Courtney Sheinmel, Author . Simon & Schuster $15.99 (216p) ISBN 978-1-4169-7169-6

After her mother dies of AIDS, 13-year-old Emmy is left to grapple with the virus her mother unknowingly passed on to her through pregnancy. When Emmy acts out, her father and his second wife, who are expecting their first child, send her to sleepaway “Camp Positive,” for HIV-positive girls. Despite her reluctance, Emmy begins to find solace with girls who face similar obstacles, but a friend leaving camp because of declining health, sparks stark realizations: “You couldn't ever get away from AIDS, ever. You couldn't ever change anything.” Emmy's most transformative moment—a conversation with a camp counselor who tells her, “I'm not saying this disease is easy. It's not easy at all. And I can't explain everything that happened, except to say that life is weird”—leads to a convincing baby step toward Emmy finding peace. Sheinmel (My So-Called Family ), who reviews for PW , occasionally crosses into political territory, but Emmy's plainspoken narration and reflections on the loss of her mother and her illness (“People had to be nice to me because I was the one with the saddest life”) are wrenchingly authentic and quietly powerful. Ages 9–14. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/07/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4169-9677-4
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-4424-0622-3
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