Gary, now in seventh grade, has lived with his mother since early childhood when his dad left. His uncle, Rob, has always lived nearby and loved and attended to him like a dad. Gary counts on Rob for basketball coaching, good advice about girls, and understanding about things he can't talk with his mom about. Gary notices one day that Rob looks pale and sick. The sickness doesn't seem to go away. Finally he learns that Rob has AIDS.

For a time he manages to convince himself it was a mistake at the lab and couldn't be true. Ultimately he has to come to terms with it when his uncle is taken to the hospital. With Rob's illness he finds a new kind of maturity in himself, and with Rob's encouragement he initiates a friendship with a girl he's been too shy to approach. After Rob dies, he is surprised at the kind of support he gets from friends, and finds ways to recognize and claim something of Rob in himself.


This book, for young teens, is straightforward, lively, and realistic about AIDS, about the fear it inspires, and about loss as well as about other concerns of junior high boys--most notably relationships with girls and insecurities about themselves. Gary's point of view and his relationship with Rob are represented skillfully; other characters, his friend Sam, his mother, and his new girlfriend, are well drawn though not as developed. A useful book that doesn't attempt to provide much clinical information, but does address real issues for kids living in relationship to a person with AIDS.



Place Published

New York



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