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Exposure: A Novel Hardcover – May 3, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Letter from Author Therese Fowler
In an early review of Exposure, the reviewer said I’d done a brave thing in writing a story that was inspired by my own son’s arrest for what the media have dubbed a sexting crime. That word, brave, took me by surprise. Writing the novel had been necessary. It had been frightening. I didn’t--and still don’t--feel I’d done anything brave.

I’d been working on a different book when my son, who had just turned nineteen, told me a warrant for his arrest was being issued. That book was under contract, so although life became very complicated very quickly, I felt bound to keep working and meet my deadline--but I struggled with it; the story just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do.

A few months after my son’s arrest, months in which his lawyer had urged us to stay silent about what was going on, the idea for Exposure came to me. I’m certain it grew from my horror and frustration with what was going on, and the effects events had on my son and on our family. I asked my son what he thought about my writing a novel inspired by the situation, and he was fully supportive. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

In some ways, the writing came easily because the scenario was so familiar and so close. In other ways it was hard, because even though Exposure is entirely fictional--the story inside the book is not my son’s, nor mine--I knew I was putting my son and myself in a position where we would be judged. All the while, though, I was telling myself, Think of what books can do.

I grew up being influenced by novels, and I fully believe in the power of story. Whether invented or true, stories have been the vehicles of lessons and warnings and inspiration for as long as humans have had the means to tell them.

So to craft a novel that might prevent even one person, one family, from having to face a similar or worse crisis was not, to me, a brave act. It was an opportunity to tell a story that reminds us all, To err is human--which is especially true when deep emotions are involved. I felt obligated to set aside the other book and write this one, to give you Anthony and Amelia and Harlan and Kim, all well-meaning people whose actions and choices add up to a cautionary tale that I hope will give you, at the very least, many hours of good reading.

Everyone in Exposure makes mistakes--as we all have done at times, and no doubt will do again. It’s what happens afterwards that makes all the difference.

From Publishers Weekly

Sexting leads to big trouble for two teenagers in Fowler's Picoult-lite latest, a cautionary tale more intent on hammering home its message than in creating believable characters. Anthony Winter, a charismatic 18-year-old raised by a single mom, is dating Amelia Wilkes, a nice girl from a wealthy, conservative family that doesn't want her in a relationship with a student who can afford private school only because his mother teaches there. Kids being kids armed with camera phones and digital cameras, they e-mail each other nude digital photos, and when Amelia's father comes across pictures of Anthony on his daughter's computer, he calls the police, and a nightmare begins for all involved: Anthony faces being branded a sex offender, and Amelia gets in trouble with the law as well. Unfortunately, Fowler diminishes the power of her story with a cast of predictable, two-dimensional characters (i.e., Amelia's controlling father is bad; Anthony's supportive mom is good) whose sole purpose is to move the plot forward. (May)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345515536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345515537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was amazed at how this book captivated me!

Exposure is an eye-opening read with a premise I considered myself somewhat ignorant about--sexting. It was a heart pounding thrill ride-one I'd gladly go on again and again, but mostly it is a bittersweet modern day Romeo and Juliet and very powerful. Everyone is forever changed by something that seems so harmless.

Therese Fowler shows her proficiency as a writer and story teller. The Characters are true to life, I imagine them breathing next to me, huffing and puffing in some cases, as I read the story. Each character is multifaceted and developed in an organic fashion through out the story. I am constantly eager to know more about them. All the characters are tragically human and yet, somehow saved by their humanity.

I loved the way the teenagers came to life and grew-up right before my eyes. While the complexity of life shadowed them, they shined. The young adults in the story have the reader examine theme's like manipulation, friendship, trust and peer support.

The justice system is a monster creating a nightmare for parents and children alike. The nightmare is not lost on the reader--yet, it never usurps the story. Therese Fowler does a magnificent job of giving the full flavor of the frustration everyone experiences as the monster is unleashed by the first charges and then another, and another.

Parents and children have complex relationships, which the Author honors and handles justly. The reader can agree or disagree with each parent with out ever feeling preached to. No flaw in the adults is better or worse than another. Everyone makes mistakes, and usually people compound their mistakes before correcting them. The story telling is superb in this regard. "Nooooooo? Don't do that!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is breathtaking, heart-pounding, and gripping – impossible to put down. It is raw, shocking, scandalous, and unforgettable. I became immediately entranced by this story, and delved into the character’s lives as if they were my own.

Anthony, 18, and Amelia, 17, two high school seniors, are deeply in love. They have big plans for the future that all include each other. However, their world comes crashing down when Harlan Wilkes, Amelia’s overprotective and wealthy father, discovers nude “sexting” photos of Anthony on Amelia’s computer, and immediately contacts the authorities. Within days, Anthony has been arrested and accused of being a sexual predator. He has become a pariah to everyone around him, except for Amelia, who remains faithful and loving. Then, things take a turn for the worse when photos of Amelia are discovered as well, and she too is arrested. Life has become a disaster for both teens and their families, and nothing will be the same ever again. Desperate to be together, and afraid to spend life in prison, Amelia and Anthony take drastic measures to escape what their lives have become.

At the core of this story is the true and intimate love between Amelia and Anthony. Their love is real, palpable, and heartbreaking when they are forbidden, by both law and Amelia’s parents, to see, or even contact, each other. Despite how out of control their lives have become, they are desperate for each other and never once relinquished their love. Even though this book is about the scandal that envelopes their lives, the love makes this story real and enchanting. So touching and true is their love that I, as a mere reader and spectator, became all the more invested in their story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anthony Winter and Amelia Wilkes are in love. Theirs is a forbidden love, from her parents' viewpoint. So they meet and begin a sexual relationship, keeping the secret from her parents. He is eighteen and she is seventeen, so in North Carolina, they are not breaking any laws by having a sexual relationship.

Anthony's mother Kim, a teacher at the private school the teens attend, is aware that they are seeing each other, but says nothing.

But one day, they take their love a step further when Anthony sends nude photos of himself to Amelia, at her request.

They think nothing further of it until the day Amelia forgets her computer at home, and her father, curious to see what she's up to, hacks his way in. And discovers the photos.

What he does next unleashes a nightmare scenario from which they will never emerge unscathed. For the DA in Raleigh has a political agenda and is determined to glean as much mileage from this case as he can.

The legal ramifications become more and more complicated as the case grows monster legs, with the media, at Harlan Wilkes' bidding, turning the situation into a circus, with Amelia painted the victim of Anthony, who is portrayed as the perpetrator.

As the story unfolds, we see the events from the perspective of each of the characters, coming to understand how and why each of them is reacting the way they do. Yet the justice system seems hell-bent on turning the teens into sacrificial lambs for the benefit of those who are pulling the strings.

What will Anthony and Amelia finally decide to do when their fate seems sealed? Will their love survive the horrific events? And what will someone do to turn things around?
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