UNTIL WHATEVER by Martha Humphreys


Age Range: 14 & up
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 Sixteen-year-old Karen finds out that Connie, a former friend, has been diagnosed as having AIDS. With Karen on the college track and Connie barely hoping to graduate, the two have gone separate ways. Now Connie appears in Karen's biology class, assigned as her lab partner. As pressures mount to exclude Connie from school, Karen throws in her lot with her, first out of a sense of loyalty (Connie once dragged a despondent Karen out of the river), then out of rekindled affection. A popular cheerleader and member of the prestigious Homecoming Court, Karen loses friends and social standing but acquires new friends that the ``popular'' Karen would never have made, including the egghead editor of the school paper and nerdy Charles Bronson, who also takes an interest in Connie. Karen's first-person narration is both the novel's strength and its weakness: the record of her painful ostracism serves as a powerful indictment of the hysteria surrounding AIDS, but her arguments with her mother about social standing divert the reader's attention. Still, the politics and polemics of the epidemic are wisely avoided and some adolescent stereotypes are successfully subverted: popular Karen has brains and sensitivity; ``white trash'' Connie has ambitions, though they will never be realized. A thought-provoking, humanizing look at this terrible illness. (Fiction. 14+)*justify no*

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-395-58022-6
Page count: 150pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991