Kimberly Marcus Exposed
255 pp. Random House Children’s Books (Random House) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-375-86693-7
Summary (From the publisher): In the dim light of the darkroom, I’m alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.
Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.
But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz’s world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most? Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus’s gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.
I’m a huge fan of novels written in verse and Kimberly Marcus’s debut novel Exposed did not disappoint. Marcus makes her writing look effortless; it reads and flows with ease. One of the best aspects of stories written in verse is that the author has to be so picky about word choice. There isn’t as much room to explain and develop the story as there is in prose, so it forces the author to put even more thought into the words she uses to convey her meaning and tell her story. (At least I’m assuming this.)
Although early on I correctly predicted why Kate started avoiding Liz, that didn’t keep me from wanting to continue reading the story. I was so hooked that I read this book in about two hours. Of course the verse makes reading faster, but the story was that engaging. There were parts that made me anxious, that made me cringe, that made me cry. I’m positive that my Ellen Hopkins fans will love this novel. Exposed also made me think of Patricia McCormick’s Sold, written in verse as well, because it was just as engaging.
Quite a few YA novels are written about teens that love photography, but Marcus took this character’s love of photography to another level. Liz captures her subjects at their most vulnerable and intimate moments. Liz also captures their insecurities and makes them beautiful. She’s a talented artist. The photography is taken to another level because not only are these things exposed by Liz, but like film, secrets and lies between family and friends are exposed and brought to light. It’s about impossible to further explain this without spoiling major elements of the plot, so I’ll leave it to you to discover and enjoy on your own 🙂
Kimberly Marcus doesn’t leave anything hidden in this stunning debut. I strongly encourage you to pick this novel up–it’s an addicting and powerful read.