Author: Alexis Singer
Series: Louder Than Words
Publisher: HCI Teens
How Received: TLC Book Tours
At the age of sixteen, Alexis Singer was solicited by, manipulated by, and eventually became involved with a married thirty-seven-year-old man over the Internet. He coerced her into having cybersex with him and sending him explicit photos of herself.
In her debut memoir, Alexis Singer describes how she, a bright student at an arts school in Pittsburgh, first encountered an older man on a message board and how he posed as a friend and father figure who could support and advise her when her own father was physically and emotionally absent. Over the course of a year of online communication, Alexis became emotionally connected to and dependent on this man, whom she had never met. Alexis is the heart-stopping and raw account of Alexis's Internet affair, the turmoil and confusion that plagued her as she became more and more attached through her cyber encounters, and the dark details that ultimately led her to end the relationship. Alexis's recovery from the collateral damage of an affair gone awry continues to this day.
I started Alexis thinking it was the book I would connect to the least, enjoy the least, and leave thinking that the girl who wrote it was a moron. Mentally, I had always had little tolerance for the girls who participated in cybersex. I mean, yes - most of the fault lay with those who seduced them. But they should have known to stop. Right?
Then I read Alexis.
The problem with Alexis is that she reminded me of me. A little too much, actually. We both participate in theater related online forums, we both love musical theater, we both like to write and read. And I think just learning those things connected me to her, and that was what made the story so real to me.
So this book gave me the creeps. The good creeps, of course, but the creeps.
This is, of course, ignoring Alexis' brilliant writing. With the exception of a few times, she doesn't give specific details of what her predator said. (Because that's what it was; a predator.) But you felt what she felt. The sensation that this was wrong, the gradual pull, the cracking of willpower.
Honestly, I'd love to see Alexis write fiction, because I think it'd be brilliant.
But I digress. It's hard to find words for this review, because it really struck a chord. It's also hard because I don't want to spoil anything for you, about how it ends, because you're going to be sucked in. It's one of those books where you sit there ranting with a friend (in my case, Erica from The Book Cellarx) about what happened and why and what could happen.
So I'll leave you with this.
Final Comments: A brilliant debut from a writer I hope we see more of, and a novel that will leave you with the chills.