The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam’s conservative Aunt Ruth soon moves in with Cam and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Cam keeps her secret, and no one seems to notice. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self - even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.
This book is really important. Anyone struggling with their sexuality who’s from a super-religious, old-fashioned, or homophobic family or community should read it.
Danforth put a lot on the table with Cameron Post, and she handled it all beautifully. The de-gaying school, God’s Promise, makes my stomach churn, but at the same time I understood why the people in charge had created the place, and I commend Danforth for that, for making them human, albeit misguided ones. All of the issues in Danforth’s novel were handled honestly, with no kid gloves, and she did a really good job.
Cameron, thankfully, isn’t based on the fact that she’s a lesbian. She’s someone any teenager could relate to. Cam’s a well-developed character you can’t help but care about and root for. She was the main reason the story was so compelling; I had to know what happened to her, and I got genuinely worried for her several times while I was reading.
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