I’m sure you know by now that we have our LGBTQ+ book club running and we change books every two months! Well for the months of July/August our book is The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth and I’m first to review since Sarah was pretty busy with YALC reading in July!
Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Author: Emily M. Danforth
Genre: YA, LGBTQ+, Fiction
Publication Date: 7th February 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Summary: 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, ultra-religious 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.
First off, this book surprised me. I don’t know exactly what I expected when I started but I just know that from about a quarter of the way in, it was different to my original thoughts. The synopsis is quite detailed so you do expect a lot of main plot points, but there are twists and turns I didn’t anticipate! Not that this is a bad thing at all! I actually really enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time and it’s my friend Rosanna’s favourite book, and I trust her judgement. So I had high hopes.
This was a book that focused a lot on Cam coming to terms with her own sexuality for the first half particularly, and it isn’t a very happy read. I expected it to be more about Cam and Coley and their budding ‘relationship’ but I was really shocked when it became much less about them and much more about Cam as an individual. Even though the book is of course about Cam and from her point of view, I just assumed it was more of a YA romance novel. I found myself wanting more about Cam and Coley but also I loved the fact this was more about the individual. So many YA romances don’t let the protagonist have an individual personality that isn’t just about the person they’re in love with and I always find that annoying. So this was really quite refreshing.
My only negative is probably that some of the scenes are too detailed and drawn out. I love detail in books and Danforth is really great at writing detail. However, sometimes I just felt like this was a little too descriptive. This is always a personal thing though; I know tons of people who love mass description and I know people who hate it and only like very straight to the point or dialogue filled writing.
Danforth is also wonderful at writing characters. Honestly, I love how three dimensional and complex the characters are. It would have been so easy to throw one dimensional villains into this story and split the world into good and evil. Don’t get me wrong, the themes of homophobia and conversion therapy are obviously awful and horrific but the way Cam describes the different people she interacts with is so complex and real. Characters like Ruth, Cam’s grandma and Coley just to name a few, are so complicated and Cam’s relationships with them are very real and difficult.
I really, REALLY want a sequel. Spoilers ahead! I want to know where Cam goes now! Who does she go and see, what do her family think, what about her friends and what about Coley?! I have so, so, so many unanswered questions and I really would love a sequel to answer them. I haven’t read a book like this for a while where I’m craving a sequel and I just want so much more.
I loved this book and I know it’s being adapted into a film soon (I’m happy about the director, not so happy about the casting of Cam, but we shall see). I’d highly recommend this!