Author: Therese Fowler
Published: May 3, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 384 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): 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.
My Thoughts: I found this book while wandering around my library and, after reading the synopsis, thought that it would be something I really enjoyed. I already felt like it would be a bit like Testimony by Anita Shreve (which happens to be one of my favorite books), and thought that I would probably like this one. I was glad that I did decide to read this book because it was a gripping read and one that made me think about the role technology plays in our lives and how it should be handled.This is a story of young love, starring Amelia and Anthony. They are high school seniors and ready to start their lives together, even though Amelia's parents are against her dating anyone. What unravels is a story of two people who are in love but not yet of age, and parents who believe that they always know what is right for their children.
For me, the best part of this story was the characters. Therese Fowler wrote every character so well, each of them fitting into the story like a puzzle piece, where they might not be right on their own, but when added together, make a complete picture. Amelia and Anthony are so well-written for teenage characters; they are acting like 17 ang 18 year olds, but they are also flawed. Amelia resents her parents involvement in her life but she doesn't over do it with the pouting. Anthony realizes the errors that they have made and tries to determine a way to get them both out of the predicament they are in. Amelia's father, Harlan, is prefectly written. He discovers the pictures and decides to call the cops. When he doesn't feel like enough is being done, he reaches out to the media, granting interviews about how innocent her daughter is. Kim, Anthony's mother, questions her knowledge of the relationship and what she should have done. The only character I wish had a bit more to contribute was Amelia's mother. I thought that she was just sort of shoved into a corner and we never really saw her or learned more about her background.
The topic of this story is so relevant, with social media becoming bigger and bigger everyday and more kids getting into trouble because of what they post online (whether or not it is pornographic or bullying someone). I'm continually amazed at what people post online and how they are surprised by the aftermath of those decisions. While Amelia and Anthony didn't post their pictures online, this novel demonstrates how technology is becoming ever more present and a part of our lives and how we must continually be aware of how we are using it. I thought that Fowler wrote a wonderful novel, showing how technology must be used resposibly or their maybe dire consequences. The only downside of this novel for me was that it reminded me so much of Shreve's novel, Testimony. I do plan to read more of Fowler's work in the future and more novels that center on technology and the downside of overusing it.