Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
ARC, 255 pages
Date Published: February 22, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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 Grayson is photogirl—sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime—and the accuser is Liz's own best friend. As the aftershocks from that accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself, shifts out of focus. And for the first time in her life, Liz finds herself unable to trust her own point of view. 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.

Exposed is a quick reading, taking me just over an hour to finish, but it’s also hard-hitting and emotional. Kimberly Marcus’ use of verse wondrously illustrates how quickly 16 year old Liz’s life falls apart. How her best friend, her brother, and her photography come crashing down around her.

The thing I love about verse novels is that they’re a fast read, but on top of that, they tend to be so well-written that the characters come to life vividly and with startling clarity. Exposed has that. Liz is a complete person in the novel, with a best friend, a family, and a future. She seems to have everything going for her, until she doesn’t. I don’t want to say exactly what happens, but it’s something that tears her in two. The reader will feel how split Liz is about the situation, not knowing who to support and defend and who she should be angry with.

The writing not only tells a good story, but it evokes a great deal of emotion. Liz’s disintegrating world will pull the reader along, not sure who to believe or what to feel. Liz’s photography within the story strengthens her character even as she’s losing it. I love how Liz sees the world through a lens at the beginning, but as the story moves on, her lens becomes clouded, until she can’t see anything anymore. The photography aspects allow for some great lines, as well as some great metaphorical musings.

The other characters involved may not be completely fleshed out, but they each add to the story. I couldn’t help but find myself angry at Kate, at Liz’s brother Mike, at her parents, and her boyfriend, but then I was angry for them to; angry that they had to go through this, that they each have to suffer. Much like Liz, I was constantly torn between two states, not sure which side I was going to land on, or if I could straddle that line forever.

Exposed is a deftly-written, emotional, and somehow hopeful verse novel about losing everything, but still making it. It tackles a hard subject realistically and from an almost outsider's perspective. Liz is outsider in the situation, but beyond close at the same time. The writing is phenomenal and had me near tears at times because this could happen, this does happen, and this is how most people probably handle it. If you’re a fan of verse novels or contemporary young adult fiction, then this one is for you.

Opening line: I am the first one here. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
I used to take time to look,
to see.

But now time is something to get through,
so I aim and shoot at everything
crossing my line of vision. ~ pg. 100
And my favorite chapter/poem:
What Do I Know?

It’s amazing how you think
you know someone so well,
then one day you come to see
that you really don’t know
that person at all.

And you wonder
what that says
about you. ~ pg. 212

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Kimberly Marcus online:

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Alexa said...

I just read this one two hours ago and I have to agree with you. I easily fell into the emotions that Liz was experiencing throughout the book and it was easy to see how hard it would be to pick a side. I felt this one went beyond just another novel that gives the reader the point of view of the girl who was raped, I enjoyed seeing the story come from the girl's best friend/ her rapist's sister. Thanks for the great review :)

Candace said...

I liked this book but there was something about the style (or something) that made me not love it. I did love the idea. The conflict in the story was a brilliant idea for a story because it's so easy to imagine something like that happening.
I read this AGES ago so it's hard to remember what I didn't love and now it's bugging me. Oh well. Glad you loved it though!

BrittLit said...

I never realized this was in verse, now I just want to read it even more. Glad to see you enjoyed it too. Can't wait to check it out.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Alexa - Agreed! I have brothers too so I could really fall into Liz's conflicting emotions about the situation.

Candace - It's too bad you didn't feel it as much as I did, but I can see the style not working for everyone.

BrittLit - I haven't read a huge number of verse novels, but the few I have have been very good. I hope you get around to this one.

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