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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This is a modern telling of Shakespeare's Othello and may inspire some teens to read the original play or at least to learn the story. This book will inspire teens to think about a wider range of issues, from our media-obsessed culture to the cost of racism and the plight of children born into poverty.
The book highlights the costs associated with fame and the ugliness of racism.
Positive Role Models
The characters make many stupid decisions. However, when they do make mistakes, the majority understand the wrongs they have committed, why things happened, and that there are consequences for their mistakes. Also, although the characters may do bad things, they're not bad people. Often they are victims of their circumstances and seek to rectify the situation.
Violence & Scariness
Several murders and the bodies of many dead girls found in trash bags. One of the murders is of a character in the novel. The victims were sexually assaulted, and girls are constantly worried about being raped. A man assaults a teen boy, kicking him out of the way. Another adult male gets into a fight with another adult, and groups of teens bully others. There is also an attempted kidnapping that results in people being shot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man and a woman have sex several times; the woman becomes pregnant. A teen boy becomes aware of girls. Another girl discusses becoming a woman, including the dangers of flaunting it and the issues with wearing a bra.
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There is quite a bit of swearing, including "s--t," "ass," and "son of a bitch." Also, one of the book's themes is the ugliness of racism, so there is racially tinged and offensive language. The "N" word is used several times, and characters compare black people with apes, animals, hypersexualized conquerors, brutes, and inferior beings.
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Products & Purchases
Some products are mentioned. Most are fictional, but a few, such as Hummer and Porsche, are mentioned by name to allude to the wealth of a person.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink, smoke cigarettes, and smoke marijuana on several occasions. Adults are described as having drinking problems, while others drink often and sometimes overindulge.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this novel is a better fit for older teens. Characters swear, use alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, have sex, and use racially offensive language. There is also an ongoing set of murders of young girls and the threat of rape to young girls. This is a modern telling of Shakespeare's Othello and may inspire some teens to read the original play or to at least learn the story. This book will inspire teens to think about a wider range of issues, from our media-obsessed culture to the cost of racism and the plight of children born into poverty.
Is It Any Good?
Mal Peete has created a wonderful novel in this reincarnation of Shakespeare's Othello in EXPOSURE. It's exciting and modern with lessons beyond Shakespeare's original tragedy. Peete touches on poverty, political corruption, the extreme world of celebrity media, and racial tensions that bubble along the undercurrents of modern society. The author's characters are familiar, warm, and sympathetic. Teens will fall in love with some, hope for others, and rage against several. The conflicting settings -- the hyper world of celebrity sport and pop stars and the desperate poverty of Brazilian slums -- creates a believable, rich, layered environment that only enhances the story. The novel has a pressing, emotional quality to it, making the audience feel like they're always on the edge of a character's breakdown or breakthrough, which makes for an intense, thrilling read.
There are a few drawbacks. The novel's length combined with the sometimes slow pace may discourage teens. Also, those unfamiliar with the story may not understand the subplots, and those who have read Othello may be underwhelmed by a conclusion that doesn't take the tragedy as far as Shakespeare's original.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.