Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keeping Secrets by LeAnne Hardy

Today (Dec. 1, 2013) is World AIDS Day. Today is also the release date of  Keeping Secrets, a novel about a young South African facing the reality of HIV in her family.

Sindiswe is fifteen years old and is the most promising figure skater the South African Skating Federation has ever had. She was able to spend time over the summer at Lake Placid for training and competition. After winning the title in her division, Sindi was approached by a wealthy American for sponsorship.

But Sindi couldn't stay in the U.S. Back in South Africa her father was very ill. He was so weak he could no longer work. Sindi was afraid it was AIDS. She had to go home at the end of the summer to be with her family because she did not know how long she would still have her father.

Sindi tries to be brave when her father dies of pneumonia a few months later. She faces a community that fears AIDS and shuns those who might have it. She has seen the stigma attached to the family survivors. Does she dare tell anyone the true reason her father died? And will she ever skate again?

This book is very honest about HIV and how it can be acquired. This book was written for teen readers and parents would want to read the book first before letting those under thirteen read it.

But it is not just a book for teens. It is a book that helps every one of us better understand HIV/AIDS and how to relate to those affected by it.

LeAnne shares that with medication and education, the rate of AIDS deaths is in decline and the rate of new infections appears to have stabilized. Yet there are over five million people in South Africa living with HIV. That is ten percent of the population. LeAnne has vividly portrayed the seriousness of the disease in this novel.

There is an extensive discussion guide at the end of the novel and it would be a great choice for a teen reading group.

LeAnne recently posted a blog about HIV/AIDS and you can read it here.

Watch a book trailer here.

LeAnne's previous book, Crossovers, will be only $0.99 for both Kindle and Nook through December 6.

LeAnne Hardy lived in South Africa from 2005 to 2008. She worked with children infected by HIV & AIDS in after school clubs in Tembisa township. She and her husband also spent time in Ethiopia, Brazil, England and Mozambique. They now live in Wisconsin. Figure skating is her hobby. You can find out more at her website, and you can follow her blog at

You can buy the Kindle version of Keeping Secrets here, a print copy here and a Nook Book here.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author for the purpose of this review.

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