Book Two of the Twisted Lit series
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Available now from Merit Press (F+W)
Read my review of TEMPESTUOUS and my interview with Kim and Amy
EXPOSURE is a contemporary young adult novel inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth. Craig Mackenzie, our Macbeth, is on the local hockey team along with Duncan, and his girlfriend Bree Matthews is a cheerleader. The narrator, Skye Kingston, has been friends with Craig since he moved to Alaska and had a crush on him for just as long. When Duncan dies of exposure after a party in the woods, Skye remembers a cryptic conversation she overheard between Craig and Bree. Almost instinctively, she protects her friend, but starts to ask questions.
TEMPESTUOUS, the first Twisted Lit novel, had very little in common with The Tempest aside from character names. EXPOSURE hews a bit more closely to Macbeth, but it's often its own thing. Which is fine, because it's a good story. I noticed a few editing errors, unlike TEMPESTUOUS, but I'll chalk that up to reading an ARC and assume it was cleaned up in the final copy.
Skye's motives were hard to understand at times. I can see why she didn't immediately turn Craig in, just on the basis of a half-heard conversation, but I'm not entirely sure why she sticks by him when he treats her terribly in the throes of his guilt. At the same time, it's hard to fault a character for being loyal. Plus, I loved the scene where they finally talked to each other about the things they hadn't discussed with each other before, such as why he dated the ambitious Bree in the first place.
Plus, I have to recommend EXPOSURE for its take on the witches. Cat, Kaya, and Tess are three arty girls who crack jokes and see pretty deeply into their classmates. They're wicked fun. Actually, a lot of the characters who populate the novel are pretty fun, such as the guy who wants to go to prom with Skye and never catches on that she's trying to let him down gently.
I recommend EXPOSURE to Shakespeare fans looking for something lighter than tragedies, as well as contemporary fans looking for a bit of mystery and a hint of romance. I hope Kim Askew and Amy Helmes have more modern takes on Shakespeare on the way, because I found their first two outings very enjoyable.