Today we review a high-interest novel, set squarely in the world of today’s teens. In fact, Exposure was inspired by the author’s own experience. Therese Fowler’s teen son was arrested for sexting. Fowler states firmly that this is not her family’s story exactly, but she knows of what she writes.
Adult/High School–Fowler evokes shades of “Romeo and Juliet” with a contemporary social media twist: sexting and its consequences. Amelia Wilkes, 17, is not allowed to date, but she and 18-year-old Anthony Winter are having a secret, star-crossed romance that turns out to have tragic consequences when Harlan, Amelia’s strict father, discovers nude photos of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Harlan’s immediate and complete rage at what he stubbornly insists is exploitation of his daughter spirals out of control as first Anthony and then Amelia are arrested in what explodes into a media circus. Kim, Anthony’s mom, is a teacher at the school both teens attend and she can’t muster the financial resources or political clout that drives Harlan’s near vendetta against her son. Although Fowler explores the adults’ motivations, she keeps the focus on Anthony and Amelia: believable, flawed characters who are in love and don’t see what they did as wrong. Their choices reflect the total desperation that denied love can bring. Teens who enjoy romance or who appreciate layered and complex family stories with a courtroom element á la Jodi Picoult will devour this.–Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI