I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
Watched will be available November 4, 2014
Synopsis from Good Reads:
When hackers can hijack 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 hacker 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 arrives in the form of a plain manila envelope. Inside there’s a phone number and a note: I can help.
The premise of Watched seems very relevant right now. With the recent phone hack and resulting nude photo scandals. With the Facebook Messenger app that wants permission to control your camera (that’s what I’ve heard, I haven’t researched that for myself, so don’t quote me. I just stopped using messenger on my phone to be safe.). There is a world of possibilities with this hacking premise and I wish Lyons would have explored it a little more.
The majority of the book is very character driven. I don’t generally have a problem with that and I felt like both Jesse and Miranda were very well developed. I definitely felt very bad for both of them and what they went through. However, I was expecting this book to be kind of a thriller and the plot moved along very slowly and there was a good deal of repetition. However, the action did really pick up in the final chapters.
There was definitely some very dark subject matter in Watched, but it never ventures into the graphic. I found it almost more disturbing because you’re left wondering what exactly Jesse, and others like him, were forced to do by King. I feel like the story could have benefited from exploring some of the other kids that were being blackmailed or with getting to know some of Miranda’s hacker friends.
Overall, I thought Watched was a pretty good book. It was definitely a “cause” book, though, and not the cyber thriller I was expecting. It deals with some serious issues that definitely need more awareness, but I didn’t find the book as much enjoyable as educational. I would recommend this book to those that want to know more about “cybersmashing” or have been victims of hacking themselves.
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Rating: 3 stars