Author: Emily Danforth
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: 2/7/2012
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: Sometimes I ask myself why I still read YA fiction. So many books are frustratingly forgettable and average. And then a book like this comes along and I remember why I love this genre. I want you to read this book. I want everyone to read this book. It is an engaging and well written story of a teenage lesbian in Montana during the 1990s. Cameron is one of the most relatable characters that I've read about in a long time. I truly enjoyed being in her head. She is smart, funny, and sarcastic. This book throws a lot of tragedy and hardship at her, and her reactions never seem brought on or contrived. Right off the bat, Cameron's parents die in a car crash. This is said at the beginning of the summary on the dust cover. She is at first relieved because now they will never find out that she was kissing a girl only hours earlier. Her aunt Ruth becomes her guardian and Cameron continues her life in junior high and then high school, but everything doesn't keep coming up daisies. Of course it doesn't, not in rural Montana where most of the town's population (including Cameron) goes to the evangelical church, Gates of Praise.
Eventually, Cameron is outed and sent to a rehabilitation school to "fix" her same sex attraction. While she is there, she meets others like her and begins to form her own opinions about herself, her parent's death, and what she wants from her life.
I'm not going to spoil anything for potential readers. Basically, Cameron's parents die in a car crash. Her first emotion is relief; relief that they will not find out that hours earlier
Memorable or Forgettable: This book tackles a very controversial and important subject in a thoughtful and balanced way. Although I was shocked by the ideas at Promise, the school Cameron goes to, the leaders there seemed like genuinely thoughtful people who cared about the students there. Aunt Ruth, although she sends Cameron away to the school, makes her choices based on what she thinks is right for Cameron because she loves Cameron and wants her to live a good life. This book shows the motivations and feelings of both sides of an issue and forces you to think about how all the characters struggled with Cameron being lesbian. It also makes you think about how far we have come in accepting gays and lesbians, but also how far we still have to go.
Cover: I love this cover. It is attractive, subtle, and eyecatching, and it reflects the coming of age idea of the story well.
Age Range: 15+
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
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