Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
Ember, 2019, 290 pages
Content Warnings: Sexual themes, threats to out an HIV-positive person, mentions of homophobia/biphobia
About the author: “Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.”
Just take your pills. That’s what Simone has heard all her life, as if living with HIV wasn’t enough of a reminder. At a new school, with new friends, and a new position as a student director of Rent, Simone finally starts to enjoy her junior year. Despite what most people may think, her condition and the need to take daily medication are often at the back of her mind—that is until she meets Miles. Simone keeps her status private in order to protect herself, but these fluttering romantic feelings make her wonder if she should tell him, especially if having sex is a possibility. Yet as she gets to know Miles, an anonymous note pressures her to break up with him or have her status made public. Now, Simone must decide if she will face the stigma head-on or let someone else choose for her.
Full Disclosure defied any previous expectations I had. Camryn Garrett takes on HIV, something with so much prejudice attached to it, in the form of a funny, sex-positive teen novel that also discusses race and queerness. Garrett doesn’t shy away from more tear-jerking moments either, as Simone’s experiences with ignorant people are heartbreaking and frustrating to read. This novel examines an important topic because although people know about HIV and the 1980s AIDS crisis, few understand the condition itself (myself included) or consider the reality that many people live with HIV today. Simone is a well-written and fully-fleshed-out character who I could see my former teen self relating to in many ways. An insightful, inspiring, and utterly memorable debut novel, Full Disclosure is a book that everybody should read.
PRR Writer, Grace Kennedy