I have been a fan of Susan Vaught for a while. TRIGGER was one of those books that haunted me long after the final page. And now she gives readers, EXPOSED (Bloomsbury, December 2008), a cautionary tale of Internet dangers. Chan Shealy's life has been miserable of late despite her academic ability and her athleticism as a majorette. A very public break up with her boyfriend who left her with herpes has made her an outcast after he intimated that she was the infected one. How she longs for a boyfriend who could give her the attention and friendship she wants without all the other complicated "stuff." She finds such a fantasy online in the person of Paul. Before long, she has given Paul an incredible amount of information about herself. She is pulled into his web of deceit all the time denying what she knows must be true--he is predatory. Just how predatory leads to a stunning climax.
I would love to be able to say that contemporary readers know all this already. They do not, I can assure you. The residents of the back bedroom are woefully unprepared by their computer classes in school for the dangers that lurk when one is not careful about personal information on the web. Let's just say we know this from experience and leave it at that. We supervise all online forays for them both. And their teachers keep showing them how to get around filters at school (yes, that is what I am saying. They brag about the fact that their teachers can take them to YouTube and other forbidden sites in class). There is nothing in class about staying safe online. So, will they read this book. Yep, indeed. And so should all the other gullible teens out there who think no harm can come to them and that their parents are too strict.