Review: Full Disclosure

 

Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Camryn Garrett
Genres: Contemporary, LGTBQIA, Romance
Pages: 288
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Review Copy: eARC from publisher
Availability: Available now

Summary: 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…

Review: I have been looking forward to Camryn Garrett’s debut novel for months now, and I am happy to report that it was worth the wait. Full Disclosure is a thoughtful exploration of sex, love, and identity, and Garrett handles the book’s topics with honesty and sensitivity.

One of the things I most appreciated about the novel was its frankness about how some teenagers do, in fact, want to have sex or are already having sex. (And some teenagers don’t—there’s an asexual character!) Simone was able to discuss sex with her doctors, including what she needs to take in consideration because of her HIV-positive status, but she also talked about masturbation, toys, birth control, and more with her friends, too. It’s always nice to see a contemporary YA book that openly deals with these topics, especially when it also touches on bisexuality and HIV.

There is a lot going on in Full Disclosure, so the pace never lags, and there is a large cast of secondary characters. Simone’s adoptive fathers were great, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes we got of Simone’s extended family and how she related (good and not-so-great) to them. Their inclusion really helped flesh the novel out as we got glimpses into the complexity and depths of their relationships to each other and Simone. Claudia, Lydia, and Miles were also solid supporting characters for Simone’s story, even when things got uncomfortable between them.

Another thing I appreciated was how being closeted was handled sympathetically. Simone keeps quiet about her bisexuality and HIV status for a lot of the book due to how things went down at her last school. Other characters are out to friends but not professionally or have strained relationships with family because of their identity/orientation. There are so many reasons people are in/out of the closet to different groups and at different times, and Full Disclosure addresses how difficult that can be and why it can also be necessary in order to protect yourself.

But overall, the best part of this book is Simone. I loved reading her story and following along as she decided what she wanted for her life and figured out how she could try to make her desires and ambitions come true.

Recommendation: Get it soon. Full Disclosure is an entertaining coming-of-age novel that tackles sexuality, HIV, and falling in love head on. I’m looking forward to what Camryn Garrett has in store for us in the future.

Extras

What First-Time Author Camryn Garrett’s Debut Novel Teaches Teens About Living With HIV at Shondaland

Camryn Garrett’s Full Disclosure humanizes an unlikely protagonist: a black girl living with HIV at Entertainment Weekly

Cassie Interviews Camryn Garrett, author of FULL DISCLOSURE at Brazos Bookstore

 

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