Advantages Interesting read about an important topic
Disadvantages A bit dated now
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The Beat Goes On is a novel by Adele Minchin. It was published by Livewire Books For Teenagers on 10th May 2001 and is 164 pages long.
I have quite a big problem with YA books that make teenagers out to be something they’re not. Set in Manchester, I felt like Adele Minchin really got these teenage characters right. From the way they spoke to their excitement about going out to clubs underage, I could picture myself in their place. After all, I was 15 when this book was published so around the same age as the characters and getting up to the same kinds of things. Even though I’m now 24, I could still relate to the characters in a big way. Some of the pop culture references are now quite dated, the message still stays loud and clear.The issue of teenagers with HIV is brought up very early on in the story and I was very thankful for this. Being about such an important topic, I didn’t want this book to skirt around it in any way. The information about HIV is quite detailed, from how Emma contracted the disease to what her body was and would be going through. It was very interesting to see how Emma was coping with having HIV and how she was trying to still lead a life as normal as possible. I couldn’t possibly even begin to comprehend how difficult it must have been for her to realise how much her life was going to change and to figure out how to deal with something that big.
Another thing that I really liked about this book was Leyla. It was nice to see her and Emma stay so close through a time so hard and I was glad to see that Leyla never took a step back. She was always there for her cousin, no matter what, and would have done anything she asked if she thought it would have helped her a little bit. The news affected Leyla in such a big way and it really made me think about what I would have done if someone so close to me came to me with the same kind of thing. Emma’s HIV also makes Leyla think about things in her own life and ultimately, changes the way she thinks about everything and the people around her.Even though The Beat Goes On has a strong message, it was nice to see some romance in there as well. Leyla and Darren’s relationship didn’t take anything away from everything else that was happening but it managed to give the story a lighter feel at times. I think that teenage readers could get a little overwhelmed if it wasn’t for this aspect of the story. Other issues being dealt with are teenagers figuring out their own identity and the problems of family dynamics. I truly feel that there is a lot that teenagers, as well as adults, can relate to in this book.
I wish that I had read more as a teenager and had found this book. I really believe that it could make people think differently about their actions and what the repercussions could be. If I could go back to being my 15 year old self, I would give me this book as a gift. For any parents not knowing how to approach this subject with their kids, then this would be an ideal way.
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