Romy wakes up on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. She vaguely remembers the night. The only evidence something bad has happened is written on her stomach in bright red lipstick…
She always thought Kellen was the most beautiful boy in town, and when her best friend Penny gets them together at a party one night, Romy is more than thrilled. But the day after the party, Romy walks through the halls of school hearing the whispers and innuendos. Kellen is no longer beautiful…she sees him for the monster he truly is. But no one will believe her, especially because Kellen is the sheriff’s son - untouchable, likable, respected.
Living in a small town, everyone knows about Romy’s father. He’s no longer around and she lives with her mom and her boyfriend (even more rumors there). It’s different…there is no more screaming or her having to rescue her father again. She and her mom make ends meet.
School is tougher because there are sharks in the water.
There’s Tina, who has thinks she knows the truth and makes Romy’s life a living nightmare by constantly belittling and shaming her in public.
There’s Alec and Brock, who bump Romy in the halls, making snide remarks and sharing what happened with everyone they know.
There’s Penny, who was her best friend and now doesn’t even meet her eyes in the hallways.
And then there’s Leon….
Romy and Leon work together at the diner, and slowly, he lets Romy know how much he likes her. He lives in the next town over, and has no idea what Romy is going through internally and externally. She begins to think there can be life after rape, but she is careful to make sure he is separated from knowing what happened. In time, they become closer and are trust begins to build.
But one night will change that.
Romy is found on that dusty road, trying to piece together what happened. Penny, her former best friend, has disappeared and everyone is desperate to try and find such a beautiful girl. Romy believes it should have been the other way around…it would make life easier for her and she doesn’t deserve to live. Everyone has made it clear.
What she hasn’t told anyone is when Penny showed up at the diner. And she knows the truth about Kellen. She wants Romy to press charges….and now Penny can’t be found…
Powerful. Emotional. This novel is gritty to not only the core of what happened to Romy, but also the emotional whipping she takes herself through everyday because of it. This is a book for a mature reader because it takes the reader not only through the rape, but the ugly aftermath as well. The intensity is purposeful, and Courtney Summers delivers this slowly to a very unexpected ending which is both shocking and redemptive. Highly recommended for high school.
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus