Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 Star Review: Positive (Paige Rawl)

Positive: A MemoirHardback, 288 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by HarperCollins
ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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 calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive. 
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Paige was born HIV Positive and bullied severely in middle school because of her HIV status. Her classmates called her cruel nicknames, such as PAIDS. Her soccer coach even made a joke about how her HIV status could help the team. And the school administrators let her down by not protecting her. After leaving her middle school, she decided to take a stand and started to speak out sharing her story. At the age of fourteen, Paige was granted special permission to become the youngest person to ever be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Educator. She even pleaded to congress in her home state of Indiana and helped pass the Anti-bullying Bill #1423 that was affective July 1, 2013.

All through high school Paige was the guest speaker for the I Need You to Listen, Hear, and Understand Me TOUR that was sponsored by Indianapolis Urban League, Indiana AIDS Fund, Indiana State Department of Health, Marion County Public Health Department, Teen Damien, and United Way. This tour travels through Indiana educating youth at schools and churches about HIV/AIDS. In 2013, this tour also added a bullying tour which Paige has had the opportunity to be the guest for as well. Paige has had the opportunity to travel on a national level while working with many organizations, sharing her story to try and reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS.
Paige has also been involved with Project Kindle as a part of Speak Out that travels to schools across the country to educate about HIV/AIDS and for the students to hear stories from personal kids impacted by the disease. Project Kindle also has a camp called Camp Kindle that Paige became involved with in 2010 as a camper and is now a counselor at the camp. This camp is for kids and teens who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Paige has been treated for her HIV status at Riley Children's Hospital at the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center since her diagnosis. She was named a 2014 Riley Champion. A Riley Champion is someone who is a Riley patient who has inspired communities with their bravery and commitment to help others. They reach beyond their own medical challenges to give meaning to their struggles. Paige also is a Riley Ambassador and travels to different dance marathons, across the state of Indiana, sharing her Riley story. During her freshman year of college, Paige had the opportunity to be apart of the Ball State University Dance Marathon Riley Relations committee.
Paige has been honored numerous times for her involvement in the HIV/AIDS Community. Paige made the list of 5 Female Stigma Warriors Who Will Inspire in 2014 by Stigma Action Network, Top 10 Young Women to Watch in 2014 by the Emma Willard School, and 10 Kids Who Made A Difference in 2013 by Mom.Me. Paige was also selected as one of the 5 Years, 5 Heroes. Five people were selected for their extraordinary contributions to the HIV/AIDS community sponsored by Bristol Myer Squibb. She was given the Excellence Award for her recognition for her contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS presented by Positive Living, inc. Paige was also selected as one of 5 Seventeen Magazine's Pretty Amazing Finalist in 2013. During her senior year of high school Paige was chosen by her administrators to receive the Outstanding Leadership Award and chosen by her class as Most Likely to Change the World.

Paige has been featured in magazines such as POZ, Seventeen, GLAMOUR UK, Girlfriend (Australia's version of Seventeen), Indianapolis Monthly, and was featured in and on the cover of Scholastic Action magazine. Paige has also been featured in newspapers such as the Indianapolis Star, USA Today, Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Ball State University Daily News, Boston Globe, Indianapolis Recorder, and numerous papers across the country. Paige has also been featured on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, The Doctors, FOX 59 Female Focus feature, Channel One News World AIDS Day special, and Antibullying PSA sponsored by Kohl's Caring for Kids.

Paige is currently a student at Ball State University, majoring in Molecular Biology. She plans to continue to travel and speak to reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS and be an advocate against bullying.

Contact Paige:

"Surviving my bullies, 
finding hope, 
and changing the world."

Gripping, Emotional, Phenomenal, Incredible, Life-Changing.....Those are just a few of the words that I felt as I was reading this book. The issues that Paige Rawl had to deal with in her life just totally blew me away. No one should be treated the way that she was treated and no one just have to face the kind of bullying she did. 

Paige Rawl was a young girl who was born with HIV. Her childhood was pretty much normal except for the fact that she had to take a dozen pills (or more) three times a day. Because she took her medication faithfully and followed all of her Dr's advice she had never been sick and been forced to reveal her disease. Paige grew up not thinking that she was any different than any of the other kids her age and didn't really understand why her mother worried so much. 

That is until the day that she trusted her best friend in the whole world and shared her secret. That day she began a journey in life than no one could even imagine. She was forced to learn the truth behind her disease and about her disease. Her life would never be the same. 

Bullying is a real problem within the schools right now and things need to change. This memoir should be in every library in every school in the United States. If more kids read this book then I believe it would touch them the same way it has touched me. It is truly remarkable. 

This book was so fascinating and amazing. Paige had to go through so many trials and tribulations and face so many obstacles at such a young age. I cannot even begin to imagine being in her shoes. She is just an true inspiration to me and this book is remarkable. I could truly go on and on about this book but this is something that you have to experience for yourself. Her fight and will to survive is just breathtaking.

"We all hope for a cure and compassion for those living with this disease.
 We have a unique story.
 Being impacted by HIV does not define who we are."

To learn more about the fight against bullying and HIV please visit Paige Rawl's website. 

All quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Harper Teen for allowing me to read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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