Thursday, January 15, 2015

Watched by C.J. Lyons Review

Title: Watched
Author: C.J. Lyons
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was given to me through the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warning: sexual abuse, more specifically pedophilia, mental illness, more specifically, agoraphobia

This book. This book. It should be required reading for everyone living in this day and age--that is, the digital age. It seems like if you don't have a presence online, you don't have a presence anywhere. And it's definitely fun: Youtube, and Vine, Snapchat and Twitter.. But Watched shows us the drawback of the digital age: if you post something to the Internet, it's there forever (unless you're like my husband and know how to take it off).

We are introduced to two kids, Jesse and Miranda, who are pawns in a man named King's game. King, quite simply, has ruined Jesse's life, and Miranda's, too. I'm not going to lie: This book is hard to get through. Most of the time reading it, I was nauseated, disgusted. But I admire Lyons' approach: she knows what this stuff is like, up close and personal. I applaud her for not shying away from the hard topics: how to be safe in a world where digital risk is constant, sexual abuse, particularly pedophilia, and secrets, and how they change us all.

The pacing of Watched was absolutely breakneck--I couldn't put it down, even though there were many, many times when I really wanted to. I loved both Jesse, the boy forced to hide his true self from everyone, his mother, his sister, his classmates, cornered and angry but ready to fight back, and Miranda, the young woman who had a night of carefree fun that went viral, and has made her agoraphobic. What was so compelling about the two of them was that they were flawed, undeniably human, and yet still heroes--protagonists worth cheering for, and loving.

The bottom line: An incredibly dark, sometimes grotesque, tale worth reading--it should honestly be required material for this digital age--simply amazing! Next on deck: The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes!

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