Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Exposure by Therese Fowler

Title: Exposure
Author: Therese Fowler

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Date Read: April 22 - 25, 2011
Rating: 4/5 stars 

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.

Wow. What an amazing young adult debut from adult author, Therese Fowler. I've never really read anything quite like Exposure and I'm hoping more people will read it now that it's available in stores today. Exposure is being regarded as the #1 novel every parent and teen should read in 2011. I completely agree. A well-written story of romance, law, and technology, Exposure opens your eyes to the world of sexting and the implications of it in today's society. 

The main topic of Exposure was sexting (sending sexual photos or texts via cellphones), a relatively new cultural phenomenon few authors have chosen to use. The stigma of sexual deviancy makes sexting a tough issue to talk about, especially when parts of the legal system have yet to catch up to it. As with many Jodi Picoult novels, Exposure showed the gray area of law and how easily art can be misinterpreted for pornography by the legal system. While Exposure lacked details of previous sexting cases it painted an awesome picture of how many sexting cases will probably turn out over the next few years. Sexting eventually turned from the topic to the medium through which Anthony and Amelia's story was told. 

Originally I was disappointed with the overwhelming character analysis and development vs the lack of plot in the first two acts of the novel. Entire chapters were dedicated to conversations between characters where key plot pieces were summed up in small paragraphs. However by the third act I was happy that Therese had spent so much time developing Amelia and Anthony early on so as not to justify each of their actions with character history during the climax. I would've liked a few more flashback scenes rather than memories regarding Amelia and Anthony's romance, especially when the sexting took place. As a lover of theatre I loved how Amelia and Anthony's romance blossomed through acting and how they both had dreams of pursuing it post-secondary. Writing the novel in three distinct acts was reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, a literary/character connection a few other reviewers have made. I also liked how each scene/chapter had a technological aspect to it, whether it be a cellphone call, someone checking their email, etc. It became very obvious by the end that Therese was trying to show how even adults rely heavily on modern technology.

I still can't get over the last act of Exposure. I never saw it coming. I noticed a change in direction and feeling in the novel but never guessed it would end up where it did. Such an amazingly written final section, the third act sold me on the novel. I had been expecting the novel to play out similarly to a Jodi Picoult novel where the novel follows the characters through the legal system, but instead switched to a more social commentary-romance feel. Loved it! However I was slightly disappointed with the final chapter and epilogue. I found it a tad unrealistic and unnecessary, though it did tie up some loose ends. 

Favourite Quote: "But Amelia had looked at him from across the stage, blue velvet curtains hanging behind her, stage lights illuminating her auburn hair, and a jolt of something - call it electricity, call it whatever you liked - went through him and he'd literally stopped breathing. What he'd wanted to do was drop to his knees. What he'd done instead was turn to Ms. Fitz and say,'There's my Rosalind'."

Recommended: The Pact (Jodi Picoult), Stalker Girl (Rosemary Graham), Sing Me to Sleep (Angela Morrison)


  1. Great review!! I don't think I have this on my to-read list yet, but I think I should add it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just reviewed this one last week as well. I LOVED it! I wasn't expecting the ending either. Great review!


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