Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare’s Macbeth by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
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? (Goodreads)
Skye is a somewhat shy photog living in Alaska. Her once good friend (and ongoing crush) turned popular guy, Craig McKenzie, is dating the school’s reigning Queen Bee. Things take a tragic turn when Craig’s BFF, Duncan, turns up dead at a party gone wrong (one Skye semi-crashed). The situation is compounded by the fact that Skye overheard Craig and his girlfriend, Beth, talking about incriminating details regarding Duncan’s death. It seems like Craig and Beth had something to do with it and they are slowly coming apart at the seams–not just their relationship, but as people. They’re losing it, Crazytown U.SA.-style. And Skye is struggling with the knowledge she has. Should she confront them? Should she push it all down and forget that anything happened? This is death we’re talking about, possibly murder, and if Craig has any part in it, Skye doesn’t want to get him in trouble, but there are just some secrets that have a life of their own; they refuse to remain hidden.
I like the idea of modern retellings, especially Shakespeare, who wrote beautifully about every facet of human emotion and tragedy. Exposure does a great job at laying out the story of Macbeth. It was eerie and haunting and when I put myself in Skye’s shoes, her situation was a nightmare from which I was dying to wake. But honestly, I struggled with her continued fascination with Craig. Not only because he may or may not have been the reason Duncan is dead, but because he wasn’t a good friend. The moment he had a chance to be popular he left her (he later blames this on her, and while I see his point in some cases, there’s no denying he acted friendlier to Skye in private than when his popular pals were around). Her constant pining for him made me dislike her (excuse me Skye, you think he killed someone. Killed them dead. And you want to go to prom with him?) Still, overall, there was some great creepiness here and excellent foreshadowing. This series is a good gateway, a way to expose people to the depth and tragedy of classic tales.
Crush Intensity: 3/5
I actually liked book one in this series far more, but it isn’t a completely fair comparison. One is light-hearted and humorous and one is dramatic and full of darker themes. I am still looking forward to reading the next book in the Twisted Lit series, which I believe is Romeo & Juliet (le sigh!).