cover image It Happened to Nancy: By an Anonymous Teenager

It Happened to Nancy: By an Anonymous Teenager

Anonymous. Avon Books, $6.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-380-77315-2

Presented as a diary edited by the woman who prepared Go Ask Alice for publication, this book is soberly dedicated ""to every kid who thinks AIDS can't happen to him or her"" and includes an earnest foreword by one of Nancy's doctors (""I worry about all the beautiful, innocent young Nancys""). The story itself, however, begins on a nearly euphoric note: Nancy, 14, is caught up in her first romance. Breathless exuberance turns to horror, anger and despair after her gentle-seeming boyfriend plies her with spiked wine coolers and rapes her in her own mother's bed. A few months later, blood tests indicate that Nancy is HIV-positive. Nancy succumbs relatively quickly to full-blown AIDS, thus giving readers a rapid-paced and horrific account of the disease's progress. Though the wrenchingly optimistic diarist devotes little space in her journal to the specific details of the various opportunistic infections she suffers, her description of a rectal ulcer leaves a lasting impression. The thought-provoking narrative ends with Nancy's death and is followed by an informative series of questions and answers about rape and AIDS. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)