Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Exposure by Therese Fowler

Exposure by Therese Fowler
May 3, 2011; Ballantine Books

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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. (courtesy of Goodreads)


I started Exposure telling myself I would read 50 pages and then pick up another book I wanted to read. 50 pages quickly turned into 100. I did put the book down at that point only to pick it up a few hours later intending to read another 100 pages. That 100 turned into 300 pages as I tore through the rest of the book. I actually had to force myself to lower the book from my eyes as I was walking across a busy street.

Exposure is a harrowing tale. It shows the horrible consequences that can occur when normal teenagers in love act like normal teenagers in love, but whose actions run afoul of overzealous parents and prosecutors.

Amelia and Tony are thoughtful teens and are head over heels for each other. They both dream of being on Broadway and are romantic enough to sigh over the tragic love of Romeo and Juliet. Quite appropriate since their story resembles Romeo and Juliet, especially at the beginning when Amelia has to hide her relationship with Tony from her overprotective parents.

Amelia's fear of her father discovering her relationship is well-founded. When he finds some nude pictures that Tony emailed Amelia, her dad has the boy arrested for violating his innocent little girl. When it turns out that Amelia texted Tony nude pictures of herself, she is also arrested. The local prosecutor, eyeing a run for governor, sets out to make examples of the teenage "sexting" scandal.

The book is told from the perspectives of Amelia Tony, Tony's mom, and Amelia's dad. I like stories with alternating points of view. It's helpful to understand different characters' thoughts. Especially Amelia's dad. It would be so easy to paint him as a one-dimensional enemy who ruined two kids' lives. While that may be the result of his overreaction and stubborn refusal to believe Amelia is anything other than his little girl, we do see that he honestly believes he is protecting his daughter. He thought he was doing the right thing, but it exploded in his face.

I sympathized with and liked Amelia and Tony. I did, however, think they were hopelessly naive. Their naivete quite annoyed me at times. First off, I think texting or emailing naked pictures of yourself is really dumb and not art as these kids thought. Secondly, even as a teen, I always figured teenage relationship were just a temporary thing. I didn't expect to find my eternal soulmate and didn't think anything was a life or death matter. So while I sympathized with these characters, it was hard to empathize with them.

Exposure is definitely a page-turner. Something is always happening - mostly getting worse. When potential solutions do come, the show up fast and you won't be able to stop reading. The overaching plot is a bit predictable, but there are plenty of twists to keep you interested. The characters are also a bit stereotypical, especially Amelia's wealthy, good-old-Southern-boy dad, but I was looking for a good story, not richly developed characters. If you want a quick, quasi-thriller reader, I highly recommend Exposure.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. What a wonderful review! Thank you for sharing this with us. I may have to put this on my TBR on Goodreads!


  2. I haven't heard of this one! It's always fun for me when a book surprises me with how good it is. You start out not dreading it but not really excited about it either and then you get sucked in:) Beautiful review Alison!

  3. Hmm, this sounds interesting. I do hate it when things never get better though, but at least it keeps you entertained. Thanks for the review!

  4. I enjoyed this one as well. I think the characters are definitely stereotypical in this one. I felt as if the author did this on purpose to prove a point. I wish there would have been a little more grey area in the characterization, but I understand why there wasn't.

    Their naivete was a bit annoying to me as well. I think you make a great point, that teens (most) don't assume they are going to find his/her soul mate in high school. I hadn't thought about that.

  5. This is a book I hadn't heard much about but wow! I love stories that don't let you put them down. This one seems like it is full of drama, and I have to agree that sending nude pictures of yourself to someone is probably the stupidest thing a teen could do, but that does seem to explain the naivety.

  6. Hands down the best review I've read for this (and also the one that is making me put it on my TBR list). I've not read this book (yet), but it sounds like you really nailed it in your review. Thanks so much for the thoughtful and thorough review on a VERY current subject!


  7. I just recently read another review of this book. I think it sounds really good, but I'm not sure if I would actually be able to read it. For some reason I've gotten really sensitive about what I read, and some things in books really, really upset me. The book can be fantastic, but I'll never be able to pick it up again. I don't know if I'm just hormonal or what XD

  8. I just read and reviewed this one, so it was nice to read your thoughts on it. I also got a bit annoyed at how naive the two teens were, and how neatly things got wrapped up. But, I thought it was a good read.

  9. I don't think I'll pick up this book (I don't think I have the patience for this kind of issue fiction right now), but I really do appreciate your review of it.

  10. Thank you for this review! This is the first book I've ever won and I still have yet to get to it.

  11. Oh, excellent! I'm always looking for a good page-turner.

    I often get frustrated by the things teenagers believe in books as well... sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that they are naturally naive because of their young age and I shouldn't judge and let it bother me. Not that I'm much older than a teen myself, I guess.

    Great review, Alison! :)

  12. Wow! This books sounds crazy!

    It would be horrible to get arrested for something like this when you're so young. :(

    I think that maybe I was the opposite of you when I was a teen. LOL. I totally believed it was possible to find "the one" at such a young age. Actually, I found my now husband at 16! :P I don't think that everyone should feel this way or anything. LOL

    Great review! :)

  13. I haven't heard of this book either, but I'm really intrigued that it's told from the perspective of the parents instead of the teen protagonists. The issue of sexting is very current and not much talked about. I'll definitely keep a look out for it. Thanks for a great and well written review!

  14. Coooool! I get really caught up in the sexting news drama. Kids are stupid, but they shouldn't have to pay for this level of stupidity with sex offender registration and jail time! This sounds like a great read.

  15. This one sounds so intense, and I've yet to read a real issue book like this in a good while. I'm dying to read it now. Fabulous, insightful review. I'm definitely going to buy this :)

  16. I've heard great things about this book. I haven't had a chance to get it yet. But the premise sounds really intriguing, and it keeps getting rave review, so I'll have to add it to the list. Great in depth review.

  17. Thanks for this review, it sounds really good! Definitely one to keep an eye out for.


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