Review of: Positively by Courtney Sheinmel
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Emerson Price has had a tough life so far. When she was young her mother got sick from HIV which eventually progressed into AIDS. Then not long after that Emmy's parents discovered that Emmy has HIV too. She got it while her mother was pregnant with her.
Emerson is 13 and her mother has just died from AIDS. She was always okay with having HIV when her mother was alive because her mom knew what it was like. Her father never understood and divorced Emmy's mom because of it when Emmy was a little girl. Now her father is remarried to a woman named Meg who is now pregnant. Emerson has never liked Meg and now since her mother is gone she has to go live with her father and Meg. She vows to herself never to let Meg into her life because she feels like it would be betraying her own mother.
Now that Emmy's mother is gone Emmy feels so out of place. She feels like everyone is just feeling sorry for the "sick" girl. She even believes that her best friend is only being nice to her out of pity which is not true at all considering that they have been best friends for years. She pushes everyone away and at one point tries to skip taking her very important medication. Her father and Meg are scared at what will happen. So when things take a turn for the worse at the house Meg mentions a camp that she has heard of called Camp Positive. It is a camp for girls that are HIV positive. Emmy's father tells her that she is going no matter what. Emmy refuses to be happy about the decision.
But when Emmy gets to camp she meets a girl there named Whitney who starts to change Emmy's outlook on things. She still isn't crazy about being at a camp for kids that are HIV positive but being around Whitney makes it better for her. Then one day Whitney gets pretty sick and she has to leave to go to the hospital which sends Emmy off the deep end. But in the end this camp might have been the best thing that Emmy has experienced.
This was such a heart wrenching story. The whole time I couldn't help but feel bad for Emerson. I couldn't even begin to imagine what living with HIV would be like; especially when you're that young and have just lost your mother. I didn't think she'd ever give Camp Positive a chance but was glad to discover later on that it was changing her attitude towards life a little bit. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes heart wrenching but at the same time uplifiting books. This book was really great and I actually read it in one day so I can definitely say it is a page turner. And I found it interesting that it was based off of the author's experience with the Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Foundation. That fact made this book even more real to me.