Tag: Contemporary

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure
Camryn Garrett

Published: October 29, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 1-5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

Jessica’s Review:

Simone does not have an easy life:  Born with HIV and having to change schools, living with both of her dads who won’t let her even see her gynecologist on her own, now she meets a boy she is interested in.  But what about her HIV status and possible sex? She thinks things are going fine and then at her new school she gets an anonymous note in her locker…

If you want to read a novel with diversity then Full Disclosure will be the novel to read as it is extremely diverse. Full Disclosure talks very candidly about many subjects that most YA novels steer clear from: Sex and sexual health, vibrators, masturbation, and much more.  It also raises awareness about HIV and how it can be transmitted that the reader may or may not be familiar with. It also shows how one faces life living with HIV and when/how they should choose to disclose their status to others.  

Due to the nature of the novel, I would suggest parents read this novel first before passing it on to your teen.  This would be to see if your teenager is ready to read a novel like this, but also for the parent to prepare themselves as they may find themselves having to answer questions that may be raised. I would say this would be for the older teenagers from ages 16 and up. 

All of these characters are realistic and candid with their situations, and Simone and Miles are just cute together along with being honest and open with each other. In some ways they seem more mature than their age, which is understandable for Simone as she has been living with HIV her entire life 

Full Disclosure is recommended!

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: Book Review: My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood

Today I am helping to end the blog tour for My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood.  I enjoyed this one.  There is also an international giveaway going on for e-copies of the novel!

Book Description:

Two DNA tests, one big lie…

“As I speed off in the ambulance holding my daughter’s hand, I wonder how I could have been so stupid. I should have made the bargain, paid the price – anything to avoid being right here, right now.

A voice whispers in my head that I can’t silence. This is all your fault. You killed her. It’s her voice, the one I hear in my nightmares. The woman who stole my memories, the woman who stole my life. And, this time, I know she’s right.”

How far would you go to save your child?

Claire is living every mother’s worst nightmare. Her daughter, Jess, has been diagnosed with a rare illness and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. With no match on the registry, Claire turns to a charismatic geneticist for help and embarks on a Genetic Journey to seek a familial match for her daughter.

On the other side of the country, Marianne suffers her eighth miscarriage. Her perfect life is rotting underneath, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to have a baby.

When DNA test results reveal that Claire and Marianne are half-sisters, Claire must face the dark lies of the past and make impossible choices about the future. Is her secret sister the answer to her prayers, or will she cost her everything?

My Secret Sister is a tense and emotional family drama with a moral dilemma at its heart. Fans of Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, and John Marrs’ The One will be gripped.

My Secret Sister
Author: Lauren Westwood

Published:  August 31, 2021
313 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 24- November 11, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Jessica’s Review:

My Secret Sister shows how at home DNA testing can be like opening Pandora’s Box: Are you sure you actually want to take the test as you never know what family secrets you may bee revealing.  This is the kind of book that book clubs are made for: Covering many topics ranging from IVF, parental issues, medical issues, deceit, and at home DNA testing, this one will have many discussions!

The author started writing this novel before Covid-19 and chose to keep it out of the story.  I am glad she chose this as it would have muddied the waters of an already complicated situation.  As Covid-19 will most likely always be with us, it doesn’t have to be present in novels that deal with medical situations.

We have three narrators throughout the novel with Claire, Marianne, and Becky and see each of their sides with a variety of emotions. I was pulled in the most with Becky’s chapters.  I am not a parent, but have a sister with a physical disability, so I identified with Becky.  I can see mothers identifying with Claire and women who have experienced fertility issues identifying with Marianne.  Needless to say I think every reader will identify with one of our narrators.

I was intrigued and also unsure with what was going to happen and we get some twists and turns as well. Are we going to have a happy ending or not?  My Secret Sister really starts moving around the last third of the novel, but the final twists just did not work for me, as they really came out of left field.

Otherwise, I did enjoy this novel and look forward to what else Westwood has written!

My Secret Sister is recommended.

Buy My Secret Sister: http://mybook.to/MySecretSister

About the Author:

My books explore the darkness and the light of the human spirit, and take you on an emotional journey. My Sister’s Secret is a tense and emotional drama about a mother’s race against time to save her daughter’s life. My Mother’s Silence is a gripping and romantic drama about homecoming and family secrets set in the wild Scottish highlands. It was shortlisted for the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award 2020. The Daughter She Lost is a dark journey of self-discovery and overcoming the secrets of the past. My holiday romance Moonlight on the Thames is a love story to classical music and the healing power of love. It was a bestseller in urban fiction and top 100 Kindle book. My first three novels: Finding Home, Finding Secrets and Finding Dreams all feature mysterious old houses and intelligent, feisty contemporary heroines who set out to unravel the mysteries of the past. I also write award winning children’s books as Laurel Remington. I am originally from California, and now live in Surrey, UK with my partner and three daughters.

Contact Lauren:
Twitter: @lwestwoodwriter


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Book Review: Rick by Alex Gino

Author: Alex Gino

Published: April 21, 2020

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 28-29, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.

But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

Jessica’s Review:

Rick is not a sequel to George/Melissa, but a companion novel that has the same set of kids, only now they are in middle school.  Rick has been best friends with Jeff forever, despite Jeff being a bully to others.  Now being in middle school they are starting to experience life changes and Rick comes across the Rainbow Spectrum Club which is where kids on every part of the spectrum of the LGBTQIAP+ scale can come together and be themselves without retaliation.  This includes Melissa, who used to be known as George. Now being in middle school, Melissa is fully embracing who she is. 

Rick, as well as the reader, lean about the various types of genders and identities that currently exist.  These can be very fluid, which references the + in LGBTQIAP+.  Rick starts to think about who he may actually be since he has never given much thought to it and his friendships in general. 

This is another novel by Alex Gino that showcases how everyone can be who they are and who they will become.  I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Rick and his grandfather.  Rick learns and accepts his grandfather for who he actually is and how much they have in common. The author themself narrated Rick.   Normally I am all for the author narrating their novel, but the narration did not really work for me with Gino’s voice. 

Both George/Melissa and Rick are needed novels with the way our ever-changing world has become.

Rick is recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK