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    Original Essays | March 26, 2015

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Exposed Cover




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


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.


Product Details

Social Issues - Sexual Abuse
Marcus, Kimberly
Jensen, Cordelia
Social Issues - Friendship
Family - General
Situations / Sexual Abuse
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Sexual Abuse
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Family - Parents
gay, AIDS, HIV, LGBTQ, family, new york city, death, disease
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 14

Related Subjects

Children's » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Friendship
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Sexual Abuse
Young Adult » General

0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 336 pages Random House Books for Young Readers - English 9780375866937 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl--sharp, focused, and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Suddenly, 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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