I’m glad I read this. It’s been sitting on my ARC shelf for a little while (read: slipped down the list when I requested too many books at once) and I just hadn’t got round to it. It’s very clear, incredibly diverse and parts are completely heart-wrenching. It didn’t quite hit all the points for me personally but there was lots of the kind of raw emotion that makes you really feel for the characters.
Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Camryn Garrett
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: 29th October 2019
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Simone has HIV. That’s not the same as having AIDS. She’s not sick, she takes medication, she needs to keep her viral load down so that the virus is undetectable. She also has a crush on boy and is beginning to wonder … when, if and can she ever have sex?
Simone has also recently changed schools. Things didn’t work out so well in her last place. Not only was she one of the few black girls, but once other people found out that she was HIV positive they started calling a slut, parents called for her to be expelled and she no longer felt comfortable. She wants to tell people her biggest secret, but is terrified they will react in the same way.
Simone is a great character – she’s dealt with massive hardships and problems. There are times when she’s been really unwell but, with the help of her two Dads, has powered through adversity. That explains why it can be hard for her to trust, or she doesn’t always make the best decisions but sometimes that leads to her being such an irrational teenager that it makes it a little hard to love her.
There are two main parts to the plot of this book – her growing relationship with Miles and the aggressive and frightening notes that she receives, threatening to out her as HIV positive. The second part in some ways should take priority, but it doesn’t always – the fear and anxiety around it is often forgotten when I really felt that it should be more pressing.
I did love, however, the responsible and informative attitude that this whole story takes towards being HIV positive. I really hope I wouldn’t be nasty or judgemental about someone who was positive, but I did find this really informative. I hope its set aside any unconscious, or ignorant, biases I may have unknowingly held.
That being said, it’s part of what made the story feel somewhat unrealistic – there was a lot of support and positivity, not just around HIV (mainly from Simone’s family and friends), but also towards feminism, racism and incredibly sex and sexuality positive. It’s great to read that but cynical Hannah feels it can be too good to be true.
For so many audiences, this can be a really powerful and important story. A huge part of it focused on respect – for yourself, for others’ experiences and for your own experiences.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.