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FADE TO BLACK by Alex Flinn


by Alex Flinn

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-056839-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

Before 17-year-old Alex transfers to a small Florida high school, its administrators announce at an assembly that he’s HIV-positive. Alex persuades his protective parents not to sue for this illegal action even though it leads to harassment, particularly from a fellow student named Clinton. When Alex is attacked in his car one morning, Clinton is the obvious suspect. Alex, Clinton and Daria, a student with Down Syndrome who sees Clinton near the scene of the crime, each narrate chapters describing the aftermath when Alex is hospitalized, Clinton is shunned by classmates and Daria vacillates in her testimony. Alex, who knows Clinton isn’t guilty, struggles with his inclination to let his harasser take the blame, while Clinton starts looking beyond his self-absorbed, difficult life to feel some sympathy for Alex. Only near the end does the reader learn how Alex contracted the virus, a story that, perhaps inevitably, reads like a warning. Flinn draws perceptive pictures of family relationships and of the emotions of a teenager scared about his future but determined to make the most of the present in this readable exploration of ethical issues. (Fiction. YA)