In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.
Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.
Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on.
I got this ARC at Book Con 2019.
I am a bit torn about my feelings for this book. I really liked the message it sent to teens and young adults to educate yourself and take responsibility when it comes to sex and HIV. Simone takes her condition seriously and asks her doctors questions. And that is a really good example to set.
The novel did have some flaws that I will address with spoiler tags.
Well this one is not much of a spoiler but something that Camryn Garrett can learn not to do. The teens roll their eyes way too much. It felt like it happened on every page and it would irate me to no end. There are many different ways to express a teenager being annoyed. The side eye, the stink eye, the squint eye; as well as verbal sounds: “Ugh,” “Ew,” and “Pfft,” just to name a few.
Simone’s dads, Dr. Garcia and Mr. Hampton, were a little too perfect. Like TGIF sitcom perfect. Sometimes it was a really sweet and sometimes it was a bit annoying. But what really got to me was when her dad, Dr. Garcia, kept telling her abstinence was the only answer. Here Simone is taking responsibility and asking her doctors questions but all her dad can say is abstinence is the only way. I get that he is worried and over protective but it is really naive to think she will be a virgin forever. Especially these days when there are options to have safe sex and medications to keep a partner from contracting HIV.
I think his stance on abstinence is not just being over protective but because he is Catholic. He also would tell Simone not to use the Lord’s name in vain and wanted her to go to a Catholic school. He was a pretty conservative character, which I didn’t mind because it actually gave him some depth and put him outside the stereotypical gay dad box.
I have to say though that the opening scene when Dr. Garcia was in the room during Simone’s OB/GYN visit was weird. I know he’s an OB/GYN too, but there is no way he’d be allowed in the room during her exam. Right? Am I incorrect about this not being allowed? It’s your doctor and the nurse. And why did Simone have to take her underwear off if her doctor said she would only be getting a breast exam that day anyway? ARC inconstancies?
Speaking of ARC inconstancies, one character switched between called her partner her husband and boyfriend. So which is it?
Also, Simone was surprised that there are flavored condoms, yet her doctor told her about dental dams. So I am going to just chalk that up to a mistake in the ARC.
So I liked Simone’s friends Lydia and Claudia. They were a supportive group and I was glad they weren’t jerks when she opened up to them about having HIV and about the threatening notes. But I do have some issues with their significant others. First: We never meet them and it is weird. Why is it that Ian (Lydia’s boyfriend) and Emma (Claudia’s girlfriend) never hang out with them? Do they live in other towns? Go to other schools? Are they imaginary? It was weird that they were so far removed from the Lydia-Claudia-Simone circle.
Second: Maybe this is because we never meet Emma, and we only get Simone’s POV, but I am really disturbed by her. Claudia expresses that she is asexual and does not like having sex with Emma. But because Claudia loves Emma she does it anyway to make her happy. That’s abusive and disturbing. I was wondering if it would ever be addressed and finally it was on page 143 when Claudia stands up for herself and her feelings.
I totally predicted who was blackmailing Simone with the notes and threats. I thought it was obvious.
This was brought up a couple of times (page 52 and 261), but are there really HIV patients who just stop taking their meds? That sounds crazy. That makes me really sad if it is true.
What also makes me sad is the way people reacted to Simone having HIV. Are there people really like that, are they still so uneducated about HIV? Am I the only one that went to a good school and learned about it? I thought we were past the days of people being ignorant about HIV. (BTW, I loved that Ryan White got a mentioned on page 245. I remember watching his story when I was in elementary school in the late 80s/early 90s. Judith Light played his mom and I bawled my eyes out.)
My favorite quote was on page 247: I hope this is just something that happens in high school, in buildings full of kids who haven’t experienced much outside themselves. I hope it gets better.
I was really choked up by the end of the story. I did enjoy the novel as whole, even with some of the little issues, and I do think it is an important story to tell.
3 out of 5 Musicals.