Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes is the second installment in the Twisted Lit series. It is also an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The prologue offers a unique introduction into the story, while the protagonist is a smart twist to Shakespeare’s most tragic play. Set in Alaska, Askew and Helmes pull the reader into a world as new and unique as their story line.
Skye Kingston, the protagonist, is a wallflower. She would rather take pictures than participate with her classmates. But as the school year progresses, Skye encounters situations that influence her growth as a character. What makes this adaptation so refreshing is that Skye is given a greater role in the novel than Shakespeare’s protagonists.
Skye is also a very special character because she gives the reader a voice in Macbeth. She witnesses the change the characters representing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Craig and Beth, go through. Skye is aware of their slow descent into madness, and as a result, she becomes the character that has the power to say something. The reader soon realizes that she is the hero that Macbeth never met.
The romantic side of Exposure is very interesting. The reader witnesses the poisonous relationship between Craig and Beth, but Askew and Helmes juxtapose this with a promising connection between Craig and Skye. This new perspective is intriguing because it hints that Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a limited story.
Askew and Helmes captivate their modern readers by offering more depth to the story of Macbeth. Only these co-authors can take a morbid and seemingly hopeless play, and make it into a story full of moral lessons about growing up and accepting consequences.
Exposure’s plot also raises questions about its origins, such as: what was Macbeth like before meeting his wife? What was his life like beyond his relationship with his wife? Was there ever an opportunity for Macbeth to redeem himself?
Askew and Helmes’ adaptation adds a certain zest to the original play. Through well-paced writing, complicated romance, and a relatable protagonist, the reader has the ability to view a literary classic in a new and enjoyable way.
I would recommend Exposure to readers that are interested in modern adaptations of Shakespearean plays in the young adult age group.
The title Exposure hints at the dangers within the novel, and Skye’s love of photography. Most importantly, however, it represents the act of exposing oneself when s/he appears lost, or hidden.