Book Review: Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

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.

When this book came up on NetGalley I was intrigued because it was a new concept for YA, in terms of books I had read. Personally, I’d never read anything with a young character who has HIV and those I want to read are set in the 1980s.

There was also a lot of representation throughout. Simone’s Dad’s are gay, she has friends who are Asexual, Gay, etc. There are characters who are biracial, there’s definitely been an effort here to be inclusive to a wide range of people which I hope will be appreciated.

This adds another voice to young adult literature and one that isn’t filled with a lack of hope. Simone is a young woman who is HIV positive but she’s also smart, she’s actively trying to work out how to live her life to the fullest, including sexual relationships.

The aspect of sex and teenagers was handled really well too, it was open and honest. Teenagers are curious about sex, they want to know about it and just because someone has HIV that doesn’t change anything which is well conveyed.

Additionally, there are some really great and supportive relationships in the form of family and friend and they all are pretty real, not just left to the side while the focus was all on Simone.

This was a 5 star read for me an an excellent new voice that I think it needs to be put into schools, given out in whatever PSHE/Health classes are called now and generally shouted about. An excellent book and really well thought out.

Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. 

Whew! This book! If you read my ‘Top Books of 2019’ post then you will know that Jonathan was on that list and my favourite non-fiction book of the entire year. So, you can bet this is going to be a glowing review.

I didn’t know that much about Jonathan apart from the few episodes of Queer Eye that I watched where I absolutely adored him. Who was this guy with fabulous hair and who I wanted to have as a friend? Then I started seeing him on interviews everywhere and the stories he told to presenters made it so that I needed to know more, so I got the audiobook.

The only way to listen to this book is with Jonathan narrating it and it was absolute perfection, I couldn’t have asked for more. Looking at Jonathan’s roller coaster life makes the book so fast that I found myself wanting more, even though we get his whole life story. From a child who was different to a young adult struggling with himself and addiction and the long journey to become the fun loving guy we see on TV.

What I appreciated most about this book is that Jonathan is incredibly real. He has a positive attitude but is completely honest about his darker times, that he wasn’t a person we’d want to know at times. About the fact that his issues are something he has to work through every day as well as living with a HIV positive diagnosis.

You probably will have seen Jonathan campaigning for HIV awareness and for support for the community so that they can get the right treatment no matter what. I learnt so much about HIV from what Jonathan had written and looked into it further so I could understand and that’s going to have a legacy of its own.

I think you’d probably guess that this was a 5 star read for me, I absolutely adored this book and Jonathan because it was so raw and honest without being all doom and gloom. That said, the appropriate attention is given to the seriousness of certain topics. I loved it and I’ve been recommending it to EVERYONE. What are you waiting for honey? Go add it to that to read list!