At Risk

At Risk

by Alice Hoffman
The New York Times bestseller from the author of The Marriage of Opposites: In 1980s America, a family copes with their daughter’s terrifying diagnosis.

In a lovely old house near the coast of Massachusetts, the Farrells go through the routines of a typical August morning. Eight-year-old Charlie, a junior biologist and dinosaur expert, tries to collect one of his insect specimens. His sister, Amanda, a talented gymnast who at eleven years old is already saving her money to try out for the Olympics, prepares for her last meet of the summer. Ivan, their absent-minded father, is involved with his work as an astronomer. Out in the garden, his wife, Polly, wonders how she can trick her children into eating more zucchini.

They are a family as unique and ordinary as any other, but their world will soon be shattered when Amanda is diagnosed with the disease that has been making headlines lately: AIDS. The new and still-mysterious ailment scares them—and their friends and neighbors as well. In an instant, everything that gave their lives meaning is ripped away, and the intimacy that once came so naturally vanishes. Too overcome with grief to turn to each other, Ivan and Polly seek solace elsewhere. Charlie is abandoned by his best friend and, for long stretches at a time, forgotten by his parents. Amanda, who holds on to her dreams so tightly, must somehow find a way to let go.

Torn apart by the prospect of their loss, Polly, Ivan, and Charlie must find the courage to come back together again—for Amanda’s sake and for their own. At Risk is an exquisite book about true sorrow and even truer devotion.

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