. They soon become cyberspace soulmates, supporting each other through the events of their drastically different lives. An army brat who has moved frequently, Sara is coping with her best friend's bout with cancer and her fear that her father's impending transfer will necessitate her moving away from Salt Lake City, where she finally feels at home. Rob, whose life has been chaotic (his mother, a recovering alcoholic, was the third of his plastic surgeon father's fourth wives), has been sent to a strict California boarding school that he likens to a "prison farm." As the likable and articulate duo becomes emotionally involved, they fantasize about meeting one another. Just when their communication begins to sound repetitious, the authors interject a cyberspace twist, as Rob's jealous schoolmate tries to sabotage the relationship. The narrative strains credibility somewhat when Rob sneaks out of school to travel to the semi-conscious Sara's hospital bedside after she's injured in a climbing accident. Yet this dose of melodrama won't bother readers who have effortlessly been drawn into these teens' lives and relationship. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Told in a series of emails over the course of a year, this is a classic boy meets girl, boy loves girl story, except that the boy and girl do not meet face to face. Sara and Rob find each other in a poetry chat room and their friendship and eventual romance blossoms from there. The reader only knows as much as Rob and Sara reveal to each other about themselves. A combination of Beauty and the Beast, with Sara taming the wild beast within Rob, and a fantasy on-line adventure—meeting the guy/girl of your dreams through a chat room—this is a new twist on an old tale. In spite of all our warnings to young people about meeting new friends on-line, they continue to reveal too much about themselves. Sara, sixteen and fairly naive, gives too much identifying information to Rob, who could easily find her at her school or her home. If he was a pedophile instead of the slightly messed-up teenage boy he is portraying on line, this story could end in disaster. Young girls will love the romantic aspects of this book, but do we really need to encourage them to meet the guy of their dreams on-line when we know a) that is not all there is to life; and b) the guy of their dreams is just as likely to be a pervert is who is trolling, waiting for an opportunity to lure a young girl away from her home? 2004, Delacourte Press/ Random House, Ages 14 up.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-A favorable chat-room critique of Sara's poem marks the beginning of Rob and Sara's relationship, which develops through e-mails over the course of a school year. Sara, a military brat, longs for a place to call home. Rob attends an exclusive boarding school for problem teens. Letter by letter, the teens build trust and reveal more of the intimate details of their lives. That both are lonely outsiders makes their evolving relationship believable. However, the road to love is never a straight path. The most interesting twist comes when Shannon, a student at Rob's school, e-mails Sara to say that Rob is actually Alex, a boy who is suffering from multiple personality disorder and is suicidal. Readers will fly through the pages until this mystery is resolved. Imprisoned in their respective situations, the teens begin to long for the day when they can meet. It feels like an impossible dream to them, but when Sara is in an accident, Rob masterminds an escape and goes to visit her in the hospital. Unfortunately, she is unconscious, and so the day when they will meet face to face is again delayed. Readers will either be disappointed or hope that a sequel is coming.-Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sara, a sheltered 16-year-old, becomes involved in an e-mail relationship with "Rob," a disturbed boy who says he's an inmate in a private school for wealthy juvenile offenders. She quickly falls in love with Rob when he praises the poetry she posts on a Web site, and refuses to break off the correspondence even when warned by one of Rob's schoolmates that he's a very sick young man. Rob's apparent recovery comes with some highly improbable events. The entire narrative consists of their e-mails, so many that they eventually become tedious, although they retain some suspense for a reader who suspects that Sara may fall victim to an Internet predator. However, it turns out to be a real love story, perhaps unfortunately for some young readers who thereby may be encouraged to engage in such relationships. The e-mail format may attract plugged-in young readers. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385731645
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/12/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

You can reach Ivy Ruckman at, and P. J. Petersen at

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt


A Bulletin Board for Teen Poets

The Sacrifice

My hair is gone!

My gorgeous, golden, strokeable hair--

it's gone! I'm shaved to the scalp

to make Angie feel better.

Five of us are look-alikes now,

indistinguishable from the rear but for

ears that protrude like naked

pink knobs.

I hope Angie gets through chemo.

I hope she feels better

now that we've all lost our hair.

I wish I did.

Submitted by Sara4348 <Thurs. Sept. 19 4:42PM>

POETS 'N' WANNABES Instant Critique

[8 in room]
Cattlecall MelodyV Wesley Sintax Sara4348
Iambicpentup Carol16

Wesley: yeah, sintax--but that first line sets up the poem--it's the second one (**GAG**) best to chop it!

Sintax: golden and gorjus???? Ok dude totally clishay

Carol16: But doesn't that let you know what a disaster??? If she'd said "my rats nest head of stringy hair is gone" we'd think "good riddance, about time!!!"

Cattlecall: hey, you guys, did four people get shaved or five--do you count Angie?--your confusin' me, Sara

Wesley: CC, you bean-counter, what does it matter? Better try scanning that long line in the middle--sheesh! Talk about jarring rhythm!

Robcruise99: It's a good poem. I like it.

MelodyV: HUH? . . . YOU DO? I might like it but for the word choice--naked pink knobs--why a loaded word like naked??? And protrude? Ugly. So NOT a great image!

Robcruise99: I like it the way it is. Especially the ending.

Sintax: you go for naked, huh, and all that strokeable hair??? (lol) having a little fantisy there, Rob?

Robcruise99: This is sick. I'm out of here.

Sent: Friday, September 20 4:28PM From: Poets'n' To: Subj: "The Sacrifice"

The bulletin board doesn't print addresses, but I think they'll forward this to you. No big message. I just wanted to tell you that I like your poem. It's real, and it's honest. Forget those piranhas. They don't want poems. They just want victims.

If you feel like sending a poem or a comment to somebody who couldn't care less about "jarring rhythm," my address is Don't worry. I'm weird, but I'm not dangerous. And I won't send you spam.

Sent: Saturday, September 21 2:20PM From: To: Subj: Trashing Sara

Hi, Rob, if that's your name. Your email kept me from leaping off the chapel roof. Which I was considering. Not because my poem was treated like roadkill, but because nobody so much as mentioned cancer. What about content? Doesn't anybody care where a poem came from? Or what inspired it?

Anyway, thanks for liking "The Sacrifice"--and for saying so.

Sent: Sunday, September 22 4:08PM From: To: Subj: Question

One question, Sara-Four-Thousand-Three-Hundred-and-Forty-Eight. Did you really get your head shaved? I mean, you don't have to be dying to write a poem about a dying person. It's none of my business, but I'm curious. Are you really a skinhead?

Sent: Sunday, September 22 7:29PM From: To: Subj: An answer for "Curious"

Yes, for now I'm a skinhead. If I had a scanner, I'd send proof. And you may continue to call me that--if you don't value your front teeth.

You want the rest of the story? Three of us went straight to a picture booth at the mall after the barber's--all except Jessie, who was by then catatonic over what she'd done. We were scared to go home, so we cried our eyes out over a plate of hot potato skins first. (I was crying for Angie as much as myself. Her cancer is stage III and she's my best friend.)


Sent: Monday, September 23 4:05PM From: To: Subj: Your poem


Quick, check the bulletin board! Six more responses--all good. Okay, the one from ShebaQ is a little strange. But she loved the poem--said so three times--even if she's "crying all over her keyboard."

None of your new fans (except ShebaQ) say much about the cancer. No surprise. It's hard to talk about without sounding dumb. I just wrote, "Angie's lucky to have friends like you." Then I deleted it. Angie, lucky? With cancer? See what I mean?

But congratulations! You and your friends are now my all-time favorite skinheads. You knocked my neighbor Roger out of the number-one spot. (Roger has a Confederate flag and an alligator tattooed on his bare scalp. Pretty smart for a skinhead. If he lets his hair grow, the tattoos disappear.)

I just checked the board again. Piranha time. When they start by calling your poem "charming," you know they're getting ready to rip out your liver. But the score is still 6-1. And it's still a good poem, no matter what some "wannabe" says.

--Weird Rob

Monday, September 23 8:10PM From: To: Subj: Thanks, but no thanks to any more BB


I checked the critiques again and admit I felt slightly better--for about two minutes. Then I got to MelodyV's and Wesley's latest comments. They're still feasting on me. (They'd make a good pair, wouldn't they? Picture them reading Longfellow and Kipling by the fire--nothing jarring and, please, nothing naked.) You may be weird, Rob, but at least you're living in the real world, where kids mourn and go off and shave their heads.

Actually, you don't sound all that weird. And curious is good, unless you're a cat who loves tight places.

Guess what? I'm curious, too. And suddenly I'm thinking you must be a teacher-host . . . or you'd be trashing my poem like some of the others. (Teachers have to be supportive, you know? It's in their contracts.)

So write back and come clean. Are you one?

--Suspicious Sara

Sent: Tuesday, September 24 4:03PM From: To: Subj: Thanks for the laugh

Me--a teacher? That cracked me up.

You're sneaky, Sara. You start out by being nice, saying I don't sound so weird. Then you turn around and ask if I'm a teacher. You know how to hurt a guy.

Sent: Wednesday, September 25 4:04PM From: To: Subj: Another question

I just read your first e-mail again. You said I saved you from leaping off the chapel roof. Not a cliff or a bridge or a water tower. A chapel roof. Made me wonder. Do you go to one of those church schools? I can see it all now--you with your bald head in your blue-and-white uniform.

--Curious (Nosy) Rob

Sent: Wednesday, September 25 5:22PM From: To: Subj: Me-me-me talk

Hi, Rob!

Church school? No way. I live on a mellow old army post where my dad's the colonel. If you want to know where I'm from, I'm happy to give you the skinny: I'm from the military. I've lived all over the world.

But this year I'm lucky. I go to a regular school, even though I live on the post. The chapel roof happens to be the highest point above the parade ground. I've been up there, way up in the belfry. It's the perfect hideout. (But don't tell. Sometimes I don't want to be found.)

Good news! My scalp is starting to feel fuzzy. Whoopeeeeeee! I won't have to wear my Winter Olympics beret forever. Even better news--Angie gets her wig tomorrow. Jessie, our other friend, has done a full 180 and says she doesn't plan to cover up at all. She'd rather catch cold.

I keep trying to imagine who you are and what you look like. (Hope you're not bald.)


Sent: Thursday, September 26 4:02PM From: To: Subj: Re: Me-me-me talk

You're getting to be my favorite poet. I really liked that line "Sometimes I don't want to be found." That's a whole poem in one sentence. I mean it. Take a look:

Sometimes I
don't want to be found.

See? It works. But don't feed it to the piranhas.

Sent: Friday, September 27 10:08PM From: To: Subj: A Friday slice of my life

I like what you did, turning my sentence into a poem. Nice! (Sure you're not a teacher?)

At dinner tonight I tried telling my folks I was writing to someone tres interesting online. I got hit with so many questions, I stuck my fingers in my ears. (Not a well-thought-out move.) Dad, who wrote the manual on insubordination, got so mad he started to yell. I yelled back, "But you never listen!" Then he called me a smartmouth. In the end, Mom shushed us both and I stomped up to my room. I totally lost out on dessert: "Chocolate chunks crashing into creamy coffee ice cream." So much for sharing, huh?

Guess what happens a week from next Friday? I, Sara Whatzerface, am turning sixteen. I got my Utah permit six months ago, so now I'm up for the actual driving part. Dad says I'm scaring all the dogs on the post. (Verrrry funny!) But it's Mom who's missing bridge to drive with me. She'll be the one celebrating.

(Uh-oh, things are suddenly very quiet around here. Mom and Dad must be asleep. Stand by . . . I'm gonna sneak downstairs and have a dish of that ice cream!)


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2009

    Review of rob&

    The book rob& by PJ Peterson and Ivy Ruckman starts out as just two teenagers just talking to each other as acquaintances, but turns into more. They are in two different states and are both afraid of revealing too much because of online dangers. Once they over came their fears, and learned to trust one another, they began to get to know each other. Before they knew it, they had fallen in love. I enjoyed reading the book in email form. Those made the characters seem real, just as they are. Both Rob and Sara had family issues also, and were trying to overcome them. I think that made the story more relatable. I really liked this book and would recommend it to others. I think mainly girls would like this book, especially if they enjoy a good love story. It does get a little slow at parts, but stick it put because the ending makes it worth it.<BR/> <BR/> -TJM

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    Creativity At It's finest!

    The whole idea of Rob& is creative and so unconventional. To take a series of fictional e-mails and make them into a book that is about so many different things, and all at once has one purpose. That is that these two people are destined for each other.<BR/>Great book. I reccomend reading it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2006

    Awesome Book!

    I'm not much of a reader but our school libriarian said I should try this book cuz she thought it was really good. Well she was right! I started reading it that night and couldn't stop finally about 4:30 AM i finished it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    I LOVED it!!!

    This book was simply amazing!!! I fell in love with it just a few pages in. I'm not a fan of romance, but this book was just spectacular!!! I would highly recommened it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2006

    this book was awesome

    I previewed this book before it came out and it is a really good book. I really like that Rob's and Sara's relationship isn't typical, because they are writing through emails makes it all the more interesting. I like how throughout the book the author is throwing connections between the two characters. You should definitly read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2005

    I dunno what else to say but WOW

    I saw this book and thought, 'Hmm. lets try somethign different' Normally I dont read much romance, but, i needed a change so this was it. ANd OMG wow. It was awesome. I guess it kinda reminded me of my current relationship with my boyfriend whom I met like Rob and Sara. Online. Never met, then, 3 years later on one of his class trips, hooked up. Love story, and toching. Very good read. I recommend it to anyone who ever thought there was no one out there for them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2005

    An Outstanding Teen book

    This book showed that you can find love in the most unexpected places. Rob & Sara are like the modern-day Romeo & Juliet. More teens should read this faboulos book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2005


    this book was one of the best i have ever read. I got a bit disscoured at times you know but by the 2nd or 3rd chapter(or month) i was hooked. i read it in aobut 2 days. this book teaches you alot too. its about friendship and courage. even though they never met and all things that they told and hear about each other they were a bit wierd but the remained friends too the end. oh and i don't want people to think that you know its safe to meeet people on line. thats not what it taught me. heres what i got from it. one of them was like a new kid at a school. maybe this kid is a bit diffrent or people say things about him that are diffrent. you need to find out for yourself and everyone needs a friend in life. thats what the book taught me. so i would reccomend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2004

    It Was The BEST Book

    i thoubht this book was really good and well written. at first i was aganist, i didn't think two ppl could have feeling for each other by only communicating through emails. this book really proved me wrong and once i started to read i couldn't stop.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2004

    Loved it

    i really liked this book because it was different and well thought out. the way the authors chose to create this novel was pretty amazing i think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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