Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
Published by:Balzar + Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, in 2012
Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
I was a teen of the 90's. The grunge scruffiness, the bands trying to make a mark, the general questioning of the age. Who am I and why did I used to wear florescent shirts and all that jazz. Reading a book set in that era was nice, especially one that wasn't focused on the popular culture of the times but instead the living in the culture of those times. It felt familiar.
The subject matter was less personal but was still familiar. The story of a girl trying to find her place and her self during her teen years in the 90s sounds like the story of my life. Less like my life was the life of Cameron Post. Her parents die suddenly in a car crash and she's relieved - relieved they will never find out that she was kissing a girl at the time of their crash. Once she is orphaned, Cameron has to live with her well intentioned but old fashioned Grandmother and her very conservative and Christian aunt Ruth. She knows her home life will never be the same and knows that to fit in in her small town she's going to have to lay low and blend in, no matter what inner angst she is feeling. Then, SHE moves to town - beautiful cowgirl Coley Taylor with her perfect life and her perfect boyfriend. Cameron and Coley strike up an intense friendship, one which becomes intense in many ways. When the intensity turns to something physical, Cameron is sent away by her Aunt to be "fixed". Cam is forced to face the reality of what it will mean to deny her true self - and the reality of figuring out who her true self really is.
This book was visually quite beautiful - the descriptions of vistas, towns and places were striking and appealing to the reader. Cameron was a character I enjoyed meeting - and about whom I'd love to read more. Danforth scripted her characters beautifully and believably, and their joys and angst were quite visible and tangible as you navigated their lives. Character, setting, plot - all of these tenants of storytelling were beautifully developed and left the reader informed and wanting more.
This is one book I can't wait to share with my students.
I rate this book 5/5.