Author: Kimberly Marcus (Twitter)
Publisher: Random House BYR
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Personal Copy
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?
Verse novels are often difficult to read because they are sparse. It is in that sparseness, however, that we find the meaning and the power of a great verse novel, and I was thrilled to find that Exposed filled the void within those spaces with tension and raw grit. Kimberly Marcus embraced the true nature of the verse novel form and wrote between the lines, offering us the story of Liz, a smart, girl-next-door kind of teen, whose life is suddenly turned upside down. There is a beautiful, sad poetry to this book that offers us an aching tangible sort of empathy, but also winds us into a world alive in its descriptions.
I was surprised to find just how accessible Liz's emotions were in this novel, as I figured the poetic nature of Exposed would overshadow any sort of character development. Through her photography and the emotional turmoil of Liz's verses, we are able to truly understand and come to terms with the depth of her emotions. Furthermore, Kate and Liz's brother Mike were also standout characters, offering readers so much more than they might have hoped to gain from reading a quick-paced verse novel.
I've read several such novels now, but I can clearly say that Exposed wins the top prize for me thus far. There is drama, power and beauty to spare, and with each verse, I found myself more and more mesmerized by the skill it takes to weave a story in the blank spaces. There is a complexity to the simplicity of this novel, and it's something that really raised the bar for me. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and verse novels.