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by Alex Flinn
HarperTempest, 2005
Review by Amy Ridley on Mar 7th 2006

Fade to Black

This novel focuses on three main characters involved in a hate crime. Alex is the HIV positive victim who was attacked while sitting in his car. Clinton Cole is the prime suspect who has made his intolerance for Alex and his disease well known. The eyewitness is Daria, a neighborhood teen with Down's syndrome. The author alternates chapters, writing from each character's point of view. The story moves along toward the ending, but the readers must draw their own conclusions and decide who is telling the truth based on each character's recollection of what happened to Alex that morning.

This book is a painful look into what someone diagnosed with HIV must go through every day. Alex has to deal with his family, the disease, and how others treat not only him, but also his family. Flinn writes with brutal honesty about the stigma still associated with this disease. She brilliantly shows the assumptions made by uninformed people, and the hatred that can develop from ignorance.

The background of each character is well developed to let the reader see how Alex and Clinton got to this point in their lives. Flinn adds suspense to the story by not revealing how Alex contracted the disease until deep into the book. All of the reactions and feelings of the characters are genuine and this can be uncomfortable to read. This book makes the readers put themselves in the characters place and wonder how they would handle the same situations. Flinn has written a provocative book that will have readers asking themselves many tough questions.

 

© 2006 Amy Ridley

 

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University.