Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BEAT GOES ON by Adele Minchin


by Adele Minchin

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86611-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This solid teenager-with-HIV plot has good sense but clichéd writing. Fifteen-year-old Leyla is leading her regular life—boredom, repressed parents, and a wish for a drumming career—when she’s blindsided by the news that her cousin is HIV-positive. Leyla struggles to support Emma emotionally while keeping it secret from her family, who has a strained and cold relationship with Emma’s mother anyway. Leyla’s boyfriend provides romantic thrills. It’s nicely unusual that Leyla makes no grand mistakes in handling the situation: Minchin lets deeper problems (HIV and old family pain) provide the drama. However, trite phrases dull the story, and an authorial tone invades characters’ voices to tell (rather than show) whatever is crucial to the compassionate message. The fact that it’s the single mother’s daughter who has unprotected sex carries a suspicious implication. More purposeful than literary, but accessible and useful for HIV education. (resources) (Fiction. YA)