Positive : A Memoir

4.28 (2,881 ratings by Goodreads)
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An astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators--a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status--and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige's memoir, co-written with bestselling author Ali Benjamin (The Truth About Jellyfish), calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty--and above all, to be Positive.

Includes twenty-five photos from Paige's personal collection throughout.

Paige continues to speak publicly about HIV and bullying, participate in conferences, and contribute to advocacy projects in and beyond her home state of Indiana. Paige has served as an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. She hopes that her continued work in this field can help change the way her generation thinks and talks about HIV/AIDS and bullying. To all HIV-positive youth, Paige consistently affirms, "You are living with HIV, but HIV is not who you are."
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 163 x 236 x 28mm | 454g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0062342517
  • 9780062342515
  • 613,114

Back cover copy

Paige Rawl was an ordinary girl.

Cheerleader, soccer player, honor roll student. One of the good kids at her middle school.

Then, on an unremarkable day, Paige disclosed the one thing that made her different: her HIV-positive status.

It didn't matter that she was born with the disease or that her illness posed no danger to her classmates.

Within hours, the bullying began.

They called her PAIDS. Left cruel notes on her locker. Talked in whispers about her and mocked her openly.

She turned to school administrators for help. Instead of assisting her, they ignored her urgent pleas . . . and told her to stop the drama.

She had never felt more alone.

One night, desperate for escape, Paige found herself in front of the medicine cabinet, staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

Finding comfort in steadfast friends and a community of other kids touched by HIV, Paige discovered the strength inside of her, and she embarked on a mission to change things for the bullied kids who would follow in her footsteps.

In this astonishing memoir, Paige immerses the reader in her experience and tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal: a story of one girl overcoming relentless bullying by choosing to be Positive.
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Review quote

"This realistic and honest biography of a young woman living with HIV will draw readers in, shedding light on this difficult topic. The book beautifully conveys what it's like to grow up with HIV, dispelling myths about the virus and imparting useful knowledge."--School Library Journal
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Rating details

2,881 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 47% (1,366)
4 37% (1,061)
3 13% (375)
2 2% (58)
1 1% (21)

Our customer reviews

This must be my week of branching out from what I usually read and being rewarded. First I tried and liked a book narrated in poetry, and now a memoir. These types of reads aren't usually what I go searching for, though I have read some on cystic fibrosis and eating disorders. But when this came on my radar, I just had to get my hands on it. A girl who has HIV and with a suicide attempt but has so much hope now and life so turned back into the innocence before telling her friends about her HIV status. This to me, reads like a fiction, but it hurts my heart to know that the cruelty and hatred really happened. It is based on real characters. Some for the good but not all. I couldn't help but cheer every time that Paige learned more about her self worth and was able to put little piece by little shard of the painful time in middle school when she was bullied for a disease that was not her fault, and despite what a lot of people are wrong about, is not easy to spread in a social situation. The relationship Paige has with her mom is amazing. Her mom's attention to detail and being a yes mom really touched me. She was doing everything she could to keep herself and her daughter healthy and have the fullest life. But Paige's voice is what got me addicted. Unlike most fiction, we get a deeper look into her background. We get to the see the pills, the doctors on one side, that made her childhood different, and then her pageants, where she gained so many people skills and confidence. At first Paige's friendship with Jasmine seemed so perfect for a middle school friendship. They were always together, talking about everything from boys to birthday parties. But I guess that middle school friendships, or at least not all of them can handle such a weighty secret. And though unfortunately this friendship along with Lila, Yasmine's sister continues to be a sore spot and source of pain for her. I was glad to see the people in the book that stood by Paige, who let her know that it wasn't right what people had said and done to her and about her. They shared smiles, secrets and helped to lift her up. I loved hearing about the Aids walks, the camp for kids touched by hiv/aids where Paige was really able to be free. I am so proud of her that she was able to turn something awful, and then share with others through talks about bullying and the relation to suicide, getting involved with law making, and hopefully saving one other person, one at a time, that its never okay to say or do mean things to another person. No matter how different they seem, they all have a heart and soul that can be broken. Bottom Line: Powerful message delivered by a strong young lady.show more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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