Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

When 12-year-old Cameron Post's grandma calls her home from a sleepover in the middle of the night to tell her that her parents were killed in a car crash, the first thing Cameron feels is relief.  Relief, and then terrible guilt, because the first thought she has is that her parents will never have to know she was just kissing her best friend Irene.

Growing up in small town Miles City, Montana is not an easy thing to do.  Especially not when she's the girl whose parents died when you were 12.  And especially not when Cameron is pretty sure she like girls - and she knows she has to be very, very careful about who she can be herself with.  Still, Cameron has her grandma and her aunt Ruth, who came to live with them after Cameron's parents died.  Ruth is not the greatest substitution for a mother, but she means well, loves Cameron, and wants what's best for her, even if 'what's best' is filtered through Ruth's strong evangelical beliefs that Cameron does not share.  She also has go-to Taco Johns pal and fill-in prom date Jamie, summer swim team partner and outrageous, free advice-giving (whether Cameron wants it our not) how-to-be-out-and-proud Lindsey, and her BFF, the lovely Coley Taylor.  Beautiful Coley, authentic cowgirl and FFA queen, who Cameron has a mad crush on, and who very definitely has a boyfriend.

As Cameron and Coley become inseparable during their sophomore year, Cameron finds herself walking a thin line between friendship and love.  And when it seems possible that Coley might feel more than friendship for Cameron, Cameron has to decide what to do - play it safe, or risk it all for love and a maybe?

For older teens, Emily M. Danforth's first novel is a complex, complicated, heartfelt coming-of-age and coming out story.  Cameron Post is one tough cookie - strong, sure, feisty, and really funny, she deals with everything life hands her, which is a whole lot of mess.  You'll cry, laugh, cringe, smile, get really furious really fast, and cheer out loud as Cameron becomes more confident in her life, her choices, and herself.  If you've ever questioned who you are or who you want to be, can't wait to jump into the big, awesome world that's waiting for you after high school, or know that you're more than who people see, you'll want to take a few days to listen to Cameron tell her story.  Nominated for the 2013 William C. Morris award for debut authors, fans of A.S. King's Ask the Passengers, The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George, or Malinda Lo's novels (who not only included Cameron Post in her Top Things of 2012, but put it in the number one spot!) absolutely should put this one on their reading list!

(now reading Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone - hello, time traveler romance!)

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