Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Source of my copy: Goldberg McDuffie/publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads--click on cover)
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.
A captivating page-turner, Therese Fowler’s Exposure is also a deftly crafted, provocative, and timely novel that serves as a haunting reminder of the consequences of love in the modern age.
Exposure was the story of Amelia Wilkes and Anthony Winter who were high school seniors, have dreams of staring in Broadway and deeply in love. Their relationship was an open secret in school--their friends know as well as Kim Winter, Anthony's mother, who was a teacher at the school--but Amelia's strict parents do not know. Amelia and Anthony planned to tell her parents of their relationship when Amelia turns eighteen and legally an adult. However, when her father discovers naked pictures of Anthony in her computer, all hell broke loose.
Exposure was a fast-paced, intense read and I loved every minute of it. It wasn't an easy read by any means because it was so real, this can (and does) happen in real life. It was told in alternating limited third-person mostly in the point of view of Anthony, Amelia, Harlan and Kim Winter so we get to see intimately get to know the characters--their thoughts and emotions and see through their eyes the events that quickly spiraled out of control. The author did a fantastic job with the characters--I had some strong feelings about them throughout the book and I love it when an author can take hold of my emotions that way. I quickly sympathized with Anthony and his mother who took most of the brunt of the whole situation. I wanted Amelia to do something more to convince her father that Anthony was a good and innocent. I wanted to hate Amelia's father and his uncompromising belief that Anthony preyed on and defiled his daughter. I was angry and frustrated with him but I know that he loves his daughter and, as a parent, only trying to protect her, wanting the man who, in his eyes, hurt her severely punished. I definitely see my parents acting like Amelia's parents if one of us, their daughters, was in a similar situation.
There were many themes that were touched up in this book like impulsive nature and power of [young] love, family and parents' sometimes misguided protection of their children, the misuse of modern gadgets, how the media can work for and against an individual, teen sexuality and "sexting." But the one I found the most interesting was how Anthony and Amelia's private and intimate pictures of themselves, not meant to be shared with anyone but the two of them, were misinterpreted as child pornography. I started thinking about the various pictures of my siblings and I that my parents took when we were toddlers and we were unclothed (in the tub, on a blanket after a bath, etc.). These pictures cause us some embarrassment but we were babies--just the same, can they also be mistaken for child pornography?
Inspired by the experiences of the author's own son, Exposure was thought provoking, beautifully written and, yes, gripping. An author praised it as "a twenty-first-century Romeo and Juliet" and it was definitely that. While this novel is not technically young adult, it's a must-read older teens as well as adults. I cannot say enough about this novel except that you have to read it. 5 out of 5 stars