Full Disclosure

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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TW: biphobia, acephobia, homophobia, racism

This book gave me lots of mixed feelings. In the end, I ended up really liking it but there was so much that was kinda off. The main character, Simone, was a little annoying at times, but honestly I'm sure I was as a teenager as well. She made a lot of assumptions about other people, which I can probably credit to her being a teenager but still. There was some small parts about asexuality that rubbed me the wrong way. It was just the wording but it still put me off a bit. It was so small that I'm not sure if I'm overreacting. I will say though, these characters have pretty good character growth. People learn from their mistakes and apologize, I really enjoyed that.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.    Thank you NetGalley.

I adore the cover of this book.   It's beautiful. 
The book has a special storyline which isn't frequently covered in books..especially not young adult books. 
It's so important that other people with HIV see themselves in stories, tv shows, and more..  
Camryn Garrett writes beautifully.   
this book easily kept my interest, and I'd definitely read more by this author.
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I found a lot of underlying issues with this book and some more obvious ones. The major one being how consistently the MC talked about sex. I don’t know if HIV+ people think about sex to the extent of Simone but I found so many things to be wrong with the amount of it. I also couldn’t relate to the main character as I have with other characters. I think she should’ve been braver but I know some people just can’t speak up for themselves easily and that’s okay. This book can definitely relate more to introverts and anyone who has a life changing or life threatening disease. I think this novel just missed impact with me and I was so excited for this. It was very disappointing. It did have a great variety of representation but I heard from a booktuber that diversity does not automatically make a novel great.
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Simone was born with HIV. As such, she has learned how to take her meds and to be healthy as possible. She knows how to responsible about her chronic illness, especially in regards to sex (even though she wishes she could ask her gynecologist more “embarrassing” questions without her dads there). But the world, even 30+ years since the AIDS epidemic, still Others Simone for being HIV positive. It’s why she’s starting a new school: her status got out, and she was bullied pretty hard. But in her new school, where no one knows her secret, things are looking up. She’s crushing on a cute guy, she has two really good friends, and she is directing the school musical. As her relationship with Miles gets more intense, she not only had to struggle with when/how to tell Miles she’s HIV positive, but someone has also been leaving anonymous notes in her locker: “Stop hanging out with Miles, or I’m going to tell your secret.” What will Simone do? 

Full Disclosure is a supremely important story. I learned so much about HIV, and other readers will, too. Additionally, the way sex is openly and authentically discussed is a super fresh breath of air. (In fact, it’s going to be the centerpiece for a display I’m going to make of Netflix’s Sex Education read-alikes.) Brava!  

Includes an author’s note where Garrett shares various bibliographic information, resources, real people, blogs, YouTube videos, and social media accounts that helped her write Simone’s story. 

LGBTQIA+/diverse read: 
- Simone is bi. 
- One of Simone’s friends is asexual and is dating a girl. 
- Simone is raises by two gay men who are married. 
- Simone is African-American. 
- One is Simone’s dads is Latinx and the other is African-American. 
- Simone is adopted. Her bio mom was HIV positive. 
- Author Camryn Garrett African-American, but is not HIV positive.
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This novel was brilliantly written by the author. Full Disclosure is an interesting foray about a young black teen dealing with the stigma of being HIV Positive. Full Disclosure proves that an individual can not only live a prosperous healthy life with HIV but a sustainable and strong one.
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Great. 10/10. Learned a lot of HIV and the culture around it that I didn't know before. I honestly think that everyone should read this at one point or another.
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Quick Take: A social issue contemporary featuring an HIV positive female protagonist who worries not only about who she’s attracted to, but her diagnosis being made known by people who aren’t thrilled that she is falling hard and fast for Miles, one of the stagehands for the student production of Rent that she is helping to direct.
*I was given a free copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own and do not reflect the beliefs of the author or publisher. 

What I Loved: I think this is a really important book and speaks to the experience of an HIV positive teen. Simone’s voice is fierce but her character flawed enough to be both relate able and believable. Adopted by a male gay couple, Simone’s circle of support is full of heart and there were quite a few laugh out loud moments for me.

Simone’s relationship with Miles is cute, in that teen love kind of way, and it was interesting to watch their relationship develop. Simone’s love of directing also played a major role in the book and I enjoyed the conversations about musicals- as a musical lover myself. Ultimately, I think this is a very important book for the YA community and I’m glad its out in the world

What I Didn’t Love: Despite all the praise above I did feel, at times, that the characters were a bit one-dimensional and stereotypical. Not always, but here and there the dialogue just felt superficial and fabricated, like the characters were caricatures of the individuals they represented. However, don’t let my critique deter you from picking up the book!
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I don’t even know where to begin. Full Disclsoure has been on my TBR forever it feels like. When I finally picked it up, it didn’t disappoint me at ALL. I loved the entire thing even if that sounds unbelievable. It was just so good. Right from the start, we’re diving into just part of the (much needed) sexual discourse that this book takes on (fantastically, I might add). Simone is HIV-Positive and she’s accompanied by one of her dads to her gyno appointment. It’s there that we discover Simone’s been thinking a lot about sex and how it works for someone who has HIV.

Simone has had HIV for years and she’s okay. She takes medication, she visits the doctor, everything generally goes well. Now Simone is older though and there’s desires there. First of all, with HIV there is a time where if the viral load is undetectable, there’s only a small chance of transmitting it. She knows this. She’s done research.  This doesn’t make it any easier for Simone to ‘come out’ with saying she has HIV to someone she likes.

HIV is still such a taboo topic in 2020 and it’s just so sad. There are so many stereotypes about people who have it, super outdated beliefs, etc. It was seriously astonishing to see what some people thought of HIV in Full Disclosure. It was awful to read but it’s so real. People are ignorant and I’m so glad Full Disclosure is here to play a part in dismantling that.

Rent is one of my favorite musicals, so I was absolutely thrilled at how Simone takes charge in directing it! She’s still kind of new to the school so she has to prove herself and some people don’t make it easy on her. The Rent aspect was amazing and I love when characters mirror fiction they’re going over in the book. Thankfully in 2020, things are better as far as life with HIV expectancy and medicine, it doesn’t generally progress to Aids too often anymore. It’s really amazing how a town that’s putting on a student musical version of Rent can be so clueless when it comes to how far we’ve come with HIV and AIDS. Of course, some of the same people against HIV were also against the musical but still.

There was a bit of a blackmail subplot here which I didn’t care for very much but it didn’t take anything away from the book. Only made me think how people are so clueless and ridiculous and so many other things. I can understand completely why Simone didn’t feel comfortable coming out to anyone with the news after the blackmail happens. Even with her two new friends she made since she transferred to the school. I loved them but even they had their issues and uninformed thoughts on HIV. It just shows how important Sex Ed is and even more importantly, how necessary well-informed Sex Ed classes are because there’s a huge difference. We need classes to teach different kinds of sex, different ways to protect yourself and yes, education on HIV and other STDs so people aren’t awful because they don’t know.

There are so many different sexual orientations in Full Disclosure. First of all, Simone is bisexual and she does have feelings about that in the book. Simone’s best friends are a lesbian and a bisexual. Her dads are gay and I absolutely loved them to bits. I loved how much they were fully part of the book. Full Disclosure has some of the best parents ever in YA and I adored Simone’s relationship with them. There’s friendship conflict because of course but there’s also happy endings there too.

Full Disclosure has racial discussion there too because as a black teen, that’s unavoidable and part of their daily life.

This what I loved most about Full Disclosure: There is so much sex talk here that I haven’t seen a lot in YA. That doesn’t mean it’s not there, it just means I haven’t seen it a ton. I recently read Cherry by Lindsay Rosin and there was also quite in there as well, though mostly white perspectives. There’s Simone and her friends getting birth control, buying vibrators, talking about sex, etc. It was refreshing to see it done so well here. It’s just talked about and it’s every day stuff and I loved it.

Overall, Camryn Garrett is an author to keep your eye on because she is now a forever pre-order author for me. For now and for forever. I loved Full Disclosure a ridiculous amount. It wasn’t my favorite book for no reason. Full Disclosure should be on your radar if it’s not already. It doesn’t get rave reviews for nothing. It is a super important and well-written book. I loved Simone as a whole, she is a musical enthusiast through and through, I loved her friendship group so much and the struggles they go through and her dads. It was all so perfect.
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The fact that Cam is one of my friends has absolutely nothing to do with how absolutely incredible this book was. Because the thing is, this releases on October 29th, and I cried twice reading this, and it actually understands What Real Life Teenagers Are Like, and on the level that I am a reviewer who wants to recommend you books you’ll love, I think you should read this if you like tender slice-of-life YA contemporary about bisexuality and being HIV+ and the power of both familial and platonic and romantic love.

If that sounds interesting to you, here is a very abridged list of things that really resonated with me about this book:
➽the positivity of Simone’s dynamic with her dads, and the fact that they each feel like fully realized people with their own problems but are still loving and kind
➽Simone being a teenager with HIV who did not get it from some kind of traumatic event, but from her mom, and it being an experience she has, not something that defines her
➽Simone’s best friends being so central in her life — I feel like sometimes I read YA where the main character has best friends but you would not know it because they interact twice the whole book. Claudia and Lydia are both excellent
➽the fact that very casually Claudia is an ace lesbian and Lydia is bi. the solidarity of it all
➽Simone being bi and closeted even in a situation where she’s not in danger: she’s just not ready and has had bad experiences, and the fact that the narrative is empathetic towards that and it’s also not the only experience in her life
➽Simone’s drama passion feeling like such an important part of this narrative
➽just in general I think this book does an amazing job of making Simone really multifaceted because that’s what human beings are like
➽also, the drama teacher tea in this book. hit so close to home why are drama teachers Like That
➽the positive (and really funny) discussion of masturbation for women
➽that one scene with Claudia and Lydia…… this trio is so. my senior year best friend experience
➽the portrayal of Claudia and Lydia each to certain degrees not knowing how to discuss HIV, slash their friend being bi, but also being willing to grow and change from that
➽that section in which Miles says he doesn’t care about people talking about musicals, he likes the way Simone talks about them. like if someone said that to me I too would risk it all
➽the fact that Simone’s past with Sarah feels fully fleshed out despite us not getting a flashback? I feel like it’s really easy to resort to flashbacks so I appreciated the slow reveal
➽I did not guess the ending until a few pages before and i a l w a y s guess the ending
➽I know I’ve talked about Simone and her dads already. but genuinely they made me cry once and tear up several other times
➽the entire section between Simone and Miles where *** ***** *** is just………… it's so tender. honestly all their interactions are so tender I was just 😫
➽the parallels between the beginning and the ending are a lot

Anyway, personally I want to go drink some hot chocolate and talk about the power of love for the next 3 1/2 hours. before anyone asks: the thing that got me, that really made me melt down, was that line where she was like "yes I have best friends but I'm still romantically lonely" I was really fragile at that moment I was on a train and I'd just gotten my heart lowkey broken less than two weeks earlier but I had to put down the book for a really long minute and cry a little. also one of the scenes with Simone's dads made me cry. I can't remember which one it was anymore. want them to adopt me. Really really really loved this book. I hope you'll buy it on October 29th 2019.
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Do you ever read one of those books that makes you stop and stare into space because you can’t believe that no one has written this yet and you also can’t believe how flipping good the book is? That was this book for me. I’m likely going to be talking about this book a lot and for a very long time. It’s just… I mean, I’m going to get into it, but it’s so dang good.

In Full Disclosure, Simone Garcia-Hampton is a regular girl in a regular high school – a girl who loves musicals and has two dads and is adjusting fairly well to life at her new school. There’s only one thing that makes Simone different, something she hides from the world – she’s HIV positive. It doesn’t stop her from doing anything. She’s rarely physically sick anymore. But she essentially got chased out of her old school after disclosing her status to someone she trusted, and she doesn’t want that to happen again. And she’s fine keeping things to herself… until she meets Miles. She’s got such a crush on him, but she knows that dating isn’t really an option for her. But then… he likes her back? And wants to date her too? And is funny and smart and caring and… what even is this? For the first time, Simone starts thinking that she might be able to have something just like everyone else… and then the notes start coming. Threatening notes, notes that tell her that Miles will find out about her positive status if she doesn’t stop hanging out with him.

Here’s the thing about Simone though – nothing is going to stop her.

❤ ❤ ❤

full disclosure

3 Things I Loved
Simone. I absolutely loved Simone, and it was because she wasn’t always lovable. She’s a tough character, someone who has been through a lot, and who has a lot of challenges ahead of her. But that’s what makes her strong, which is exactly why I loved her. She didn’t always react to situations well, and she didn’t always say the right thing, but she was always genuine. Simone is a GREAT character.
Miles. If I could write one of the most perfect love interests in a young adult story, he would probably look something like Miles. He’s kind and understanding and he SEES Simone for who she is rather than what she has. Like Simone, he’s not perfect, but he’s so well-written that it seems like he is a lot of the time. He’s just so good.
The rest of the side characters. There are too many to talk about! Simone’s dads are wonderful and embarrassing and protective and I loved them. Her friends Lydia and Claudia are flawed but fierce, and totally there for Simone. Her fellow group members are complex and heartwarming, and even the “villain,” for lack of a better term, is complicated and real. Everyone in this book is so well-written.
Dislikes/Problematic Content
There was very little I disliked about this book, truly, but I’m going to talk about some triggers and shoot down some potential arguments against the book that I can predict reading after its release.

First, some triggers. There’s some biphobia in this book… sort of. I don’t want to give away something that is important to Simone, but there is some misunderstanding of what being bisexual is by one of Simone’s friends that, personally, really resonated with me, which is why I’m bringing it up. As a bi person who has never dated a woman, I FELT Simone feeling like she wasn’t bi enough. And her friends, for a time, perpetuate that feeling for her. But that part has a happy ending. Second, there is a lot of HIV-phobia and lies stated throughout the book – all fought against and proven false by Simone and her strength, but you have to read it all to get to the bravery she shows at the end, and reading some of that was hard. But I think the hardest things for me to read were the talk of what it used to be like, in the 80s, for people who had HIV and AIDS and what their lives were like. The deaths. The making of pariahs. Rent is used (brilliantly, I might add) as an analogue for these discussions, but they’re still hard to read. This book is super important for people to read, and I am NOT trying to lessen that. But I think some people are going to struggle with the subject matter. Which is where I’m going next.

There are two arguments that I can feel are going to eventually be made against this book. First, that Simone is an unrelatable character; and second, that this book “glorifies” HIV and could make people less afraid of it and less cautious. Both of these are bullshit, but I wanted to point them out, because people suck and I can FEEL them. All I’m going to say is this – was I a teenage black girl with HIV trying to navigate the normal trials of high school? Nope. Did I love and relate to Simone and her story anyway? HELL YES. And was HIV and its complication minimized by the text? Absolutely not. In fact, I feel better educated after reading it, truly. Everything was addressed so factually that I actually learned some things reading this delight of a novel. I’m going to be on the front lines fighting those arguments when they start occurring, because this book is important, and I’m so glad I had the privilege to read an advanced copy.

Finally, I only have one quibble, and it’s a spoiler, so I’m going to keep it vague. The “villain” of the story, once they are revealed, states that the reason why they did what they did was because of something that happened in their past. But it wasn’t… really wrapped up enough for me? I feel satisfied with the ending, but it’s like it happened too quickly. It’s a tiny thing, hardly noticeable. But it left me thinking after I finished that book that I wanted just a tiny bit more.

A reminder of the rating scale:

Red = DNF, I hated everything
Orange = Ugh, no thank you
Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
Green = This was good! 
Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
I can’t believe I’m about to give this rating AGAIN, but here we are! I read recently that you’re allowed to give out as many five star reviews as you want, and it doesn’t diminish the critique of your reading. It’s just what’s available and what you’re choosing to read! I don’t give numbered star ratings here at Snark and Squee, but I DO give the occasional unicorn… and I’m about to drop the second one this month! I’m giving Full Disclosure a PURPLE rating. This book is important and well-written and wonderful and relatable and real. I truly think everyone should read it.

Thank you THANK YOU to the publisher and to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’ll be recommending this one out to E V E R Y O N E after its release, which is NEXT TUESDAY! *cue confetti*

Happy reading!
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I tried two different times to get through this book. The first time I didn't put in much effort but a few weeks ago I started again. I got about 60% through this time but just could not bring myself to continue. The idea of this book was so promising but the execution was all over the place. At times it was about a teen girl dealing with a lifelong HIV diagnosis, other times it was dealing heavily on racial issues and still other times it was more about teen sexuality. The author couldn't quite land on a central theme so it felt very all over the place. Also, I am absolutely a fan of diversity of race, sexuality, cultures, etc but it seemed like the writer was trying to throw in every kind of diverse character trait that you could think of. Gay parents, a non-binary friend, an Indian American doctor, and more; all mentioned multiple times so that the readers was sure to understand who inclusive this book was. It was overkill and totally turned me off to the story. The dialogue seemed immature at times and then wildly inappropriate at other times. I am so disappointed that I couldn't finish and love this book but I just feel like the author could have benefited from one more draft.
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3.5 stars

The writing was simplistic and awkward at times, but I still enjoyed the story. Learning about Simone's HIV was definitely informative and interesting. I'm glad this book is out there for teens to read. As is mentioned by the story HIV is still highly stigmatized and I'm glad to see books working against that.

Simone's dads were fun and loving which I loved seeing. I always appreciate a story with 2 supportive gay dads. However at times they were too overbearing in a way that didn't seem to make sense to me or consistent with how they're characterized within the rest of the story. The fact that they're SO invested in promoting abstinence to their daughter, when they seem open about many other things? To the point where Simone can't even talk about it with her doctor in their presence? Also the fact that the doctor never asked her parents to leave was odd to me as well. I also would've appreciated a *little* more background on her parents, specifically the one who has a child from his previous marriage. I would've really liked more info on her family dynamics because it really seemed like he was not as involved in his son's life as he was in Simone's.

Simone's friends were also nice to read about and I really liked seeing how open of a friendship she had with these girls. Their conversations dealt with a lot of subjects that I think are important to talk about such as struggling with your sexuality, masturbation, and more. I'm glad to see those topics being talked about freely with little judgement within the story. However their interactions were probably where the majority of the awkward dialogue I noticed in this book came in. Their conversations just felt stilted and didn't really flow a lot of the time. It felt like they would jump from topic to topic unnaturally.

Also speaking of struggling with sexuality, I'm not sure that Simone's struggles were given the time or attention I think it needed for readers to really understand it. It's casually mentioned that she had a crush on her former best friend, but it didn't seem like whether she liked boys or girls or both was something that worried her until she blew up out at her friends (seemingly out of nowhere). I think that could have had more build up.

Simone as a character was fun to read from, and I really liked how into plays/broadway shows she was. I also liked how that came into play with her relationship. Simone and Miles' relationship was adorable and I was genuinely happy for these fictional characters. I also think seeing how Simone handled being HIV positive within the context of this would be helpful for teens reading this. The only thing I think Simone truly handled poorly was the blackmailing part of this. It's baffling that she didn't think anything would come of it? 

Overall I enjoyed this, but there were some logistical problems that prevent me from giving it the full 4 stars.
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This was the first book I'd read with a protagonist who was HIV-positive and I feel like it taught me a lot. Which definitely wasn't its job, but I appreciated being able to learn more about what it's like being a young, HIV-positive person. Simone was such a complex and fascinating character and her story is one of the more vulnerable ones I've read in LGBTQ YA.
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*3.5 stars* 
As someone who works in a children's hospital, I appreciate when books feature teens with viruses and diseases that affect their everyday lives. Simone Garcia-Hampton is a teen girl trying to navigate a new high school and love. However, she had to leave her last school when her classmates found out that she is HIV positive. Simone is determined for the students at her new school not to find out about her status. Miles enters her world and Simone begins receiving threats that someone will reveal her status unless she breaks up with him. The book follows Simone as she navigates her first love and how to come to terms with her status. 

Simone was an incredibly strong protagonist who possessed maturity and bravery throughout the book. She recognized her worth and didn't allow people to belittle her. The only reason why I didn't rate this higher was because Simone had the privilege of mostly being surrounded by people who accepted her status without judgment.
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Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley.

First of all, I want to issue a little disclaimer that I'm a huge admirer of Cam, the author. I've followed her on Twitter for years and while she's a bit younger than me, I've looked up to her thoughtful writing about pop culture, and she was really the first person to show me that teens (like me at the time, like the students I will teach) can have a writing career and presence online, instead of just awkwardly waiting to turn 18 and graduate or something like I did. (I mean, I tried, but it was rather anonymous and I didn't talk about it to people in my life). Anyway, enough gushing. When she sold a YA book, I was super happy and knew I would read it when it came out, and then I got the ARC for it so here we are.

I think Full Disclosure can be labelled as an "issue" book, which is disingenuous for two reasons: 1) there are very very few (if any) books out (not just YA) about people living with HIV in the modern day with our modern medical knowledge/abilities, and 2) I think that label has the connotation of a very serious, sad book without other dimensions outside the issue. Yes, this book is very informative about the reality of being HIV+ today. But it's also got a super cute romance, joyful moments of just being a teenager (especially the very last scene), and lots of musical references. This is definitely a theatre kid book--Simone is the new student director of RENT (the most appropriate musical in this case), and not all the actors like her feedback.

I appreciated that while there is a romance, Simone's world still heavily involves her two best friends and her two fathers, because those aspects of your life don't and shouldn't change when you enter a new relationship. Sure, there are rocky moments along the way, especially with her friends. I also loved that Simone is questioning her sexuality but because of media and her friends (who are bisexual and an ace lesbian, I believe) who run the school's GSA, she isn't sure if she "counts" because she's really only liked on girl. It was very realistic and something I don't often see, and it resolved well.

I have to admit, I was invested in Simone's relationship with Miles and her friends and how her HIV status affected those interactions and her emotions that I didn't find the overall "plot" of this book--that someone is threatening to expose her status by leaving notes in her locker--very necessary. Mysterious notes is also a plot I've seen before--and don't get me wrong, those are some of my favorite books--but it didn't seem necessary here. BUT. The payoff knocked my socks off. The note-writer has such human and complex motivations, and Simone's emotional journey made the book so much more powerful.

Bonus: Apparently in this book's universe, there is no Cats movie. Bless.
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I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. This is a story that tones on so many topics that are in our world today. They characters are amazing and this book really hits at the heart of all the issues. I love Simone and even Miles. There is so much that Simone has to be put up with being born with HIV and with the support of friends and Pops and Dad. I want to keep going on about this book but I don't want to give anything way. This is a must read book.
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The cover made me go nuts when I first saw it. I rarely am able to get Arcs with POC and such a beautiful cover. The colors? Thank you whoever designed this. 

A character with HIV? This is groundbreaking I love it. I learned a lot about this 'taboo' illness and I can say that I'm thankful I read this to get a better understanding of this unique perspective. 

Full Disclosure is Love, Simon with far more representation and it is far more sincere. I hope and wish that it gets as much recognition as Love, Simon.
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This book is one of the best books I've read this decade. There are so many things to praise about it. First of all, the main character, Simone is a character you can't help but love and support, and her voice draws you into her world.  She's bright and passionate about theater, but she's also deeply insecure about romance and sex for a number of reasons, one of them being that she's HIV+ and there's a lot of stigma surrounding the illness. This book is extremely educational on the topic of HIV but imparts the knowledge in a personal and humanizing way, through the eyes of someone who lives with the illness as their reality. It is written with compassion, sensitivity, and nuance.

The supporting cast and their relationships with Simone were all super well developed and wonderful to read about. The romance between Simone and Miles is cute and compelling. Miles was the perfect love interest in the way he cares for Simone and supports her interests and pursuits. Simone's best friends, both of whom are queer, were also characters who create a dynamic trio with Simone. The shifts and conflicts in their friendship are realistic and ultimately bring them closer together. Simone's acquaintances from her HIV support group play their part well in helping her feel less alone in her struggles and coming through for her when she is in a low place. Lastly, Simone's two gay dads are adorable and excellent role models and parents who give her all the love and support she needs from the closest adult figures in her life.

Overall, the book is perfectly paced and balances the various subplots masterfully. The ending is heartfelt and strikes the perfect emotional chord. I came out of the reading experience wanting to hug the book to my chest even though I had no physical book to do so with.
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I just read one amazingly written book with a topic so well thought out and covered exquisitely that I’m speechless. And it was a debut? Wow.

I’ll preface this to say that I cannot speak on the authenticity of representation of those with HIV/AIDS, and the author also has an author’s note saying that’s not what makes it #ownvoices.

However, I do feel the author did do a lot of research on the topic and everything is handled nicely. It’s very informative, there’s healthy conversations between the characters about stereotypes and myths, etc.

This story follows a young lady struggling with falling in love for the first time, while having HIV and needing to disclose before anything gets too serious. We also see Simone struggle with sexuality, but that’s not a main point.

Her struggles . . . Simone is a strong woman and I loved reading her coming into herself and finding that voice. She wasn’t going to let HIV define her. Towards the end, I wanted to clap for her because it was a proud moment.

There were some laughs, I might’ve cried, and there’s some bisexuality rep also. The power of family and friendship was a big takeaway, but I also learned so much.

This is a book that needs to be in the hands of teens — adults, too! — everywhere. Educate about HIV+ without the bias and the science, but enough to want to possibly research more . . . just like I did.
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