Author: Kimberly Marcus
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: February 22, 2011
Rating: 5 of 5 stars = Superior
Exposed is the debut novel of Kimberly Marcus. Drawing upon her experiences as a clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of childhood and adolescent trauma, Marcus brings the story of 16-year-old Liz to this extraordinary work. “Photogirl” sees the world through a camera lens, and is sure that she sees a truth that one only sees through the lens of a camera. But, when she finds that her “forever friend” Kate is accusing her brother of rape, Liz’s world turns upside down in the click of a shutter.
I’m going to be honest with you, readers: When I started reading this book, I was put off by the free verse style in which the novel is written. I like poetry—Georgia’s own Byron Herbert Reece is one of my favorite poets of all-time—but reading an entire novel in this skimpy free verse style … well, I was not optimistic.
I could not have been more wrong or happily surprised.
I do not like novels—for any age—that throw topics like rape into readers’ faces with no compassion, no understanding of how brutal the topic they are writing about actually is. Marcus, however, handles the topic brilliantly, and explores all sides of the issue—from the expected he said/she said of the best friend and the brother, to the reactions of the parents and the rumors that fly around Liz’s school, affecting her day-to-day life. And, of course, the expected struggle Liz has, being placed between the friend she loves so much and the brother who she wants to believe could never do such a thing—the dexterity of Marcus is amazing.
“Thought-provoking” just does not even begin to describe this novel.
Fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff will likely find immediate appeal in the free verse style of Marcus. Fans of Chris Crutcher will see a similar type of honesty and truth in Exposed as Crutcher always puts into his stories. Crutcher, in fact, praised the novel:
“Exposed is on the money. Not a word out of place and it tells a great, grim truth.”
More than excellent, this novel truly is superb.
Fans can get a copy of Exposed, which is out in stores today, at one of the 800+ bookstores in Georgia.
Also, visit the National Young Adult Fiction Examiner on Thursday, Feb. 24, for a stop on the Kimberly Marcus Blog Tour, featuring a guest blog from Marcus herself.