'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday, 3 February 2020

Review: Full Disclosure

One word to describe this book: Wow! 

Particularly as the author was aged seventeen when she first wrote this book. Garrett writes with a compelling and honest YA voice for teen readers. Did I mention the author was seventeen? As I said: wow!

Simone Garcia-Hampton is a feisty, independent seventeen-year-old girl. She lives with her two dads, who adopted her as an Aids orphan. 

Although she is HIV positive, she lives a full and healthy life, hangs with her two sexually diverse best friends, is queer herself and loves musical theatre. 

She is the student director of the school’s musical. None of these things define her, and nor should they. She knows the best way to protect people she loves is to remain celibate – but she can’t help but crush on the gorgeous, funny and intelligent Miles Austin.

Enter a blackmailer. Simone has chosen to not disclose her HIV status to her friends or to her crush, but somebody knows her secret. 

And this anonymous person is threatening her through a series of anonymous letters – to either stop seeing Miles or to have her HIV status revealed to all. 

At her previous school, the revelation of being HIV spread so quickly and created such a whirlwind of fear, that she ended up withdrawing from the school due to the backlash from uninformed parents who feared for the health of their children by being exposed to her. Simone has too much to lose at this school. But the blackmailer seems to know a great deal about her, and she needs to identify who this person is and how he or she is able to stalk her so effectively.

I loved that this book is a celebration of diversity and inclusion in all of its forms. As an African-American adoptee of a gay couple who is HIV positive and sexually fluid herself, Simone knows a bit about not being a privileged member of society. The story is about the courage to own all aspects of yourself, even the parts that expose you to fear and prejudice. 

Garrett is unflinchingly frank around matters such as masturbation and sexual health, and weaves these into a novel that also tackles more familiar YA life issues such as how to manage friendships and school commitments when you’re in the throes of a new relationship.

Overall, Garrett maintained the pace and intrigue throughout, and the climax did not disappoint. And I learnt what ‘ace’ meant in a LGBTIQ context. Bonus!

Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Camryn Garrett 
Publisher: Puffin, $16.99
Publication Date: 5 November 2019 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241367063
For ages: 15 + 
Type: Young Adult Fiction 

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