Love was a pleasure but a danger at the same time, a force of nature that humans naively imagined could be controlled. (Exposure, Fowler)
I looked up the various dictionary definitions of the word exposure and this one best exemplifies the very essence of the story in Exposure by Therese Fowler: the revelation of a scandal or of somebody’s secrets or private information. Yes, this is the perfect description for Fowler’s book, Exposure.
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.
As Daddy’s little girls grow and become young women they could possibly take their father’s hearts and break them in two. This was truly the case for Amelia Wilkes and her father, Harlan Wilkes. Harlan Wilkes protected his daughter, felt the need to keep her “his little girl,” and had set very high standards for Amelia. He was also controlling and disapproving of any relationships Amelia might have with a boy who was not worthy of his daughter. Unfortunately for Anthony Winter, he fell into just that category. Anthony came from a single parent home. His mother Kim Winter was a teacher at Anthony and Amelia’s private high school, Ravenswood. She had done her best as a single mother. She had instilled values in him and was proud of his accomplishments thus far in his young life. One day Harlan Wilkes discovers what would be any parent’s worse nightmare. Unbeknownst to Amelia, he accesses her laptop containing her most private secrets. The world the Wilkes and the Winters knew begins to unravel when he discovers nude photos of Anthony. He didn’t have to dial 9-1-1 and contact the police but he did. The lives of all involved spin out of control and the impending train wreck can’t be stopped. As I began to see how their lives became unglued it truly was nerve wracking and scary to read as a parent. I could see the train wreck coming and continually kept thinking as I read, “no, no, no!” The results and the aftermath that follow are devastating for both families.
Amelia, like so many teens, feeling the angst of approaching adulthood, wanted to live on her own and to truly follow her own goals she had set for herself. Those goals and dreams included her boyfriend, Anthony. Amelia and Anthony had their future all set. They envisioned themselves moving to New York, attending New York University, and eventually pursuing careers on Broadway. However, in the words of poet Robert Burns, “the best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry…” In regards to what Amelia and Anthony had planned and dreamed for themselves, well….FATE paid them a visit. Throughout the story, the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are mentioned. Immediately a red flag alerted me to the possible foreshadowing – what was to become of Anthony and Amelia?! In Exposure, Fowler mentions a character flaw in one of Shakespeare’s plays. The flaw was recklessness. Their reckless actions led to catastrophic events in their lives.
For teens, the elements of young love, drama, an overbearing father and of course the hot topic of sexting will easily draw young adults to this story. For people as they read Exposure, this particular thought will be at the forefront: if only what they did could be undone! What Amelia and Anthony don’t realize is what they envisioned to be true love in their eyes is misconstrued by their parents, the media, their teachers, the police and the district attorney who wants to make an example of them both. Exposure sends such a profound message to parents and teens. One must sit up and take notice of the important message Fowler conveys. Teens must realize what can happen and the repercussions of their actions from sexting, using cell phones, and computers in the wrong way. It’s a cautionary tale to both parents and teens. What prompted Fowler to write such a poignant story about this topic? In real life, Fowler’s 19 year old son had a similar experience. From her family’s own personal calamity she was compelled to write the story of Exposure. Fowler shares a bit of her real life experience here.
I liked how Fowler used the different viewpoints from the main characters to give the reader a sense of what was going through their minds and their different perspectives. This was one of those books I consider to be a “page turner!” I’m quite confident once you pick this and begin reading this gripping poignant story about Amelia and Anthony, their story will linger in your mind for quite some time to come. Since reading Exposure, I’ve recommended the book to literally so many people. I’m happy to say many of them have already purchased the book!! Order your copy today at Amazon. Parents and teens should read it together to discuss this sensitive and timely topic. Exposure, in my opinion, would make an excellent book club selection because of the theme and subject matter. I will be selecting it as my choice of book for my book club, The Best Book Club Ever.