Garrett’s debut novel not only successfully tackles discrimination through the lenses of race, sexuality, and having HIV, but also shows the possibility of living a full life despite it all.
Simone Garcia-Hampton is perfectly ordinary in many ways—she gets embarrassed by her Pops and her Dad, obsesses over her dream of directing musicals on Broadway, tries to figure out if she’s bisexual, crushes on a boy in drama club, and thinks about having sex. But the San Francisco teen, who was adopted by her two gay dads, also has to consider her inherited HIV-positive status along with the threatening notes she starts to receive after she starts dating Miles. She knows what could happen if everyone at her new school found out about her status, but she also doesn’t want to give up what she’s got with Miles. Lydia and Claudia are her two best friends and, along with her fathers, her fiercest supporters. Simone will have to take a chance on trusting those closest to her with her secret before she can truly take back her power. Simone’s story will educate readers about the intricacies of living fully with HIV and controlling your narrative. The primary and most secondary characters are well developed, and the pace is spot-on. Simone, her Pops, and Miles are black; her Dad is Latinx; Lydia is Taiwanese and bisexual; and tan-skinned Claudia is an asexual lesbian.
A story about telling your truth, your way. (Fiction. 14-18)