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The Miseducation of Cameron Post Hardcover – February 7, 2012

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Best of the Month in Young Adult
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is one of our Best of the Month in Young Adult selections for February 2012. For more on all of our editors' teen picks check out this list. Download the discussion guide [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1 edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062020560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062020567
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It begins with a preadolescent kiss between protagonist Cameron and her friend, Irene. The very next day Cameron’s parents die in an automobile accident, and the young girl is left riddled with guilt, feeling her forbidden kiss was somehow responsible for the accident. This is an old convention of GLBT literature, but freshly handled here and given sophisticated thematic weight. As Cameron grows into her teenage years, she recognizes that she is a lesbian. After several emotional misadventures, she meets and falls in love with the beautiful Coley, who appears to be bisexual. Both girls attend the same fundamentalist church, and when Cameron’s conservative Aunt Ruth discovers the affair, she remands Cameron to God’s Promise, a church camp that promises to “cure” young people of their homosexuality. Such “religious conversion therapy” is rooted in reality, and Cam’s experiences at the camp are at the heart of this ambitious literary novel, a multidimensional coming-of-age reminiscent of Aidan Chambers’ equally ambitious This Is All (2006). There is nothing superficial or simplistic here, and Danforth carefully and deliberately fleshes out Cam’s character and those of her family and friends. Even the eastern Montana setting is vividly realized and provides a wonderfully apposite background for the story of Cam’s miseducation and the challenges her stint in the church camp pose to her development as a mature teenager finding friendship and a plausible future. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart


“Rich with detail and emotion, a sophisticated read for teens and adults alike.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“[An] ambitious literary novel, a multidimensional coming-of-age.” (Booklist (starred review))

“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.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“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.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Cameron is a memorable heroine with an unforgettable and important story to tell, and she does so with wit, emotion, and depth. (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“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.” (Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of PREP and AMERICAN WIFE)

“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. ” (Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER and HUSH)

“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.” (Nancy Garden, author of ANNIE ON MY MIND)

“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.” (Sarah Waters, author of THE LITTLE STRANGER)

More About the Author

emily m. danforth was born and raised in Miles City, Montana, which just so happens to be the town where the first half of her first novel--The Miseducation of Cameron Post--takes place. emily has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana and a Ph.D in English-Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She teaches creative writing and literature courses at Rhode Island College in Providence and is also co-editor of The Cupboard, a quarterly prose chapbook.
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Customer Reviews

I read this book in a day because I couldn't put it down.
CJ Wilder
Everything about this book was wonderful: the descriptions, the dialogue, the characters, the story, the message.
Crystal Sauby
This book is a sort of cross-over YA/adult novel, dealing with a topic that many teens can identify with.
Tina Says

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By SGH on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have never been compelled to write a review before, but: this novel was such a gift, a treasure and an experience for me that I need to. For a few days, I had the pleasure of ingesting this novel, growing to know and care for its main character, Cameron, whose life and complexity captured my heart. After spending nearly 500 pages together, I think of Cameron as someone I know, who struggles through the challenges of growing up, coming out, and developing the values that will guide her through her own unique life journey. I love her: she's beautiful and authentic and has the power to make a difference in a young reader's life, while reminding us adult readers of just how complicated and challenging adolescence is. "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is truly a work of literary art, and I hope there's more of Cameron's story to come.
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Format: Hardcover
As young adult readers, it's somewhat rare for us to run into a book that's more than 400 pages long, and when we do, I feel like those books fall into one of three categories. There are those lengthy YA books that are so engrossing and quick paced that you just gobble them up without ever noticing the length (see Grave Mercy), there are those that you feel could have had 100+ pages cut and have been better for it (see Partials), and then, there are those that are worth consuming slowly, taking in each word and phrase as it comes because every one of them has been carefully considered and placed to enrich the story. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is this third kind of book. I'll admit I was intimidated by its girth, but I found every moment that I spent reading filling me up in a way that hearty wheat bread can fill your belly--with nourishment and substance.

Now, I'll admit, a lot of my attachment to The Miseducation of Cameron Post arose from the fact that this book, more than any other I have ever read, exemplifies my childhood. If you want to know what it was like growing up in small town Wyoming in the 90s, not too far from Billings, Montana--it's not all that different from growing up in small town Miles City, not too far from Billings, Montana. Cameron and I went to the same mall to do school shopping, we stop at the same airport, and more importantly, our towns share the same businesses, people, and atmosphere. I cannot tell you how badly I was craving Taco Johns every time it was mentioned, and I am so sad for all of you that don't live in the mountain states and know its glory (you know, as glorious as a Mexican fast food chain can be). When Emily M. Danforth wrote of thunderheads gathering on the horizon, I could smell it, and feel the hot, dry summer air.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reade S. Whinnem on August 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's been a long time since I've read a book that I've loved as much as I loved this one. It's not a book that I would have picked up on my own- an LGBT YA novel with a female protagonist doesn't jump off the shelf at a male writer of adventure/horror. However, I was a guest author at an event with several other authors including Emily Danforth, and I was stung by the excerpt that she read. I picked up a copy (and got it signed, of course). Reading it, I felt transported in a way in that I haven't felt since reading Bill Roorbach's "Summers with Juliet", one of my all time favorite books.

Emily's protagonist is honest, imperfect, & unsure, and she tells her story in detail more rich and vivid than any Hollywood movie could ever hope to convey through pictures. I felt like I was a teenager again, which is weird considering that I am not, and never was, a budding young lesbian living in the western US. The point is that Danforth is so honest in her portrayal of teenage life that even I, a heterosexual male from New England, could read it and say, "Yes, I remember feeling that way, and I'm going to keep turning these pages until I know that Cam is okay."

So here's who I would recommend this book to:
*This book should be read by LGBT teens.
*This book should be read by LGBT adults.
*This book should be read by teens who are unsure of where they fit in this other words, by all teens.
*This book should be read by every adult who was ever a teen who was unsure of where s/he fit in this world.
*This book should be read by everyone who loves authors who can craft words into something beautiful.

If you choose you take my advice and read this book, and you love writers who can work wonders with words, then you won't be disappointed by Emily Danforth's "The Miseducation of Cameron Post."
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Format: Hardcover
In 2012, as gay marriage gains acceptance and legality in more and more states, as gay relationships are portrayed positively in national media, it's easy to forget that, in many parts of the country, coming to terms with one's sexual identity can be fraught with questions, fear, and even danger. The powerful "It Gets Better" campaign launched by gay and lesbian celebrities and activists is an important reminder that, for many young people, coming of age as a gay teenager is anything but a cause for celebration.

Nowhere is this more vividly considered than in Emily M. Danforth's debut novel, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. It's clear that Danforth intimately understands what it was like to grow up in Miles City, Montana, in the early '90s --- she grew up there herself. Throughout her exhaustive (at nearly 500 pages) exploration of Cameron Post's teenage years, Danforth painstakingly includes details of place, music, films and people that place this novel in its specific time and place.

And it's a time and place that is not particularly friendly to Cameron, who begins to realize, at the age of 12, that her attraction to her best friend Irene goes beyond best-friendship. But the day after she's finally gotten up the courage to kiss Irene --- and to delight when Irene kisses her back --- Cameron's parents are killed in a car accident.

The guilt and fear that Cameron feels as a result of this horrific coincidence is a theme that carries throughout the book --- Cameron's tendency to blame herself for her parents' death is ever after tangled up with her confusion about her sexuality.
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