Author: e.m. danforth
Publish Date: 5/28/13 Harper Collins
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 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, 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 quite sure who that is.Cameron is growing up during a time of social change and what some would call an awakening of sorts during the 1980’s, but what she learns is that people, even those closest to her, are not changing that much. The old beliefs and prejudices are still very strong, especially when it comes to homosexuality. This lesson comes as a rude awakening for her after the death of her parents. While Cam is happy to be living with her grandmother, her Aunt Ruth, who is very religious and conservative, moves in and changes her life. Aunt Ruth is working through her new life as a single parent and isn’t aware that Cam is struggling with the very core of her identity. Many influence her in her struggle to find herself including her friends and brief attractions she has with a few girls in her life.
Cam is used to the way things work in her small Montana town, but when she begins to go against the system, she experiences obstacles. She isn’t sure who she is and the book focuses on the discovery Cam goes through in terms of her sexuality and her understanding of herself. The conclusions she comes to are difficult to reach and through her struggle, Danforth paints a vivid picture of a young woman coming of age. Her biggest obstacle is her aunt and when it is discovered that she is interested in girls, that she is a lesbian, she is shipped off to a religious camp that is going to ‘cure’ her of this ‘disease’. Aunt Ruth is convinced she is ‘fixable’ and the camp is just the place for it.
Once at the camp, Cam’s journey is a difficult one, but one that will touch your heart. She is a strong, determined, and powerful protagonist. The people she encounters before camp, and those at camp, help shape her as a woman. Her pain is very real and my heart broke for her as she discovered her true self, despite the efforts of others to change her. I admit I was hesitant to pick the book up at first. I was into reading paranormal books and this was a little bit too real life for me at the time I received it. I am so glad I finally read it! I would have missed out on a powerful novel.
The topic is edgy and handled beautifully. I have recommended the book to my daughter and other teachers in my building. The topic and some of the scenes are meant for older teens, but with guidance, a younger reader could handle it. It is worth it!