I’d heard the situation of this novel in verse before I read the first page. In Exposed by Kimberly Marcus two best friends fight at a sleepover, so Kate is alone downstairs when her friend Liz’s brother comes home from college. Liz, a high school senior who’s passionate about photography, is brilliantly chosen as the narrator, who must decide who’s telling the truth about what happened that night, and finds how truth is rarely black and white or as contained as a photograph. The gripping plot made me glad for poems that didn’t fill each page, which meant I could turn them quickly, but beyond the plot were questions that made me slow down to breathe deeply and consider. There’s violence, but also love of family, friends, and art built through well-chosen words and metaphor.
People are profiled swiftly, so we think we know them, but Liz wonders about the damage such “snapshots” can do and what they leave out. And yet… there are a lot of wonderful “and yets” here, without ever bogging down the action.. Liz claims:
“But I wonder if maybe there’s still room
for catching magic in a moment….
Where a girl,
as she dances,
looks lighter than air.”
Liz is thoughtful about the complicated world, while also being clear and direct with her instincts, as a good photographer should be. This book took me through a lot of strong emotions, and I never wanted to look away.
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