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Emerson Price was four years old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive – infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and eight when her parents divorced. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. Even though everyone has always accepted her, no one – not her father, or stepmother, or even her best friend – understands what it's like to have to take medicine every single day, to be so afraid of getting sick, and to miss her mom more than she ever thought she would.
When Emmy's dad and stepmother send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she is going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she is not so alone after all – and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.
What people are saying:
"Courtney Sheinmel has captured, with honesty and perception, the complicated thoughts of thirteen-year-old Emmy Price as she navigates her life during the difficult months following her mother's death from AIDS. Emmy, who's HIV-positive, not only must deal with the loss of the person she loved the most, but must face her own illness with a new sense of heart-wrenching reality. I cheered every one of Emmy's cautious steps on her journey to make a place for herself in a world without her mother." - Ann M. Martin, author of A Corner of the Universe and A Dog's Life
"Courtney Sheinmel's powerful tale of teenager Emerson Price's journey growing up with AIDS sends a torpedo right to the heart. I loved it. Never preachy, Emmy's story feels as if you've delved into her personal diary. I cried and I smiled and eventually felt a sisterhood with Emmy, whose message 'anything is possible' made me cheer." - actor Marlee Matlin, author of Deaf Child Crossing
"Utterly enthralling, Positively tugs at your heartstrings from the first page and doesn't let go. Courtney Sheinmel has created such a believable character in thirteen-year-old Emmy that I didn't want to leave her. This could be the most important book you read all year." - Wendy Mass, author of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
"Sheinmel believably portrays the frustration and anxiety of a girl carrying a particularly heavy burden into the adolescent years of possible romance and growing independence...Kids with their own health issues may find this provides some useful perspective...while other readers will be drawn by 'could be me' drama." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Emmy is infected with the HIV virus, and her mother, infected before she married Emmy's father, dies of AIDS at the beginning of the book. Angry and alone, the 13-year-old moves in with her semi-estranged father and newly pregnant stepmother. At a loss for how to help Emmy recover from her grief and alienation, they send her to a summer camp for girls with HIV and AIDS. There she realizes that she is not alone, not the only person to take handfuls of pills on a daily basis, not the only girl who worries about the complications of dating with the virus. She returns home with a new perspective, welcoming her half-sister into her life and admitting her newfound desire for a happier, more 'positive' existence. Emmy refers to her condition alternately as being HIV positive and infected with AIDS, which may confuse readers grappling to understand the difference. What does come through is her very real anger and her fear about her future. Some readers may find the plot development slow, but Emmy's situation is compelling and underrepresented in YA fiction." - Nora G. Murphy, Los Angeles Academy Middle School, School Library Journal