Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (290 pages)
Simone is Starting Over in Full Disclosure
This fall, Simone is starting over at a new school in Full Disclosure. She’s not only making some real friends and earning the student director position for the upcoming musical, but she’s also falling hard for a boy named Miles. While everything seems great on the surface, Simone is struggling with a decision: how and when does she tell Miles that she’s HIV-positive?
Simone was born HIV-positive, having inherited the virus from her birth mother. With the support of her dads, Simone has been able to keep her viral load under control. After all, if her viral load is undetectable, then it’s also untransmittable.
But she’s very careful about who she shares this information with. The last time her secret got out, without her permission, the fallout was so severe that she switched schools. But as Simone’s feelings for Miles grow, she knows she needs to tell him before they take their relationship to the next level.
A Poignant Look at Intersectionality and Stigma
Simone is a really riveting protagonist. Not only is she HIV-positive, but she’s also Black and has two dads. She unfortunately has to deal with the kinds of microaggressions that are all too common for Black Americans as well as the occasional comment about her dads.
Her most pressing concern, though, is keeping her HIV status secret. She’s not trying to manipulate or mislead anyone, but most kids her age just don’t understand her diagnosis. The stigma associated with HIV, while not as bad as it was in the 1980s, is still severe enough to encourage Simone to be careful about who she tells.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
This novel does an impressive job of balancing several serious themes. The exposition regarding Simone’s HIV status is well done; it’s informative without feeling obvious. Simone’s relationship with her dads feels genuine.
What’s really impressive to me is the way that Garrett handles Simone’s sexuality. Simone has a lot of questions for her doctor not only about sex in general but specifically about sex as an HIV-positive person. Her dads, while definitely uncomfortable, are supportive of her decisions all the way through.
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table