Review Blog

Nov 14 2019

Full disclosure by Camryn Garrett

cover image

Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241367063.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: HIV, Sexuality, Gender, LGBQT+, Prejudice. Simone is the adopted daughter of a gay couple she calls Dad and Pops. The two men chose her, an HIV positive baby, as an act of caring after seeing friends die from AIDS. Simone's condition is managed with regular drug treatment, her viral load is almost undetectable which means she is not a risk to anyone. But whilst she is informed and responsible, she knows that the ignorance of people around her can mean humiliation and rejection if anyone finds out - that was the horrible experience at her last school. She is now starting at a new school, with new friends, and has been selected as director of the school play, but just when everything seems to be going well, anonymous messages threaten her happiness once again.
Camryn Garrett wrote this book when she was only seventeen years old, and it is a refreshingly candid account of teenage worries and fears: anxiety about the first date, first sex, gender confusion, sexual attraction, masturbation and even a first visit to a sex shop! The voice is open and honest, and the values are positive throughout. Her fathers are both caring involved parents, her friends are loyal and supportive, she has an encouraging teacher, and even the blackmailer is revealed to be a troubled person in need of help rather than punishment. The book advocates for speaking up, sharing worries and getting help. And ultimately Simone learns to overcome her fears and to trust in the people who care for her.
Dealing openly with topics people generally don't like to talk about, this story will reflect many teenage concerns, and also is very enlightening and informative on the subject of human immunodeficiency virus - readers will come away having enjoyed a heartwarming story and be a little more knowledgeable as well.
Helen Eddy

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