In the tiny town of
Willowspring, just about nothing ever happens except for layoffs, hockey
games, and your average melodramatic teenage angst.
But that was before.
Ashley, and Macy are just trying to make it through the school year
without one more humiliation when they team up for a simple photography
assignment: create a story through a series of photographs. Can't be too
much trouble, right?
The shutterbugs happen upon
Willowspring High School's darkest secret. When everything around them
starts to crumble after trying to do the right thing, their only hope is
to stick together.
Going into Overexposed, I did not know entirely what to expect. I usually worry about realistic fiction novels, because they can tend to be overly cliche, or just rehash the same problems as the countless amount of other teen dramas before it.
With Overexposed, I was pleasantly surprised. Especially for realistic fiction, the novel is exciting, interesting, and had me finish the entire read in one sitting, because I just could not stop until I got to the ending.
The characters are all well-developed, and it is refreshing to have a protagonist with a passion in photography. That is not something that is really emphasized, (you would suspect more of a hidden archery talent or a secret love for poetry) and it is very cool how the story revolves around this. I liked how Vi is a realistic character. She is torn on doing the right thing, but she did like gossip and the chance to capture news on her camera, which is something that most of us can connect to. If she had a camera and did not take pictures of something that is shocking or newsworthy, her character probably would have been annoying. Her passion for her craft - even if it isn't convenient for others - makes it easier to connect to her as a character.
Don't get me wrong, I can be a huge romantic, but another refreshing thing about Overexposed is that it does not end up becoming a romance, like...well, pretty much every young adult novel out there. Focusing on the plot and the friendship really adds to the reading experience, and it is great that James realizes that not every good YA story needs a ridiculously perfect male love interest. The relationships between friends, family and peers that were displayed in the story were done so well, that it is more than enough.
The ending was a bit predictable, but the plot still did have twists and I don't recall reading any slow or unnecessary portions. Every scene carried the story with excellent transitions. The themes displayed in the novel, dealing with honesty, integrity, morality, and friendship were clearly and beautifully displayed.
Overexposed is a thoroughly enjoyable read. A definite page-turner, I was satisfied completely. Through a witty voice, an interesting and suspenseful story is spun out. A clear reminder that bad things can happen anywhere, I would definitely recommend reading Overexposed. It reminded me that realistic fiction can be pretty brilliant.