Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Publisher: Merit Press
Age: Young Adult
Series: Twisted Lit #2
Interest: Macbeth/ Shakespeare/ Review Request/ Alaska
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley

Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs? (Summary from

I was given a review e-book copy of Exposure in exchange for an honest review.

Exposure was an interesting tweak to the original tale of Macbeth. Having read the play in high school, I can say I liked both versions for different reasons. Macbeth is Macbeth, you know? It's epic all on its own. I adore the play. Exposure though, filtered as much of the bloody conflict as possible through a secluded Alaskan high school lens.

Skye was definitely a sweet teenage wallflower. I related to her constant seclusion in school and her anxiety around new people. Still, as all good characters do, Skye had a huge flaw. From the book, I gathered it was supposed to be her crippling shyness. Skye annoyed me with her pretty much undying devotion to Craig. I mean, she knows the guy is an unintentional murderer and she still fawns over him constantly. Yet Craig's she-devil girlfriend gets all the blame according to Skye. Yes, Beth caused the whole catastrophe, but Romeo had a hand in it too. I would have liked to see Skye recognize more of Craig's responsibility in the crime and why he needed to pay for it.

However, as a sidenote, I'd also like the characters to stop blaming themselves for everything. It's all "If I hadn't done A, B and C wouldn't happen. They traced everyone's actions back to the beginning looking for a cause. I just wanted them to accept that sh*t happens and you need to make choices to minimize the damage afterwards.

The three "witches" AKA, Skye's only friends, intrigued me. Askew and Helmes wove in Alaskan heritage very well into the girl's predictions and lives. The scene where Mac is warned about his future by the girls was done fantastically with the addition of the native masks as art projects. Skye's family drama also drew me in. I ended up wanting to know more about their relationship "before" and "after." I enjoyed nearly all of the side characters, they had points for the most part. Duff strangely ended up being one of my favorite characters even though he was a little less than nice at certain points. A few extraneous characters did appear. Quite a few of them could have been cut, yet they were likable enough. I didn't mind their appearance.

Exposure did move a little slowly around the middle. I felt like it was to help increase the tension of the whole murder situation. Yet, too many other plots were added in to make up for the lag. Others may feel differently on that though. In contrast, the end went a little quickly, told in rushed scenes. I was interested in how Askew and Helmes told the story from the end. It starts off with Skye at college and she ends up telling the story of what happened her senior year.

I'm not sure how to categorize the situations. They could be classified as "suspense" or "thriller" type scenes. There wasn't really a mystery of what happened in Exposure. It felt more like everyone's guilty, who'll crack first? To be fair, that is a large part of Macbeth: how grief can hollow a person, make them lose sanity or make them go to outrageous lengths. Still, I felt the dangerous scenes for Skye were solid. I could practically feel her tension and terror.

Overall, Exposure is a great twist on Macbeth and a good story. Those struggling through high school English or Literature classes might want to read this for a fresher perspective on the play.  I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to younger teens who haven't studied Shakespeare extensively yet to give them a softer introduction to the bard.

Teaser Lines: "You didn't have to be in love to understand the magnitude of love when you looked at it."


Happy Reading,

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