Author: Kimberly Marcus
ISBN: 978-0-375-86693-7

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Every once in a while - not often, but sometimes - a book comes along that not only is what a reviewer HAS to refer to as “a must-read” or “great story” or something else equally hokey and over-used…but the reviewer has to find the talent and imagination to praise the author who put together one of the most well-thought-out, well-delivered, unforgettable storylines that has been done in many, many years.


As a reviewer, I’ve been sent fifty or more books a month with some good characters, stories that make a reader laugh or cry, depending on the subject matter, but most are plots soon replaced in the brain by the next book you pick up.
Exposed, to say the least, is a book that will stick in my mind for years to come. Remarkably told in free verse, Ms. Marcus gives a poignant, raw, almost poetic look at two friends who are each other’s everything who are ripped apart by an allegation that tears down the walls of a friendship that should’ve been able to stand tall in the face of war, itself.  A friendship destroyed simply because…it was personal.

Liz is sixteen and has lived her life behind the camera. She’s referred to as Photogirl because all she does and all she wants to do is focus her lens and capture the perfect moments on film. Whether it be a woman who's exhausted because she’s tired of mowing her lawn, or a dancer who has leapt into the air and will forever be captured as the fledgling bird who has suddenly found the will and determination to fly, Liz has the talent to create photographs that will
someday line the walls of art museums across the globe. Her best friend Kate is the dancer extraordinaire. Kate and Liz have been best friends forever and have shared most everything in their lives with each other. The highs and lows, the boyfriends - good or bad - their dreams, hopes, accomplishments; even the fights that friends sometimes have and then, of course, make up the next day.

 
One evening, at their monthly slumber party, Liz seems to step too far over the line when Kate tells her that she’s not interested in having a lifetime career in the world of dance. She’s actually interested in majoring in history, since there is more of a future where that’s concerned. Without thinking, Liz tells her that she’s an idiot. Why would she give up her dream when she’s so unbelievably talented? She also wonders why Kate is dating a boy who's constantly at her beck and call - who acts more like a servant than a significant other. As the words flow out of her mouth, the argument begins and the friends end up sleeping far away from each other, as Liz walks back upstairs and fumes over the argument.

As everything in life always goes, Liz expects to see Kate at school on Monday; they’ll both apologize, and things will once again be right with the world. After all, isn’t that what best friends do? But suddenly, Kate wants nothing to do with anyone. She isn’t speaking with anybody in the hals, and basically is running in the other direction when Liz comes anywhere near her or even tries to apologize. When the reason why comes out, Liz is thrown into a state of absolute sickness and confusion. Her best friend has issued an allegation against one of Liz’s beloved family members, and all of a sudden Liz comes to realize that her black and white world has turned completely gray.


She can no longer hide behind her lens, and has to live with the fact that to stand behind her family she must forsake the one person she’s cared about all her life…even though she finds herself believing Kate’s side of the story. This novel offers a story of love, life, friendship, and the sacrifices we must make for friends and family as we go through life trying desperately to get to where we want to be without giving up.


So heart-wrenching…so thought-provoking and poignant, that this reviewer has an extremely difficult time believing that this is a debut. If this is Ms. Marcus just “getting her feet wet” in the industry, my breath stops when I think about the masterpiece that I will hold in my hands when she jumps “into the deep end.”  Fantastic!


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