Book Review: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily M. Danforth

I love the way that the model is posed in this shot. I’ve often been in a similar position during haying season– it allows you a “world view” of the hayfields that is just awesome.

Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author: Emily M. Danforth

Maturity Level: Upper YA. There are a few marginally explicit sex scenes and a lot of difficult concepts.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy YA that’s written in a more adult/literary style;  you remember what it was like to be a teenager; you have an interest in LGBT issues.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t enjoy literary fiction.

Cameron Post is your average teenage girl, devoted to swimming and old movies. But on the day her parents die in a sudden and violent accident, Cameron is busy shattering the status quo of her tiny-town-in-Montana life in a big way: kissing Irene Klauson in a hay loft. Suddenly and orphan, Cameron moves in with her super-conservative Aunt Ruth and tries to forget all about that day, hiding her sexuality in an attempt to blend in. Until Coley Taylor comes swooping in, that is, and Cameron can no longer hide.

This book was beautiful in so many ways. It was poignant and heartbreaking, with just enough humor mixed in to lighten the darkness. The whole “de-gaying facility” subplot was handled very well, with some really obvious research and care given to its portrayal. There is not a character in this book who is not wonderfully flawed and yet totally relatable, and the world is also drawn in such a way that you have no doubt where you are.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It has such a lovely feel to it, and I appreciate Danforth’s concise but lyrical prose. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Danforth’s work in the future!

Pros

  • Attention to detail. Danforth has dropped us right into the 90’s-era Bible Belt culture without being preachy.
  • The leisurely pace. Rather than being draggy, it was a joy to read and savor.
  • Cameron and I could be friends in real life. She was likable without being perfect, and I ached for her loneliness and confusion, celebrated with her when she had her breakthrough, and generally identified with her despite our differences.
  • The Promise kids and the research that Danforth obviously did into these sorts of facilities.
  • Adam and the wonderful portrayal of the winkte concept.

Cons

  • Slightly slow-moving, and definitely written in a style more suited to adult literary than YA—but I can’t say I didn’t like it!

Favorite Scene (s):

  • Pg 311-394. The whole end bit ran the gamut from arresting to terrifying to beautiful, a raucous roller-coaster ride of emotion that left me stunned by its ferocity. Very well done.

Favorite Line (s):

  • “There was more than just one world beyond ours; there were hundreds and hundreds of them, and at 99 cents apiece, I could rent them all.” ~Pg 40
  • “It felt really good to do something that made no sense at all.”~ pg 71

Star Rating on Goodreads: 5 stars out of 5.

Final Grade:  A+. Transformative, sad, and poignant.

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Book Review: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook, Audiobook.

Warnings: R for sexual content, bodily fluids, and disturbing imagery.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND OPINIONS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I knew going into The Fault in Our Stars that this was going to be one of those books that had me completely raw and broken at the end. Even so, I was not prepared for how thoroughly John Green did this—and I loved every second of it.

Hazel Grace Lancaster has been terminal since she was thirteen years old. Whether she would die was never a question; now, with the “miracle drug” Phalanxifor shrinking her tumors and keeping her cancer under control, the question is when she will die. Hazel’s reaction to this is not unreasonable—she sinks into torpor, watches tons of America’s Next Top Model, reads her favorite book and waits.

Then, she meets Augustus Waters, gorgeous Survivor with a capital S, and slowly but surely, she begins to fall in love.

Overall, this story is a beautiful one—life affirming, even, despite the death which hangs over so many of the character’s heads throughout the course of the book. The characters are very real and very raw; they are not the stereotypical “brave” cancer patient that Hazel details at several points in the book. They are brave, for sure, but they are also broken, afraid, lonely, and angry. Not a single character in this book is spared from the harsh reality of the ending—even the non-sufferers are affected, just as is the case in real-life cancer cases. And at the very heart of the story, there is a romance between two doomed children who haven’t really had the chance to experience life, and who are determined to do so one way or another. Mixed in with all this bleakness are sparkling moments rather like the titular stars, the hilarious and heartwarming blended smoothly with the darkness and blood and Hazel Lancaster’s struggling breaths. John Green has definitely crafted a book for the ages here, and there is not a person in this world that would not benefit from reading it.

(NOTE: I usually have a Pros and Cons section to my reviews right about now—however, for the purposes of this book, I have had to retitle these sections Things That Made Me Laugh/Aww and Things That Made Me Cry, since a.) I couldn’t really find any cons and b.) when I tried to they all ended up falling into the latter category. )

Things That Made Me Laugh/Aww

  • Hazel’s voice. She’s funny in a dry sort of way, and the way she perceives the world is very interesting.
  • Hazel’s obsession with An Imperial Affliction. I think any reader can relate to this sort of love for a book.
  • Isaac.
  • The romance. There are so many wonderful moments between Hazel and Augustus throughout the book, with my very favorites being on the plane to/from and in Amsterdam.
  • The Anne Frank House. Best scene ever.
  • Hazel’s diagram for Augustus after their “night” together in Amsterdam.
  • Van Houten showing up to Augustus’ funeral.

Things That Made Me Cry

  • That Hazel blames herself for causing the people around her to suffer.
  • Van Houten being a douche.
  • Gus’ recurrence. I pretty much cried through the last 70 pages.
  • The scene on page 244 with the G-tube, when Hazel has to call 911. At this point I was literally bawling.
  • And then again, pg 247 when Hazel is reading him poetry and just starts adding words.
  • The ending. So perfect ❤

Star Rating on Goodreads: 5 out of 5.

Final Grade: A+. Will definitely reread at some point.