Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: Exposure by Therese Fowler

In Exposure, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families.
Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.  (From Goodreads)


I don't normally write up full reviews of non-YA fiction, but when I was contacted about Exposure I couldn't say no. Not only is it about a relevant topic in todays tech/media society, it's also something that the Fowler drew on experience from.

This book was intense. Fowler wrote this book in a way that had me emotionally invested in the characters. Once I got a few chapters in, I really couldn't set it down. This wasn't the case of a bad boyfriend sending a naked photo of his girlfriend to all of his friends, it involved a couple who were deeply in love, and a father snooping on his daughter's computer. It was nice to see a couple that were really in love, and that it clearly wasn't "puppy love" for them. It always bothers me when adults look down on teens in love, so I was glad that the relationship between these two characters was wasn't a superficial one.

The situation spiraled out of control quickly, and was made worse by Amelia's aggressively overprotective father, Harlan. The portions of the book that were narrated from his point-of-view were a struggle to get through...he was completely unreasonable. I don't have kids, so I can't claim to understand what it's like to try to protect your child. Still, to me he was the start of the problem, and continued to exacerbate it. The emotions in the book, woo boy. Can I say that it was intense again? I really wasn't sure how things were going to resolve, and I ended up finishing the second half of the book in a couple of hours. I had to know what was going to happen to the characters, particularly if Amelia and Anthony would be able to move past everything that had happened to them.

I would have liked to see more of Amelia's mother, and why she remained almost passive during most of the scandal. Some background on her would have been nice, although we do get quite a bit about Harlan and Kim. I'm also a bit biased about the Vermont scenes, being a Vermonter myself. There were a few portions where I thought the accent was a bit extreme...The fact that those are my only two issues should say a lot about the book. I thought the characters were real, and I felt like Fowler was able to use her experience to infuse the book with something that other author's would miss.

Exposure
By Therese Fowler
Published by Ballantine Books
366 Pages
Purchased

4 comments:

Frosy said...

Great Review! It sounds good I'll be reading this.

Jenny N. said...

Sounds like a memorable read with YA crossover appeal since its about a topic I don't see a lot of.

Alison said...

I definitely agree that this was intense. At times, it seems a bit too intense to be realistic but it was definitely interesting. I agree that I'd like to see more of Amelia's mom.

Julie said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I like your honest review especially when it comes to the the character of the father. I'll check this out when if it's at my library.

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