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“But I know them. I am their God, their Creator, their Master,” Jesse. —Watched
by CJ Lyons
Jesse’s life has been destroyed by a man he has never met. He doesn’t know what this man looks like, or what his name is. He only knows that his screen name is King. King makes a living blackmailing people, mostly kids, into committing sexual acts on camera. Jesse is one of those kids. And every time he tries to escape, the noose gets tighter.
Miranda used to work for King, until the guilt became so great that she defied his orders. Not one to take no for an answer, King has devoted himself to ruining Miranda’s life. King has posted nude pictures of Miranda all over the web and had her mom attacked. The horrors keep coming and coming, and Miranda believes taking her life is the only way of escape.
Both Jesse and Miranda are helpless in King’s net—until they meet each other. Together, they might have a shot of taking King down. But what will be the cost?
Watched is a well-written book with constant suspense. Written to educate on the dangers of virtual blackmail and cyberbullying, this book does not shy away from the sexual aspects of pornography, pedophilia, and the children that supply such people with their perverse desires. While Watched explores an important aspect of our world, this book is not suitable for anyone under the age of eighteen.
The Prologue starts with, “You don’t know what it feels like to hold a life in your hands, but I do. There’s nothing like it. Better than sex, it’s a rush that leaves you panting, wanting more . . . Your life will never be the same—you might die or you might keep living, but your life will always be mine.” This is a book with extreme adult content and should be read with caution.
- Jesse sees a fire and talks about pyromaniacs. “Some guys think fire is sexy . . . these guys are hanging out, staring, licking their lips, one hand shoved deep down the front pocket of their jeans.”
- “Firemen talk like that, like fires are women, like conquering a fire is better than sex.”
- There is mention of the sexual acts Jesse is forced to perform. “No one would ever believe what he was doing at three in the morning . . . she tried hard not to notice what was actually happening, what the Tokyo perv was making the kid so . . . ”
- King asks Jesse to recruit a younger kid. He tells Jesse, “You’re getting too old for most of my clients. Unless they see you with other boys. Younger boys . . . I want you to have some fun. Like your uncle does with you.”
- It is mentioned several times that Jesse has been sexually abused by his uncle. After a while Jesse realizes that “my uncle is still standing there, truly believing I wanted everything that’s happened to me these past few years, that I asked for, that I even . . . liked it.”
- Miranda tells Jesse that King had been, “posting naked pictures of [her] all over [her] school’s website, sending them to [her] dad’s boss.”
- King posted Miranda’s mother’s picture and information online, “along with a rape fantasy. Five thousand dollars to the man who made it come true and posted a video of it.” Because of this, she is attacked twice.
- Jesse thinks about Miranda. “I want to be with her in real life, see her face, touch her hair, touch every part of her.”
- Jesse’s uncle said he was taking him camping, but they “ended up in a slimy motel . . . he brought with him a bunch of kinky stuff . . . and the things he did to me that night . . . Even now, three years later, my insides drop out of me just thinking of it. Couldn’t walk after. Spent the next day on the floor of the bathroom, naked except for a blanket.”
- Jesse’s uncle’s, “hand slides down my shoulder . . . he tugs on my belt with his other hand . . . he leans in, his gaze on my lips, hungry for more than dinner.”
- Jesse thinks about what his uncle wants. “I realize what he feels for me goes far beyond sex, more like obsession.”
- Miranda and Jesse kiss. “Our lips touch. The kiss is better than anything I could ever dream of.”
- Jesse, the protagonist, sets small fires for fun. Setting fires gives him a sense of control.
- Jesse remembers a video they watched in health class about cutting. “She said seeing her blood was like wrapping a chain around her heart, anchoring her to the real world . . . only by tearing into her own flesh, allowing the blood to escape, could she release the pain building up inside.”
- King has someone with a knife follow Jesse’s little sister, in order to get Jesse to obey him. Jesse realizes, “He really will kill Janey or Mom, just to prove to me that he can—and he’ll get away with it.”
- Jesse steals a “snub-nosed .38 revolver” from his uncle’s toolbox because “It’s time for me to man up . . . What other choice do I have?”
- Miranda writes a suicide note, planning to kill herself before her next birthday. She had previously tried to kill herself twice. “They’d said she was lucky they found her before all the pills had gotten into her system. Miranda had decided adults had a warped idea of what lucky really was . . . That night was the second time she’d tried to end it all. A razor blade that time.”
- Miranda talks about revenge porn, where “guys vote on the hottest or cruelest or most disgusting . . . the baby porn and the torture porn.”
- Miranda wishes Jesse will kill King. “I even fantasized that I could make you kill him. For me. How sick and twisted is that . . . I’m a pathetic, selfish bitch.”
- Jesse realizes that his uncle is an arsonist.
- Jesse thinks about his uncle. “Punching him, pummeling him, pounding him into the ground would be so much easier and feel so much better. I fantasize about it, but I can never do it.”
- When Jesse decides to confront his uncle, he thinks about needing, “tinder. Because if this goes wrong, I’ll need to get rid of the evidence.”
- When Jesse confronts his uncle he, “slide[s] the snub-nosed revolver from my back pocket and jam[s] it under his chin, forcing his head back . . . I jam the gun up harder, and he makes a little squeaking noise like a rat with its leg caught in a trap. Tough choice. Chew your leg off or wait to see who comes to get you . . . [I] smash my foot into his face so hard his nose gushes blood.”
- Jesse threatens to start fire to the house with his uncle locked in the garage.
- A man with a knife tries to kidnap Jesse. “He takes my hand and twists it back hard . . . the pain is excruciating, lightning blazing up my arm.”
- The remains of Jesse’s father are found buried on his uncle’s property. At first, Jesse is wanted for murder, but later his uncle confesses to having killed him.
- Jesse’s uncle breaks into Miranda’s apartment, kidnapping Miranda and her mother. “‘Please,’ her mother begged, her words choked with blood from her split lip and broken nose . . . He jabbed the gun hard into Miranda’s temple, forced her forward.”
- Miranda creates a suicide countdown to get publicity for her plan to take down King.
- King kills a bystander who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. “King shot him in the chest. The sound echoed like thunder as she stood, stunned, the acrid scent of gunpowder mixed with blood filling her nostrils.”
- Miranda gets ahold of King’s weapon and considers killing him with it. Jesse talks her out of it.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Jesse sees some drug dealers making sales and wonders why they even bother to hide, since, “no one seems to care.”
- Jesse thinks about a girl who used to cut herself, then was locked up and fed drugs that, “turned her into a zombie telling other kids don’t worry; be happy.”
- The first time Jesse built a fire he, “soaked it in a bottle of . . . booze—Old Grand-Dad, it tasted awful, burned all the way down . . . the booze must have been high test because the whole thing went up.”
- When Miranda asks him if he is okay to drive, Jesse says, “I’m not drunk. Not high.”
- Profanity such as hell, shit, and damn is used frequently.
- God, bastard, and bitch are used a few times.
- When Jesse describes the fires he sets, he says, “But I know them. I am their God, their Creator, their Master.”
- Jesse and Miranda discuss the morality of telling the truth versus hiding behind a lie. If they continue to lie, the perverts will, “keep doing this to other kids. They’ll think it’s okay to ruin our lives, to hurt us like we’re nothing more than dirt on the bottom of their shoes.”
by Morgan Lynn