Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: WATCHED by CJ Lyons

From the back of the book
In a world where web cappers can hack any cellphone or computer webcam, no one is safe-including Jesse

Jesse seems like a normal sixteen-year-old, but he isn't. He is a victim of King-a ruthless web capper who has been blackmailing Jesse with incriminating screen photos and videos. So far, Jesse's given in to King's demands in order to protect his family. But now King wants something that's too horrible to contemplate-and if he doesn't get it, King will kill Jesse's little sister.

Terrified and helpless, the answer to Jesse's prayers arrive in the form of a plain manila envelope. Inside there's a phone number and a note: I can help.

My Review
WATCHED is a gripping and insightful read into the little known world of cyber bullying and the severe extremes it can push individuals of any age to. In this instance, the focus group is teenagers, specifically those who are either filmed or photographed undertaking a private innocence misinterpreted as sleaze by the trolls on the internet and those unfortunate souls led down the destructive path of abuse for profit. 

Author CJ Lyons doesn't write with a focus on the moral compass which she could have easily done, rather letting the characters tell their story while embedding an underlying message of  awareness of the unknown. The world isn't a safe place and computers, laptops, mobile phones etc put the young (and not so young) at risk of cyber smart predators 24/7. 

I learnt a lot from reading WATCHED, both from a shock horror tech awareness (smart phone cameras being controlled remotely by people miles away for one) and from a humanist perspective. Little do adults know of the teenage world. It's an ever changing landscape that has evolved into a very dangerous place. For the protagonists of WATCHED, they embrace this danger to bring down a predator, taking a stand to save themselves and others at risk from the 'King's' cyber spell. 

This has got to be one of the most readable books I've read this year. The pages didn't seem to turn quick enough; time ceased to exist, I was utterly consumed by the world as depicted in WATCHED. A true rarity that really is a 'must-read'. 

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