The Miseducation of Cameron Post

( 24 )

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 ...

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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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.

A 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

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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: 2/7/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 689,476
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

emily m. danforth was born and raised in Miles City, Montana. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Montana and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she’s worked as the assistant director of the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference. She teaches creative writing and literature courses at Rhode Island College and is coeditor of The Cupboard. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Rating: 4.5 I'll admit that I really had no idea what I'd be g

    Rating: 4.5

    I'll admit that I really had no idea what I'd be getting into whenever I started The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I had only read the first paragraph of the blurb before deciding to read the book. Even if I had read the entire blurb, I don't think it would have prepared me for this book.

    While there are so many good things about this book, it was the writing that ultimately won me over. This has to be the best written YA book I've read in such a long time. Considering the length of the book (over 450 pages), I was kind of surprised. A book of that length, YA or not, it could fall into the murky waters of unneeded story. Not here, not at all. Every page felt needed and important. The writing was beautiful, crisp and clean. The story was genuine and interesting.

    All the good aside, why am I giving this book a 4.5 rating? The ending, the last chapter. The ending left me utterly disappointed. After having such a well written story, the ending felt rushed and thrown together. It was almost like the author didn't know how to properly end the book and went with this instead.

    The disappointing ending aside, it was still a wonderful book and I certainly recommend it.

    You can see all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Utterly brilliant. I couldn't put this book down. I couldn't he

    Utterly brilliant.

    I couldn't put this book down. I couldn't help but root for Cameron the whole way through, and I felt what she was feeling throughout the entire story. There are certain things about each character (like Cameron's movie watching following her parent's death,) that make them seem entirely real as opposed to cookie-cutter
    cliches. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is one of those books that, after I finished it I had to take a deep breath, recollect, and attempt to return to reality.
    I'm not sure about the previous review that stated, "I would personally not recommend this book for anyone younger than 17." as I am thirteen, but that could just be me. Either way, brilliant book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Coming of age and coming out

    This book was a pleasure to read, and although it is technically a young adult book, I am a 40-something! I would have really appreciated reading this book in college. It gives us a character with a distinctive voice, a strong sense of place (eastern Montana is almost a character itself), and an original story. I am reminded of Catcher in the Rye - the lead character is not perfect, and she has plenty of faults, but you find yourself believing in her and rooting for her. I would personally not recommend this book for anyone younger than 17. But I do recommend this book and hope the author writes more!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    The wit of the main character, her keen observations about the o

    The wit of the main character, her keen observations about the outer world, and and her richly quirky inner world are enough to make this novel worth reading. So too the portrait of growing up in a small town. Add to that an appropriately nuanced treatment of the complexities of coming to terms with a minority sexual orientation and the varying responses of those around her, and you have the makings of what some have rightly called an "important" novel. It's the complexity, the not settling for easy stereotypes, the generous treatment that the author gives to a range of viewpoints and experiences that really make this book stand out as one worth reading--and worth sharing or using as a conversation starter.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    By far one of the best books I've read in a while

    It was interesting, sad, funny, annoying. I absolutely adored the book, but most of all it was real. Cameron Post was a real girl, with some real emotions, and she was highly relatable. I would definitely recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Insanely relatable

    I loved this book. Cameron is such a relatable character. I am a Christian and recently realized that I am a lesbian through my first crush which also happened to be on my best friend, so as I was reading about the treatments they went through, I found myself wondering and actively trying to figure out what my own iceburg would look like. Overall, I reccommend this for anyone and everyone. As a beginning writer myself, I can only dream of being even half as good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Amazing. Simply amazing

    I read this book on the reccomendation of my best friend who, barely a month later was my first kiss. The girl who reccmended thiswas the girl made me finally accept my homosexuality.
    This book was amazing in it own, but was made more meaningful to be because of the correlations I made reading it. The guilt, the fear of being caught, and the incredible intensity of a forbidden relationship were portrayed perfectly.
    The scene that had the most impact on we was the one where Cam was found out. I can remember that fear, and I know for a fact "they know, they know, they know" was running through my mind too.
    The characters were extremely well developed, relatable, and lovable. I also liked the way is showed both points of view on the subject. Coming from a Catholic family myself I know how homosexuality is recieved.
    Reading this helped me to further accept who I am, and has made me grateful that my parents weren't "disgusted" enough to send me to a gay rehab like Promise.
    This book grasped my attention an held me until the end. I would recomend this book to people my age (16) but not anybody much younger. While I think it is a must read, I highly suggest waiting until the reader is old enough for the mature content found in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    I felt like I could get close to Cameron.

    This was a very insightful book, and I was disappointed when it ended. Cameron was a very well deveoped character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    I cannot help but give this book the 100% rating it absolutley d

    I cannot help but give this book the 100% rating it absolutley deserves. I read alot, and I have read a lot of books that I have loved. But I don't love this one, more like it took my worldview and completely toppeled it over, then abrutly ended and left me to think up my own ending, the way I would change it, and ingenious, albiet frustrating, conclusion. I have read many classics, and classics are boring, because they address issues that don't confront us today. This is a modern classic, in the truest sense, and should be shared with everyone, everywhere, because gay rights are a huge issue that confront us all the time. It is not for all ages, but it is possibly the best book I have read. It doesn't have a moral that is obvious for you to pick out and focus on and write an essay about. It gives you the information, and it makes you uncomfortable in some parts but it captivates you in every way, but forces you to make your own decision about right and wrong. I wish I could give it six stars, or ten. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    It's weird, I've always read books that "shock" reader

    It's weird, I've always read books that "shock" readers because they supposedly break cliches, and usually those books bore me half to death, because, honestly, isn't the whole idea of nuance a cliche in itself? I hate most teen fiction books because they're always in first person, and the characters are always slow on the uptake, and it's always about something that climaxes in some boring scene that I don't really care about. Not so with this book. Nowhere on this book does it claim to break boundaries, or be an amazing heartbreaking story, but that's exactly what it was.
    I'll admit, I did not read the inside cover very thoroughly when I first picked this book up. Something about the fact she kissed a girl, became friends with a cowgirl...I really wasn't paying attention. When I read it, though, I was amazed. A story about a lesbian girl, yes, but what the author had done was brilliant- instead of painting it as something we all need to embrace, she wrote about being gay as just simply who the girl was, and when Cam gets sent to the Christian camp to be "straightened out" the camp leaders actually do make valuable points, which I don't know, I thought it was brilliant, because this book is very R-rated and would certainly be banned on several booklists if it weren't for the fact that the author showed everyone's point of view in a sensible way and didn't get all defensive like some books do. I loved Cameron and her multi-dimensionallness , and I loved Jamie and Adam and Lindsey and nearly every character. Like the reader below me, I'm thirteen, and I can't ever picture myself recommending this book to anyone my age, but if you don't mind a lot of cursing and kissing and whatnot, then go ahead and read this book. It is one of those books you will want to read again and again. Stick through the slow parts; the story is very beautiful and very worthwhile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    This book was fantastic. I was happy, sad, heart broken, sick to

    This book was fantastic. I was happy, sad, heart broken, sick to my stomach, and wanting more when it ended. So much of it fit with the small town world I grew up in that it was relatable in every way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Completely breathtaking.

    I could not have ever imagined how amazing this book could be. I loved the characters, the plot, the setting... Everything was perfect. This story is worth more than you pay for and I recommend it to everyone, not just lesbians. This is a story that everyone - no matter what age - can enjoy and love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Great story!

    This book has great characters and a great plot to go with it. I would have liked a little follow up on what happens to the characters once they have "run away" from Promises, but I really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to any teen struggling with loss and/or who they are.

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    Posted October 31, 2012

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    Posted January 9, 2013

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    Posted May 17, 2013

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    Posted January 29, 2013

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    Posted March 27, 2012

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    Posted May 21, 2013

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    Posted December 1, 2012

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