What You Don't Know Can Kill You

Fran Arrick, Author
Fran Arrick, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07471-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 160 pages - 978-0-440-21894-4
Prebound-Sewn - 154 pages - 978-0-606-06088-2
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Arrick's disturbing novel depicts the consequences of forgoing safe sex practices in these AIDS-stricken times. Ellen, 18, is smart, beautiful and has a bright future that is likely to include Jack, her longtime boyfriend. When her blood drive donation reflects the HIV virus, Ellen is sure it's a mistake--she and Jack have been monogamous--until he admits to a few sexual indiscretions while away at school. The story incorporates AIDS-related information, the need for friendship and familial support, the prejudices born of ignorance, and the psychological strains heaped on family members--Ellen's parents and Debra, her 13-year-old sister, are overwhelmed with grief. Although introductory portions of the narrative and some of the dialogue evince an unnatural tone, ensuing passages are filled with heart-rending anguish and should dispel notions of ``It can't happen to me'' among careless, sexually active readers. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
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