Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Camryn Garrett
This quiet story of a boy, a girl, and her HIV caught my eye because it offered a positive view of living with the virus. Simone is seventeen. HIV postive from birth, she has learned to take responsibility for her own health, and for the safety of the people around her. She attends her hospital checkups and her HIV support group, and takes her medication every day – all without drama. In every other way, she’s a typical high-school student with a passion for musical theatre.
The story follows Simone as she settles into her new high school, making friends and landing the job of directing the school play. She hasn’t told anyone she’s HIV positive, so when she falls for Miles, a boy in the theatre club, she has a decision to make. She was forced to leave her previous high school when someone made her status public, so this time she’s being careful. No one knows about her HIV, but she’s going to have to tell Miles if she’s serious about their relationship.
Simone is a great protagonist. She’s sensible in all the ways that matter, but she’s also brave, assertive, and happy to use fake IDs with her friends when it’s not going to put anyone in danger. She passionate about musicals, and about making the school production of Rent as good as she possibly can. She’s well-informed about sex, and the risks associated with her HIV, and she knows she wants to have a physical relationship with Miles.
There are some wonderful supporting characters, but my favourites are Simone’s adoptive fathers. They decided to adopt an HIV-positive baby after witnessing the effects of HIV and AIDS on the gay community before the development of long-term treatments. They are always alongside her, through her medication, hospital visits, and high-school experiences, and they have an amazingly supportive relationship with their teenage daughter.
This is a small story, about Simone, Miles, and the choices they make. There’s no full-on drama, and no incident that can’t be overcome by Simone, Miles, and her parents and friends. I was expecting more drama, and more heartache – but I guess that’s the point. Being HIV positive isn’t dramatic, and it shouldn’t be the cause of drama and heartache. The author has included a comprehensive list of organisations and resources at the back of the book for readers wanting to find out more about living with HIV. Simone and Miles are great role models for readers with questions about HIV, sex, relationships, and informed consent. This is a story that uses its everyday setting to reinforce Simone’s matter-of-fact reality, and it doesn’t need drama to make its point.
Have you read Full Disclosure? What did you think of Simone’s story? And what about her family? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
Review cross-posted to GoodReads.
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