Exposure: A Novel by Therese Fowler (Ballantine Books; $25.00; 384 pages)
Author Therese Fowler has written the 21st century version of Romeo and Juliet. Fowler portrays the complexities of the modern-day teenage romance highlighted by cell phones, computers, and on-line social networking. She does an excellent job demonstrating the dangers of our advanced technologies when it comes to teenagers and the sharing of personal information in her upcoming novel, Exposure.
The star-crossed lovers, Anthony Winter and Amelia Wilkes have everything in common, excluding the financial status of their families. Their shared passion for theatre brings them together in their affluent high school’s production of As You Like It, which in verse summarizes their own love story:
No sooner looked but they loved
Their commitment to one another begins with a secret romance shielded from Amelia’s arrogant father, Harlan, who shelters Amelia with the primary goal of ensuring that she ends up with the ideal partner who will provide her with a rich life, not the poor unfortunate one he had as a child. He hopes for Amelia to pursue a business degree at Duke University and to find a shadow of him, a man with money and power who will provide her with the wealth that he finds essential for happiness.
Anthony, the talented and non-conformist son of a single mother was abandoned by his father before he was born. He is fortunate to attend Ravenswood, the esteemed private school where he meets Amelia, only because his mother, Kim, has been hired to teach Art and French. Kim, a supportive mom doing the best she can to raise Anthony with the limited resources she has, supports the relationship between her son and Amelia, knowing all too well the power of love and romance.
As Amelia and Anthony spend their time contemplating their plan for the future they become closer and, as a result, intimate. Following graduation Amelia will reveal both their relationship and plans to attend New York University for drama while they both pursue careers on Broadway. Months away from graduation their relationship becomes physical and, being the artists that they are, commemorate their relationship through writings, texts, e-mails, and photos. This intensifies their relationship, which is presumed to be private and innocent (Anthony is 18 and Amelia 17), while they are away from one another…
One unfortunate day Amelia’s father hacks into her computer and finds explicit photos of Anthony. Outraged and presuming that his innocent, naive daughter has been the victim of a heinous crime, he instinctually calls the police and begins an investigation that results in a series of events altering the lives of everyone involved.
Fowler expresses the true nature and concerns of sexting, and the repercussions of the open access that our children have to the Internet and other related avenues for sharing information.
Yes, Exposure may also take you back to relive the story of your first love… or the one that got away.