cover image My Brother Has AIDS

My Brother Has AIDS

Harold Davis, Deborah Davis, Nancy Davis. Atheneum Books, $15 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31922-8

As forthright as its title, this first novel deals directly with the reality of AIDS-effectively and affectingly. Lacy, a 13-year-old who is an avid swimmer, learns that Jack, her gay older brother, has AIDS and is moving back home. Urged by her parents to tell no one, she begins recording her thoughts and anxieties in a journal, entries from which are worked into Davis's trenchant story. Lacy's parents try to shield her from Jack's pain and his physical deterioration, encouraging her to keep up her ""normal"" life. In one of the novel's most poignant scenes, Lacy, expected to give a standard oral report on a health issue, courageously announces to her entire class that she is going to tell them what it is like to live with someone who has AIDS. Her move has unexpected consequences, and as Jack's condition worsens, Lacy spends less time with her swim team and more with her brother. These siblings-and the relationship between them-are unusually believable. The impact of the novel's sad but ultimately uplifting ending is emotional without being mawkish, and the reader is advised to have several hankies on hand. Ages 9-13. (Oct.)