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Synopsis

"When 14 year old Natasha discovers that her best friend Jasmine has contracted AIDS she is devastated and confused. She cannot understand how someone so young and innocent could have contracted such a deadly disease, until her thoughts turn toward Jasmine’s popular boyfriend, Mike. It comes as no surprise when Mike, who has had multiple sexual partners, leaves for England but what remains puzzling is his apparent immunity to the virus which causes AIDS. 

The teens struggle to balance the physical changes taking place in their bodies and the mental frustration that comes along with not understanding these changes. They must also grapple with the pressures of a materialistic culture. Forced to address their awakening sexuality, the word responsibility take on a whole new meaning in the face of the very real threat of contracting HIV/AIDS. The message of sexual responsibility and abstinence hits home when, after several bouts of illness, Jasmine succumbs to the disease. But Jasmine is not the first teen to be affected by AIDS in the novel and her initial scorn of a young teenage girl who died of AIDS is a brutal reminder of the prejudices that exist regarding the disease. The message is clear: AIDS is not partial. 

Barbara Chase’s novel is a captivating read. Her vivid descriptions highlight the many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS which are not limited to geography, age or gender. Whilst the situations are geared toward a teenage audience, the novel invites a wide readership. "

Barbara Chase is the recipient of the Kamau Braithwaite Award for Literary Excellence, an award she won in 1996 for The Silent Killer. She is the Acquisitions Librarian at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Barbados.

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