These days when you see a teenager, there is typically a cell phone nearby… In the case of Amelia and Anthony, it’s the device that ruined both of their lives. Anthony, 18 and Amelia, 17 are the two characters that literally set the stage in Therese Fowler’s newest novel, “Exposure“. The young couple is in love and have hopes and dreams of graduating, moving to NYC and starting careers on Broadway. The catch is that very few know about their relationship, especially not Amelia’s Mother and Father who have a very strict parenting style and don’t share the same Broadway dream as Amelia.
On the other hand, we have Anthony’s mother, Kim, who is a teacher at the elite school that both the teenagers attend. She is well aware of their relationship and supports their decision to be with one another. She has a very strong bond with her son, encouraging him and always being available to talk and discuss his feelings. Despite her support, Kim is not always in the loop about everything and is unaware of the things going on behind closed doors, specifically the time that both Anthony and Ameila pose in nude photos to send one another on their cell phones. These pictures ultimately end up on Amelia’s computer that is (of course) password protected. However, that doesn’t stop her overbearing father, Harlan in putting two and two together and cracking the password dilemma, giving him full access to his daughters personal and very private files. Thus begins a whirlwind of drama and the two teenagers, who are madly in love (annoyingly at times) are forced to be separated and ultimately face criminal charges when Amelia’s father immediately contacts the police. He firmly believes that his daughter was manipulated by this “older” boy and believes that his daughter is the innocent victim in this scenario. This is where I had the most trouble with the story, because instead of sitting her father down and explaining that she and Anthony were in love and the pictures were consensual, Amelia accidentally leads both her parents to believe otherwise.
This story takes you into the world of “sexting” and how one moment of passion can flip your whole world upside down. This topic is a familiar topic for the author Therese Fowler, who unfortunately drew on personal experience for this story when her own son was involved with the same kind of sex scandal, you can read about it here. When we hear the term sexual predator, we automatically have horrible and unthinkable thoughts enter our mind, but Anthony, and sadly Fowler’s son, both faced the thought of having this label attached to their age and serious criminal charges pressed against them.
I’m not naive in thinking that sexting doesn’t happen and I’m not naive to think that parents don’t have to keep a close watch on their children, but there were parts in this novel that I didn’t necessarily agree with, such as hacking your 17-year-old daughters computer when she has never provided any reason to believe that she’s a bad kid. When I was 17 years old, I had an older boyfriend of three years and I remember my parents playing a very active role in the relationship (placing a curfew, setting guidelines), but I never once felt violated or that they didn’t trust my decision to date someone a few years older. This was my only grievance with the novel, but I can understand how every individual situation can be different, based on one’s personality and the situation at hand.
It’s an interesting read and the story has a dynamic edge to it based on the fact that Therese Fowler has unfortunately faced this terrible scenario first hand. This novel definitely sheds light onto how advanced technology has come in the last couple of years and how the click of hitting the send button can change your life forever.
It was a riveting read.