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Fade to Black

Review

Fade to Black

Here's the story. It's really easy to follow. Alex Crusan, the new kid in town, is HIV-positive. Everyone at school avoids him, especially semi-popular jock Clinton Cole. One morning on his way to get donuts, Alex is attacked. Someone in a blue letterman's jacket bashes in the windshield of Alex's car with a baseball bat, injuring Alex in the attack. Daria Bickell, special ed student, sees Clinton at the scene. The answer is obvious: Clinton attacked Alex.

At least, the answer seems obvious.

As Alex, Clinton and Daria tell the story of the attack from their own points of view, we learn more about the events leading up to the attack and how their lives change after it. Alex makes the acquaintance of Jennifer, who turns out to be his friend for all the wrong reasons. He also decides to come clean about two major cover-ups in his life. Clinton faces trouble at home as well as at school. Daria, caught between what she knows and wanting to please her mother, reveals her side slowly, always concerned with doing the right thing.

As the saying goes, "There are two sides to every story, and somewhere in between, there is the truth." In this case, there are three sides to the story, and they're all handled very well. Clinton, though known for his bullying, is not an evil character without chance of redemption. Alex, tired of his family playing him for the innocent victim, grows up a lot in the ten days between the day of the accident and the day he returns to school.

Alex Flinn is the queen of writing troubled yet multidimensional teens, and she doesn't disappoint with FADE TO BLACK. Read it, and question all your first impressions.

Reviewed by Carlie Webber on April 12, 2005

Fade to Black
by Alex Flinn

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0060568399
  • ISBN-13: 9780060568399