Gr 5-9-Just when 13-year-old Lacy thinks that competitive swimming is what matters most to her, she learns that her older brother has AIDS and wants to come home. At first her parents' denial of his gayness transfers to his illness, and Lacy feels alone with her grief. While the family cares for him, a confusing array of emotions shakes her confidence. Yet she speaks out about AIDS at school and, when she says goodbye to her brother, she is able to verbalize all of the things she needs to say to him. Realistic portrayal of Jack's illness will provide readers with information about AIDS and an opportunity to empathize with those affected by it, but this novel loses its way at times. Tensions are resolved too easily and, except for Lacy herself, characterization is thin. A subplot in which she struggles to excel on the school swim team despite her turmoil is predictable but believable.-Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Thirteen-year-old Lacy, her life full of friends, middle school, and swimming, is unprepared for her mother's announcement that Lacy's beloved older brother, Jack, has AIDS. Too ill to live alone, he has asked his family if he may return home. Gripping as well as poignant, this book is a tribute to all families who nurse a loved one through the final months of a fatal illness, especially one as devastating as AIDS. Davis does not sugarcoat the illness and its effects upon other family members. She allows Lacy to recall her father's fury at Jack's disclosure of his homosexuality, her parents' insistence on the secrecy of his illness, and the adults' ambivalence about his return home. Once he is home, the gradual deterioration, the wasting away of his body and mind, are constant reminders that death is imminent. Likewise, they are constant reminders of the physical and mental toll such an illness takes on the family--the vomit and the sweats, the sleepless nights, the jealousy of usurped time. A realistic, accurate portrait of the caretaking families that love people with AIDS.