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4.2 19
by Kimberly Marcus

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In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.

Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and


In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.

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? Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—At first, Exposed reads like many other realistic novels-in-verse. A teen with slightly clichéd phrasings effuses about her lifelong best friend, school, dreams for the future, and boyfriend. When Liz and Kate have a tiff during their oh-so-cute monthly sleepover, it seems as if a predictable narrative is about to unfold. Liz, an aspiring photographer in a solid relationship, cannot understand why Kate, a dancer, doesn't plan to pursue her art professionally and why she stays in a one-sided relationship. In the days following the argument, Kate ignores Liz as if she's a stranger. Soon, however, readers learn of a darker plot twist that caused what may have at first appeared to be the beginning of a childish spat. When it turns out that Liz's brother, home from college, raped Kate as she slept downstairs after their fight, Liz's entire world starts to unravel. Nothing that happens after this realization feels contrived; it's just devastating. There are no neatly folded edges. The narrative largely zooms in on Liz's pain and her struggle to ground herself in her photography and gain admission to art school as events swirl around her. As a result of tethering the narrative to Liz's perspective, the ongoing discussion of Kate's rape and ensuing trial are not heavy-handed or gratuitous. In Liz, Marcus has created a sympathetic lead. A worthy addition to any collection.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
Publishers Weekly
This provocative first novel, told in free-verse poems, offers a nuanced view of the ramifications of a rape, as seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Liz, an avid photographer. Marcus captures Liz's divided allegiances between the accused—her brother, a college student with whom Liz has an ambivalent but loving relationship—and her best friend, Kate, the victim ("My brother is a track star./ My brother is a partier.... My brother/ is not/ a rapist"). The stages of grief are well developed, as Liz negotiates the social consequences of the alleged rape, the loss of Kate as a friend, and her guilt for leaving Kate alone after a fight at a sleepover. In one poem, "Distraction," Liz claims to accept the loss, but says, "And except for a few times/ every few minutes,/ I hardly think about Kate/ at all." Liz's relationships with her parents and peers offer poignant moments, such as when she lies to protect her mother from the rumors she hears at school. Marcus presents a thought-provoking portrait of rape and its irreparable impact on victim and community. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Ava Ehde
This candid debut novel of best friends, heartache, trauma, rape and innocence is a riveting page-turner. Photogirl, Liz, is confident of the world she sees through her camera's viewfinder. She sees the sharp contrasts of life as well as the amazing beauty of her forever-best friend, Kate, "legs extended in a perfect soaring split." Liz even uses her photo of Kate's dancer feet as a photo essay of "work." It is after an argument during the monthly Saturday Night Slumber that Liz's focus becomes blurred. Kate's concerted efforts to avoid Liz finally end in a confrontation when she tells her that Liz's brother, Mike, held a pillow over her face and raped her after Liz went to bed that Saturday. Liz's loyalties are torn and she does not know who to believe anymore. She has lost her brother and her forever-best friend in one gut-wrenching revelation. This is a huge topic handled in free verse with honesty, innocence and courage. This ingenuous style has lent itself surprisingly well to descriptions of relationships, daily interactions, issues, and photography. The perspective is unusually gripping because the story is seen through the eyes of the best friend of the girl that was raped, who is also the sister of the rapist. The verse is written with lyric simplicity and this book will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
In searing, free-verse poems, author Kimberly Marcus charts the changing feelings of Liz, a high school senior whose "forever-best" friend, Kate, is accusing Liz's older brother of rape. Mike may be a hard-partying guy, home from college on a visit, but he would never do such a terrible thing—would he? But why would Kate lie and press charges if he hadn't? As her family awaits Mike's trial, Liz, once so confident, tries to move forward with a life that seems suddenly off kilter. She is bereft of friends, who want to support Kate, suspicious of her brother, alternately angry at and protective of her grieving parents. Liz tries to find purpose and focus in her photography but even her artistic passion seems to be failing her. She "no longer sees things/in crisp black-and-white contrasts—/some things come in shades of gray." This assured first novel is a wrenching coming of age story about an artistic teen who concludes that though "you can't sum up a whole life in a 5x7," you might still be able to catch "magic in a moment." Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
Kirkus Reviews
In accessibly poetic free verse, a Cape Cod teen haltingly relates how her brother's violent act changes things. Liz's artistic photos feature her "forever-best friend" Kate, a dancer. They share childhood history and fond nicknames; Kate is Lizzie's emotional core. At a sleepover, they quarrel: Liz insists Kate major in dance in college, insults Kate's boyfriend and storms upstairs. Later that night, Liz's brother finds Kate alone downstairs and rapes her. Although Mike claims it was "just sex," this isn't awho's-telling-the-truthposer—not quite. Liz eventually believes Kate, but she can't offer much to Kate verbally, and Kate can't bear to see her anyway. Liz is frozen, stung by family upheaval and the loss of Kate, which "eats away at me / like a dirty old gull / picking at fresh prey." Liz never places Kate's trauma ahead of her own, which feels as realistically distressing as the ending's lack of reconciliation and the lives capsized by an unrepentant sibling. Well-honed.(Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Darkroom Photography, First Period

I am the first one here.
Viewing negatives on the light table,
I find one and itch to open the chamber that leads to the darkroom.
Soon, others stroll in:
Javier, the Hoopster.
Nathan, the Nuisance.
Brenda, star of The Brenda Show.
The bell rings as Mrs. Pratt breezes through the door,
clapping her hands to get everyone’s attention.
Everyone’s attention,
I should say,
but mine.
Because nobody needs to tell
Elizabeth Grayson,
to focus.
Bringing to Light

I slip the photo paper into the developing solution,
sway it around with black plastic tongs and wait.
The hum of air from the overhead vent,
the swish of chemicals,
and the sucking in of my breath are the only sounds shifting in the dim light of the darkroom.
I’m alone but not for long.
As white turns to gray,
Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred so the focus is all on her—
legs extended in a perfect, soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.
In the Hallway, After Last Bell

The word bursts from my mouth at the same moment my fingers poke into each side of her from behind,
and Kate’s books drop with a thud.
She whips around in an attempt to elbow her attacker,
but I’m prepared and jump back out of her way.
“Liz!” she yelps , then laughs,
waving her hands at my face,
before we reach to re-gather her books around and between Friday’s fleeing feet.
“Just trying to keep you on your toes,” I say,
touching her shoulder until it relaxes,
until she gives me a forgiving grin.
“I’m on my toes enough,” she says,
and I can’t help but smile at this pointed comeback from the Mistress of Modern Dance.
“I developed a shot of you dancing today.”
Kate shakes her head.
“I can’t believe I let you take pictures of me sweating.”
But I tell her my begging paid off,
that this shot is going in my portfolio.
She zips her books into the safety of her backpack,
scrunches her forehead,
and says I may want to rethink that—
that she would hate for her ugly self to be the reason I don’t get into art school.
I take in her perfect, china-doll complexion,
look straight into her blue-green eyes,
and tell her, “Art schools now require applicants to submit photos of the ugliest person they can find.
So you don’t have a thing to worry about.”
Friday Night at Salvatore’s

We’re at our favorite cheesy pizza place:
plastic-coated, red-checkered tablecloths,
Leaning Tower painted on one wall,
a vineyard, maybe Tuscany, on another.
Sal, behind the counter,
white mustache curled in handlebars,
huge belly threatening to burst through his grease-splattered apron,
singing along to piped-in Italian music.
A walking cliché.
Amanda piles on
Parmesan cheese and hot-pepper flakes.
Dee Dee blots off extra oil with her napkin.
Kate uses a fork and knife to cut her slice into bite-sized pieces.
By the time my three friends are finished preparing their meals,
I’m ready for dessert.
“What time should I come by tomorrow?”
Kate asks as we leave.
“I’m staying on the Vineyard for a few hours after work,” I tell her.
“How about seven?”
“Sounds good,” she says,
closing the door on Sal’s serenade.

Most of the kids who work for the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry Service,
in the parking lots, at the ticket booth,
or in the concession stands on the boats, like me,
work during the high season.
A cool summer job.
But keeping my Saturday 8–2 shift year-round gives me spending money and the chance to stay on the island and hitch a later ferry home to Shoreview.
“See ya, Lizzie-Lou!” my father calls from the bridge as I make my way down the ramp.
He’s just Dad to me,
but to everyone else he’s Cap.
Captain Robert Grayson,
King of the Ferry,
Noble Seaman of Nantucket Sound.
Photo Op

I get on my bike and pedal right out of Vineyard Haven until I’m winding down country roads lined with old stone walls and grazing horses.
I lean my bike against an oak tinted with autumn’s promise and raise my camera to catch a shot of a wistful woman,
gray hair in a long braid down her back,
patting sweat from her neck with a green bandana as she pauses atop her ride-on mower and stares out across her big yard at all the grass yet to be mowed.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

KIMBERLY MARCUS lives with her husband and two children near the beach in Massachusetts, not far from the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. She is a clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of childhood and adolescent trauma. Exposed is her first novel. You can visit her on the Web at KimberlyMarcus.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Exposed 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...This is one of those stories that will leave you thinking about right and wrong. Liz finds herself in an agonizing situation when her best friend accuses her brother of a horrible crime. As she tells the story, she experiences feelings like guilt, shame, fear, anger, and frustration. As the reader, you really experience each of these feeling with her. The story is told in verse, which makes the book interesting in several ways. First, it is a very quick read. Once you start, it's hard to stop reading. Secondly, the pages are short and to the point. You don't get a lot of filler or side stories. This really drove the emotions home. I noticed quite a bit of character development, but not in the traditional sense. Liz's passion is photography. It is through her pictures, or at times the lack of content in her pictures, that I really noticed the changes in her character. Exposed is an emotional story. It deals with tough issues and leaves the reader feeling raw and emotional. Exposed is also a powerful story, one that I would recommend.
OtotheD More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely captivating. I was a little hesitant when I picked this one up. The premise intrigued me, but I wasn't sure an entire book with this subject matter, written in verse would hold my attention, but it did. The book flows effortlessly, is wrought with emotion and every character is well-drawn. This book is very unique and perfect in every way. I cannot recommend it enough.
Eager_reader27 More than 1 year ago
A powerful, emotional, heartfelt book. Marcus cuts to the core of the heart with realism. Teens will eat this one up.
miztrebor More than 1 year ago
I’m always looking out for more novels in verse to read. Ever since I read my first, I can’t get enough. I found Exposed through a random Goodreads search, and I’m glad I came across it. I’ll be looking forward to reading more from the author in the future. I thought the way the author chose to incorporated a X (real word omitted to avoid a spoiler) into the book, but not give X the main focus to be interesting. What could be the main plot line of another book was a “minor” plot point in Exposed. It helped to drive characters, family and friends, apart, but also allowed Liz, the main character and narrator, to show a view on X that isn’t often seen in literature. The view of someone caught in the middle, but not a main player. Aside from the main conflict, I also enjoyed the author’s ability to use the verse novel form. It’s one thing to write a novel in verse, but to use a form that’s more limited with words, that makes the words used have more emphasis, there were many lines in the book that made it feel like a book of poetry as opposed to a novel. There were many moments of pure poetry to convey Liz’s emotions, her view of a situation, and (a favorite part of her character for me) what she sees through the lens of her camera. This was a great young adult novel told in verse. It was also a great look into another view on an important issue we may all encounter at some point in life. Despite a few vague areas for me, I felt this was a great debut and as I said earlier, I’m looking forward to more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book TOO SHORT.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovergrrl More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was an easy read, very quick. The plot makes you think, "What would I do in this situation? How would I react? Whose side would I take?" Liz finds out her brother has raped her bestfriend. Brother says he did not rape her, but it was consensual sex and he would never hurt the best friend. Of course, the bestfriend's side of the story is completely different. I would definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written without a single unnecessary word, this free verse book will captivate readers of all ages. With her background as a school crisis counselor, Marcus knows her characters and the topics from many angles. My only criticism is the new generic cover on the paperback version; the original hardcover picture helped create the mood before one even opened the book.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Exposed is a quick reading, taking me just over an hour to finish, but it's also hard-hitting and emotional. Kimberly Marcus' use of verse wondrously illustrates how quickly 16 year old Liz's life falls apart. How her best friend, her brother, and her photography come crashing down around her. The thing I love about verse novels is that they're a fast read, but on top of that, they tend to be so well-written that the characters come to life vividly and with startling clarity. Exposed has that. Liz is a complete person in the novel, with a best friend, a family, and a future. She seems to have everything going for her, until she doesn't. I don't want to say exactly what happens, but it's something that tears her in two. The reader will feel how split Liz is about the situation, not knowing who to support and defend and who she should be angry with. The writing not only tells a good story, but it evokes a great deal of emotion. Liz's disintegrating world will pull the reader along, not sure who to believe or what to feel. Liz's photography within the story strengthens her character even as she's losing it. I love how Liz sees the world through a lens at the beginning, but as the story moves on, her lens becomes clouded, until she can't see anything anymore. The photography aspects allow for some great lines, as well as some great metaphorical musings. The other characters involved may not be completely fleshed out, but they each add to the story. I couldn't help but find myself angry at Kate, at Liz's brother Mike, at her parents, and her boyfriend, but then I was angry for them to; angry that they had to go through this, that they each have to suffer. Much like Liz, I was constantly torn between two states, not sure which side I was going to land on, or if I could straddle that line forever. Exposed is a deftly-written, emotional, and somehow hopeful verse novel about losing everything, but still making it. It tackles a hard subject realistically and from an almost outsider's perspective. Liz is outsider in the situation, but beyond close at the same time. The writing is phenomenal and had me near tears at times because this could happen, this does happen, and this is how most people probably handle it. If you're a fan of verse novels or contemporary young adult fiction, then this one is for you.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Gold Star Award Winner! Liz and Katie have been best friends for as long as they both can remember. But that all changes when Katie begins acting strangely. She ignores Liz in the halls, loses interest in her hobbies, and isolates herself from everyone. A confrontation reveals the unimaginable. Katie had been raped, and the rapist was a member of Liz's own family. Liz suddenly finds her life spinning out of control as she struggles to come to terms with Katie's shocking allegations. Will she be able to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, or will her friendship with Katie never recover? Emotional and raw, Kimberly Marcus writes in a brutally honest free verse similar to that of Ellen Hopkins. She reaches to find the true heart and soul of a teenager and is extremely successful. The pain the characters are experiencing is evident in every line, creating a breathtaking piece of literature. EXPOSED is easily one of the best books I have read all year. I couldn't put it down - and neither will you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think expsed is the perfect book for anyone who is going through what Liz has gone through...definitely recommend reading!