The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

4.5 28
by emily m. danforth
     
 

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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 is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows

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Overview

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 is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth 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.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship—one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. 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.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Danforth’s impressive debut, a teenage girl processes her sexual awakening as a lesbian against the backdrop of her parents’ sudden death in a car accident. Cam’s reckoning with her sexuality develops through a series of vignette-like early chapters that focus on the girls that come and go in Cam’s life—and there are several of them—creating narrative moments that will have teens rereading the sexy bits like an earlier generation did with Judy Blume’s Forever. The story is riveting, beautiful, and full of the kind of detail that brings to life a place (rural Montana), a time (the early 1990s), and a questioning teenage girl. Halfway through, the novel makes an abrupt turn when Cam’s secret is revealed, and her evangelical Aunt Ruth sends her off to God’s Promise, a residential school designed to help teens “break free from... sexual sin and confusion by welcoming Jesus Christ into their lives.” Danforth’s story gains even more complexity and dimension from this shift, further developing the political, religious, and coming-of-age themes introduced in the first half. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Feb.) ¦
Booklist
"[An] ambitious literary novel, a multidimensional coming-of-age."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Cameron is a memorable heroine with an unforgettable and important story to tell, and she does so with wit, emotion, and depth.
VOYA - Kate Neff
Most of us experience changes during adolescence, but Cameron Post has more to deal with than most of her peers. At twelve, Cameron is beginning to explore her feelings for her best friend, Irene. She and Irene have just begun sharing secret kisses when Cameron's parents die in a car crash. Cameron's pain is compounded by the fact that she was sharing a bed with Irene the night her parents die, and her first emotion is relief that her parents will now never find out about her clandestine activities. Cameron's grandmother and her aunt Ruth, who she does not know very well, take over caring for Cameron, but neither woman knows the secret she is keeping. Irene leaves town soon after Cameron's parents' deaths to go to a private boarding school, and although Cameron continues thinking about Irene, she soon meets Lindsey, a more liberated teen who tries to free Cameron's inhibitions and teach her more about gay culture, but it is not until Cameron gets to know Coley Taylor that the most dramatic changes occur in her life. Danforth's story is clearly based heavily on her own life, and that helps the story resonate and brings Cameron's voice to life. It might not have broad appeal, but to a teen struggling with his or her own sexuality, it could be a very important book. Reviewer: Kate Neff
Kirkus Reviews
Set in rural Montana in the early 1990s, this lesbian coming-of-age story runs the gamut from heart-rending to triumphant, epic to mundane. The story opens just after Cameron's first kiss with a girl and just before the life-changing news that Cameron's parents have died in a car accident. Cam is 12 when readers first meet her, but several years pass over the course of the book's nearly 500 pages. Carefully crafted symbols--a dollhouse into which Cam puts stolen trinkets and mementos, the lake where her mother once escaped disaster only to die there 30 years later--provide a backbone for the story's ever-shifting array of characters and episodes, each rendered in vibrant, almost memoirlike detail. The tense relationship between Cam's sexuality and her family and community's religious beliefs is handled with particular nuance, as are her romantic and sexual entanglements, from a summer fling with an out, proud and smug Seattlite to an all-encompassing love for a seemingly straight female friend. Even when events take a dark and gut-punchingly inevitable turn, the novel remains at its heart a story of survival and of carving out space even in a world that wants one's annihilation. Rich with detail and emotion, a sophisticated read for teens and adults alike. (Fiction. 14 & up)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Cameron is a memorable heroine with an unforgettable and important story to tell, and she does so with wit, emotion, and depth.

Booklist (starred review)
“[An] ambitious literary novel, a multidimensional coming-of-age.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Cameron is a memorable heroine with an unforgettable and important story to tell, and she does so with wit, emotion, and depth.
Curtis Sittenfeld
“If Holden Caulfield had been a gay girl from Montana, this is the story he might have told—it’s funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully rendered. Emily Danforth remembers exactly what it’s like to be a teenager, and she has written a new classic.”
Nancy Garden
“This novel is a joy—one of the best and most honest portraits of a young lesbian I’ve read in years. Cameron Post is a bright, brash, funny main character who leaps off the page and into your heart! This is a story that keeps you reading way into the night—an absorbing, suspenseful, and important book.”
Sarah Waters
“Danforth’s narrative of a bruised young woman finding her feet in a complicated world is a tremendous achievement: strikingly unsentimental, and full of characters who feel entirely rounded and real. A story of love, desire, pain, loss—and, above all, of survival. An inspiring read.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Cameron is a memorable heroine with an unforgettable and important story to tell, and she does so with wit, emotion, and depth.
Jacqueline Woodson
“A beautifully told story that is at once engaging and thoughtful. THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST is an important book—one that can change lives. ”
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—When 12-year-old Cam learns that her parents have died in a car accident, her first reaction is relief that they will never know that just hours before she was kissing her best friend, Irene. Shortly after the funeral, her conservative aunt moves to Miles City, MN, to help Cam's grandmother with the caregiving, but all the churchgoing and discipline they can marshal throughout Cam's teen years can't prevent her from exploring her sexuality further, finally falling for Coley Taylor, a "straight" girl who wants to experiment. When they eventually get caught, Coley tells all, blaming everything on Cam, and Aunt Ruth sends her niece off to God's Promise, a conversion therapy school and camp. It is here that Cam meets gay teens like herself, and she begins to deal with the guilt and trauma of her adolescence, not through the pious teachings of the camp but through the love of her friends. This finely crafted, sophisticated coming-of-age debut novel is multilayered, finessing such issues as loss, first love, and friendship. An excellent read for both teens and adults.—Betty S. Evans, Missouri State University, Springfield

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062020567
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/07/2012
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
623,966
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.70(d)
Lexile:
1120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Curtis Sittenfeld

“If Holden Caulfield had been a gay girl from Montana, this is the story he might have told—it’s funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully rendered. Emily Danforth remembers exactly what it’s like to be a teenager, and she has written a new classic.”

Sarah Waters

“Danforth’s narrative of a bruised young woman finding her feet in a complicated world is a tremendous achievement: strikingly unsentimental, and full of characters who feel entirely rounded and real. A story of love, desire, pain, loss—and, above all, of survival. An inspiring read.”

Nancy Garden

“This novel is a joy—one of the best and most honest portraits of a young lesbian I’ve read in years. Cameron Post is a bright, brash, funny main character who leaps off the page and into your heart! This is a story that keeps you reading way into the night—an absorbing, suspenseful, and important book.”

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