It Happened to Nancy

( 290 )

Overview

The editor of the classic GO ASK ALICE has compiled the poignant journals of a 14-year-old date-rape victim who contracted AIDS and died.

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It Happened to Nancy

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Overview

The editor of the classic GO ASK ALICE has compiled the poignant journals of a 14-year-old date-rape victim who contracted AIDS and died.

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor B
I Love Nancy, I love her still, and hope you will not only love Nancy but appreciate her decision to make her most private thoughts and experiences public, in the hope of helping you better understand AIDS.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Presented as a diary edited by the woman who prepared Go Ask Alice for publication, this book is soberly dedicated ``to every kid who thinks AIDS can't happen to him or her'' and includes an earnest foreword by one of Nancy's doctors (``I worry about all the beautiful, innocent young Nancys''). The story itself, however, begins on a nearly euphoric note: Nancy, 14, is caught up in her first romance. Breathless exuberance turns to horror, anger and despair after her gentle-seeming boyfriend plies her with spiked wine coolers and rapes her in her own mother's bed. A few months later, blood tests indicate that Nancy is HIV-positive. Nancy succumbs relatively quickly to full-blown AIDS, thus giving readers a rapid-paced and horrific account of the disease's progress. Though the wrenchingly optimistic diarist devotes little space in her journal to the specific details of the various opportunistic infections she suffers, her description of a rectal ulcer leaves a lasting impression. The thought-provoking narrative ends with Nancy's death and is followed by an informative series of questions and answers about rape and AIDS. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A book based on the diary of a real teenager. Nancy, 14, is ``a good little Catholic'' girl, living in South Carolina. She has divorced parents who both love her, loyal friends, and a bright future. At a country western concert, she meets Collin, who presents himself as a lonely, orphaned college freshman. Naive Nancy is swept off her feet. Then he rapes her and disappears from her life. With her mother's support, she recovers from the assault and begins to enjoy her life again. She develops a romantic interest in Lew, who is serious and caring. Then she becomes ill; after a period of denial, she sees her family doctor. She is infected with the HIV virus. Until very late in her illness, she does not tell her friends her diagnosis. Despite ever frequent hospitalizations, Nancy never gives up hope. She graphically records the breakdown of her immune system and the resulting pain and loss of control. In a final burst of determination, Nancy sees through a collaboration that will result in the publication of her diary. This book is her legacy to other teens, left to them on her death at the age of 16. Readers will feel her joy, shock, and pain, and a personal sorrow at the loss of such an appealing young person. The narrative is followed by a question-and-answer chapter on HIV and AIDS. Elaine Landau's We Have AIDS (Watts, 1990) consists of interviews with stricken teens, as well as factual material. In contrast to the mostly private anguish of Nancy and her family, Ryan White and Ann M. Cunningham's Ryan White (Dial, 1991) recounts the very public tragedy of another heroic teen.-Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380773152
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 359,690
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.42 (w) x 7.32 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Beatrice Sparks is a family and adolescent therapist who edited the diary that formed the basis for Go Ask Alice, and has since edited many diaries on topics such as gangs, AIDS, and teen pregnancy in the 1988 Annie's Baby. She lives in Provo, UT.

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Read an Excerpt

Saturday, April 14

8:01 A.M.

I can't believe it. Tonight's the night I've beenwaiting for forever. At least it seems like foreversince February 10, when El's Aunt Pauline picked upthe tickets. Imagine me going to a concert. A GarthBrooks concert! A few months ago El and Red andDorie and I whined and nagged and groaned andmoaned because we weren't allowed to go to the U2concert. Now we're going to see Garth! Garth? Iheard on television that he's and he jumps off a high platform, grabs a rope and swings high out over the audience, with strobe lights flashing in all different colors and everything looking sort of smoky. Plus all sorts of other wild, woolly and wacky stuff. It's going to be almost like going to a real rock concert, which, boo-hoo, none of our mothers will allow us to attend.

6:45 P.M.

Oh chips, isn't it strange how slowly time goes by when you want it to go fast and bow fast it goes when YOU want it to go slow? Anyway ... for now ... life is great! ... it's good! ... it's wonderful! ... it's fun! ... it's fab! ... it's sunshiny inside!—and why don't they come? Why, why, WHY? WHY don't they huffy up and pick me up? I've tried on everything in my closet, plus every combination of everything in my closet, and I've redone my hair 97 1/2 times.

Oops, there's the doorbell. My chariot and my friends have arrived. I, Cinderella, am off to the ball.

2 A.M.

It's 2 A.M., and I can't sleep. I don't think I'll ever sleep again. I can't believe what happened tonight. It was like a movie, only better and louder and more exciting than any movie could ever be! Red and El and Dorie and I walkinginto the concert auditorium trying to look like we weren't excited! So excited that we could hardly keep from jumping up and down and squealing!! We were also pretending Aunt Pauline wasn't with us. And grown-uply endeavoring not to giggle-but that was impossible! There was so much excitement in the air that you couldn't help feel it. I mean REALLY feel it, like it was crunchy fall leaves or soft cloth or something ... maybe solid but squishy or gauzy and wispy and changing, ever changing, like a planet or galaxy weaving through space.

When the strobe lights turned on, they flashed absolutely through my body. We were sitting next to a big speaker, and the music pierced every molecule in me. It was mag! Really magnif! I was part of it, and it was part of me, a new dimension!

Then, uggggg, about halfway through the concert a couple of rednecks came in and tried to sit in front of us. They said those were their seats. The. people sitting there said they weren't. A scuffle started. Almost immediately cops appeared from nowhere and literally surrounded the area. Aunt Pauline tried to herd El and Red and Dorie and me away from the confusion, but, wouldn't you know it, I fell down. For a moment I was panic-stricken because people were almost walking on me, and someone grabbed my purse. Then I didn't even care about that. I just wanted to crawl out of there alive. When I finally got out of the line of fire, I tried to get the attention of a policeman to tell him about my purse, but they were either trying to get people to sit down as they dragged the two nutsos away, or they were trying to get back to their own posts.

Amazingly, most of the auditorium wasn't even aware that there was a problem-they kept it so isolated. I leaned against a post, trying to become invisible, because I had started to have an asthma attack. I was so terrorized I couldn't breathe, and I was alone! More alone in those thousands of people than I had ever been in my life. I was hyperventilating and about to pass out, and no one seemed to care. They didn't want me, or anything else, for that matter, to interfere with their wild and woolly enjoyment.

Just as I was beginning to feel the blackness dragging me completely under, I sensed a soft hand on my shoulder and a gentle voice whispering in my ear, "Relax, relax. I'll get you out into the center hall, where you can sit down and get some air ... shh ... relax ... relax. You'll be all right.... I'll take care of you.

He put his arm around my waist, and we walked down, down, down, down the endless rows of stairs. It hadn't seemed like there were nearly as many when we came up.

By the time we got out into the foyer, I felt better. My hysterical terror was being replaced by a calm peace. The guy said he was Collin Eagle. He sat me on a bench and brought me a Coke, then began softly rubbing my back and quietly telling me to "relax ... relax" ... and I did! How could I not with his soft voice and his positive presence?

We moved over by the fountain, and it was nice. The music from the concert drifted out to us, and the dripping and the splashing of the water seemed to take over the melody line.

Collin and I talked like we had known each other forever, and I, who have always felt uneasy with boys, felt completely comfortable and comforted.

How could I have felt any other way? He had saved me.

We talked for a long time, waiting for Aunt Pauline to come down. Collin said she eventually had to come into the main hall looking for me.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 290 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(210)

4 Star

(53)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 290 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    Poor girl.

    In my opinion, ¿It Happened To Nancy¿ is a touching true story. I believe it¿s meant for teenage girls for the purpose of teaching them about the real world and more importantly, about people. It teaches these lessons which seem to have been forgotten today. As I read this book, it really opened my eyes about date rape and that you cant really trust someone you think you could. It opened my eyes about how serious it could turn out to be. The problem with Nancy was that she thought she was in love at an early age and with an older guy which she¿d have had to be careful with to begin with. She put all her trust in him not knowing his true intentions. I recommend this book for teenage girls, I guess we can call it a reality check. Once I started reading it I couldn¿t put it down. I honestly loved this book and really felt like I was one of Nancy¿s best friends or that she was just able to dump and let everything out to me.

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    awesome book

    this book is seriously one of the best books i've ever read. my aunt gave it to me when i turned 15 years old. at first i thought it was going to be just another dumb book that i wasn't going to like. but it turned out to be my favorite book. i've read it 3 times already. and every time i read it it makes me cry. i love this book!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow

    this book is really touching. it made me aware of all the things that i didn't think could happen to me but really can. i feel like i knew nancy, like i was a close friend and she was talking to me. i love nancy and the ending made me cry my heart out. i will truly never forget nancy. she will always be in my heart. <3

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2000

    Not The Best Read / F-

    This is just totally NOT what happens when you have AIDS. keep in mind - I know what I'm talking about and I know the disease affects each person differently, but alot of things are still the same. 1. There's NO WAY she would've ever found out she had AIDS without the doctor asking for permission to test her first. It is ILLEGAL to test people for the AIDS virus without their knowledge & consent. 2. She would've gotten that sick from AIDS that fast. The book has her with a cause of pnuemonia about a month after she was infected - NOT REALISTIC. 3. She wouldn't just die like that. When you have AIDS, you don't just go to sleep one night and never wake up. 4. She wouldn't have been granted permission from her doctor to travel to her fathers' home in ARIZONA given her health status at the time. Even if she was, she more than likely would've had to have her own plane, to reduce the risk of contracting other passengers germs and/or illnesses. There are alot more things too, if you care to know, e-mail me. I will write back ASAP. I think this book is a terrible rep. for teens struggling to live with HIV/AIDS.

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Really makes you think....

    I read this book a few summers ago after I bought it and another Dr. B book at a bookstore when I was visiting my cousin. I couldn't put the book down. When I finally finished reading it at 2am one summer night, I was crying. This story really makes you think about the choices you make in life, and what the consequences of those choices could be. I recommend this book for any and all teenagers. It's definitely one you'll want to read and reread over again a million times. I've read it almost 10 times since I bought it, and it never fails to amaze me.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    This book was really good. You could feel the pain,remorse,love,

    This book was really good. You could feel the pain,remorse,love,and all the emotions Nancy felt. it's a touching story that everybody should read. It gives you alot of information about how you would get AIDS and how not to trust everybody. She gave me alot of motivation and made me think of how if she's dying and she's still living her life then I can do it. .This book is really touching. It made me aware of all the things that I didn't think could happen to me, but really can. I feel like I knew Nancy, like I was a close friend and she was talking to me. This opened my eyes to the reality of how horrible men can be. It gave me hope and courage to live my life because anything can change.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    Not Realistic

    For starters, a 14 or 15 year old girl doesn't even think like this. I'm sorry, but it's true. Collin, the rapist, gives Nancy wine and puts a drug in her drink. Therefore, Nancy shouldn't even remember being raped or have even felt the urge to fight him back if she was drugged. Some of the facts about AIDS weren't accurate either. This story is made up by an expert just to warn girls about rape. And the expert that wrote this clearly does not understand the minds of teenage girls. A waste of money and brain cells.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Not even close to real life

    Obviously not written by a teen. Reads like a book written by an adult who wants to teach todays youth a lesson but is out of touch with them. I cannot imagine any person over the age of 12 reading this as a serious story. Should have stopped after Go Ask Alice which was probably written when the author was alot clser to the age group she was writing about so she had a better understanding of teens at that time.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Horrible

    Full of propaganda and clearly not written in the main character's voice. What kid talks like that after the 1980's? She should've stopped after Go Ask Alice.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    touching

    this book was very touching. you really feel for nancy and her situation. i couldn't put this book down it was amazing

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    Great read

    I read this book in 8th grade, i'm now 23 years old and i still can remember the book and its impact that it had on me at that age. It was such a great book that it was passed around among my classmates and sadly i dont know where it is now, but where ever it is i hope that it can open other's eyes as it did mine. I had forgotten the title and wanted to recommend it to girls today thanks to B&N i found many more books that will be useful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    So gullible

    An obvious forgery. After a brutal rape, what young girl would exclaim 'Oh chips! Why does life have to be such a pile of chips anyways?' Young female readers will come away with the notion that the wages of sex are death, abortion is murder, and rape is kind of your fault anyways.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 1999

    U SHOULD READ THIS!!!!!

    OK HERES MY OPINION OF THE STORY- IT WAS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ AND THE SADEST I CRYED MY HEART OUT =( IT MADE ME FEEL AS IF I KNEW HER AND SHARED HER FEELING IT MADE ME FEEL THAT I SHOULD BE THERE RIGHT WITH HER COMFORTING HER THROUGH HER LAST DAYS THAT SHE HAD-WHEN SHE DIED I FELT SO SAD I CRYED AND CRYED AND COULDNT STOP BECAUSE IT WAS SO DISAPOINTING THAT SHE DIED OF A HORRIBLE DISEASE BECAUSE SOME GUY W/ NO FEELINGS A ALL GAVE HER IT AND MADE HER FEEL LIKE HE LOVED HER THEN JUST DID THAT 2 HER IT WAS HORRIBLE-I WISH THEY WOULD FIND HIM AND PUT HIM IN JAIL-IT WAS SO SAD HOW COULD HE DO THAT 2 A 14 YR OLD-I CANT STAND THINKING SOMETHING LIKE THAT-SO N-E-WAYS U SHOULD GO BUY THE BOOK BECAUSE U WONT BE ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN AND U WILL READ IT TILL U R CRYING BECAUSE OF THE PAIN OR CRYING BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT SHE WOULD MARRY LEW AND I WISH SHE HAD ITS JUST NOT FAIR OR CRYING BECAUSE OF HER DEATH- ITS A TRUE SAD STORY AND BY THE TIME U R DONE WITH IT U WILL LOVE HER AND CRY W/ THE REST OF HER FAMILY BECAUSE OF HER DEATH-SO GO BUY IT ITS THE BEST I COULD EVER READ- AND GO ASK ALICE WAS GOOD 2 THAT ALSO MADE ME CRY =( -

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    :(:(:(

    Omg.....like this put knots in my stomach. Its so sad and it makes me want to never trust people again. *STRANGER DANGER 911*

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2012

    You should read It happened to Nancy because Nancy never gave up

    You should read It happened to Nancy because Nancy never gave up even though she had AIDS and people still loved her the way she was no matter what problems she had. I learned to be safe with the people I don't know very well. I liked learning about AIDS so I know how not to get the disease.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2006

    It Happened to Nancy: A True Story from the Diary of a Teenager

    This book is good but it is SOOOOO obvious that Nancy was never a real girl. Almost right after she finds she has the AIDS virus, she can only talk about how much she likes Lew.But even worse then the glaring obvious is that throughout the book, it's clear that Nancy blames herself for her rape. She talks about how guilty and dirty she feels and when she tells a nun she was raped, the nun tells her that God will 'probably forgive her.' Forgive her for what? Anybody who has been raped, DO NOT READ THIS! You will feel like rape is your fault and if you get AIDS, you deserve it. (Also, Lew is a jerk. Just thought I'd point that out.)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014

    When i got raped

    When i got raped i was drunk and i dont remember much. All i remember is i was scared and i didnt know watt was going on and everyone that found out somehow blamed me i was 12 and it was like one week before my birthday and know im almost 15 and still wake up crying with nightmares about it. And i dont feel like i can talk to anyone cuz no one would understand. :'(

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Very emotional book

    Very emotional tale of a you girls life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Excellent

    Every teen should read this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Rape is never your falt tell someone

    I went 7years thinking it was my falt, the only thing i did wrong was not tell someone right away he could be sitting in jail now but hes not he is still out there maybe looking for his next girl

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