Guest Review: Earthshine - Theresa Nelson | HIV/AIDS in YA Lit Week

HIV/AIDS in YA Literature Week

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If you would like to read a book on the subject, go over to the non exhaustive bibliography I compiled, don't hesitate to suggest any book missing!

Today I am welcoming Carly from Writing From The Tub to review the amazing Earthshine, written by Theresa Nelson.


Published: 1994, Laurel Leaf

Pages: 192 pages, paperback

Acquired: Sent for review by Caroline at Portrait of a Woman for World AIDS Day

Summary (from back cover of book): Slim’s father, a charismatic actor named Mack, is dying of AIDS. Slim and Mack’s companion, Larry, help care for Mack. Soon Slim joins a support group for family members who live with people who have AIDS. There she meets Isaiah, who believes their parents can be cured by the Miracle Man in the ‘Hungry Valley’ north of Los Angeles.

Slim believes only what she sees: that her father and others are dying and no one is trying to stop it. But Isaiah’s faith in miracles rubs off on Slim, and with their family and friends they journey into the mountains to find their own moment of magic and miracles.

My review: Earthshine is one of those great novels that doesn’t age as time goes on. It was written over fifteen years ago but for me it still felt current, as though it could have just been released.

Twelve year old Slim is the heroine of Earthshine, dealing with the devastating revelation that her father is dying of AIDS. She was incredibly well written and I really felt everything she was going through – her young age and the confusion she felt amplified the emotion and I connected with her from the outset.

Isaiah was a great character as well and his positivity was heart breaking – I wanted to believe that everything was going to be okay for them but I did love that the novel is realistic from beginning to end. Although the subject matter is quite intense I do think it’s written in such a way that the novel is accessible for younger readers.

When I reviewed It Happened To Nancy earlier this year I did criticise it and I stand by that – personally I think a book like Earthshine is much more suitable to be given to younger readers to inform them about AIDS. It’s a wonderfully written story that will linger on in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.

First line: ‘Isaiah says if you leave L.A. before the morning smog burns off and head out the Five up to Hungry Valley, you can stop at the Miracle Man’s for lunch and still make it home before dark.’

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover:  3/5
Total: 15/20 (B)

Thanks a million to Carly for reviewing this book here, check out her review of The Beat Goes On by Adele Minchin she wrote for the HIV/AIDS in YA Literature Week!

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard of this one before but it sounds like an interesting read. It's quite impressive to find a book published 15 years ago that still seems current