Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
ISBN: 9780375866937
Pages: 260 pages
Publisher/Date: Random House Children’s Books, c2011.

Carol answers the phone,
tells me Kate came home at dawn,
that she felt sick
and didn’t want to wake me.
And I feel sick
knowing she’s not. (28)

Liz and Kate are forever-best friends, sharing their hopes, their secrets, and a long-standing slumber party schedule. But at one of those parties, Liz says something she instantly regrets, especially after Kate leaves early in the middle of the night and refuses to speak with her later. Kate claims she’s just busy, but eventually word gets out that something having everything and nothing to do with Liz happened that night after the fight. Liz, who felt like she had a picture perfect life before, now is struggling to get a clear picture of what happened and who is telling the truth.

Fans of Ellen Hopkins should be rejoicing that there is another free verse poet on the scene who is willing to tackle the hard issues facing teenagers. In her debut novel, Kimberly Marcus brings Liz’s dilemma, tension, and conflicted feelings to life in her sparse language. While Liz takes pictures to portray the world around her, Marcus has the unenviable task of describing these pictures, and does so in ways that yield amazing imagery.

Readers get a glimpse of Liz’s and Kate’s relationship before the fight, but we also get additional background through Liz’s reflections of all the times, memories, and photos they shared. Her actions prove how torn she is by this rift that has happened, and although it really isn’t her fault, readers can’t blame her for feeling partially responsible. Liz asks “If only,” and readers echo those thoughts.

Fast forwarding to the ending, I don’t think it could have ended in any other way, and it conveys all the raw emotions involved and the difficulty of returning to the past. Kate probably says it best in a foreshadowing¬†scene when she says “Everything lives on through history.” (14) Unfortunately for this friendship, some portions of history are more unforgetable and unforgivable than others.

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