By CJ Lyons
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: PublisherWhen 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.
Review: When I first read about this book, I thought I was going to get a YA version of Enemy of the State and Eagle Eye, but instead of the government or machines watching your every move, it was a man who could be anyone, using the information he finds as a way to control anyone he wants. While I loved the movies, this book just didn't click with me and it was a bit too unbelievable.
Jesse should be enjoying life like any 16-year-old boy, but ever since the King hacked his way into Jesse's life and recorded Jesse's deepest secret, Jesse has had no choice but to give into King's demands. King's been demanding more and more from Jesse, and the latest request is too horrible for Jesse to fathom. But when King threatens the life of his sister and mother, Jesse sees no way out. Just when he's losing all hope, a manila envelope arrives with the promise of help and a way out of the miserable, trapped life Jesse has had no hope of escaping.
I've heard of internet hackers being able to tap into a computer's camera and see anything they want to, but Watched takes it to an entirely new level. King is beyond creepy and disturbing with how he obtains screen shots and videos of people and uses them to get whatever he wants, which is even more disturbing than I could have ever thought. I was so creeped out with what King did for a business and I could understand how helpless Jesse felt, especially with how technology is everywhere, which means King was everywhere as well. One of my problems, though, was with Jesse. The beginning chapter about Jesse's infatuation with fire was pretty confusing, which is never a good way to start a novel, and I still don't see how it really fit with the rest of the novel. In addition to that, I never really had a real connection with Jesse's character. The writing was so short and straightforward and I just wanted to care more about Jesse than I ended up caring as I read his story that was supposed to feel heartbreaking. Instead, I felt like I was just reading a story about a boy who was too detached from not only the world around him, but also from me as the reader.
While Miranda's character was definitely complex and troubled, I couldn't get over the fact that she was just 14 and had been dealing with King for three years. I think the ages of the characters was set at too young of an age and that some of the events that happened to them were not as believable as I wanted them to be. I know they talked about why the FBI and police couldn't help, but I feel like when the authorities actually were involved, they should have taken the situation of Miranda a bit more seriously than the author described them. While the plot was a good idea, I just didn't find myself enjoying the story or the characters.
Overall, this was a miss for me. It had the potential to be a thrilling read that would keep me on the edge of my seat, but instead I was just ready for the story to end. Everything seemed to be too redundant while we were inside of the character's heads and I wasn't able to establish enough of a connection with the characters to feel anything for their story. If you're looking for an enticing read, I'd skip over Watched.