Book Review of The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Posted April 19, 2013 by Kara in Kara / 10 Comments

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 7th, 2012
Pages: 470
Genre: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: I own it–I finally read one of my own books, people!

Description from GoodreadsWhen 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, 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 exactly sure who that is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

WARNING: Before you read this review, keep in mind that I am an atheist and talk negatively about some religious aspects as they relate to the book. If you think it might offend you, DON’T READ. If you troll me, it’s gonna get ugly.

What can I say about The Miseducation of Cameron Post that has not already been said? It’s beautiful, poignant, absorbing, and all of the things I look for in a contemporary novel. I had time to fit one of my own books in and I chose this one because I wanted something that would make me feel emotions. Plus, a lot of my blogger friends raved about this one last year. It was a good decision. And I read it at the right time. But really, anytime is the right time for this book.

I will say that it doesn’t paint organized religion in a positive light, which as an atheist, I loved, and it’s something that is NOT common in young adult and  I think it’s awesome. I have to be honest and tell you that I hate organized religion, I think it’s damaging and harmful, and I know this may lose me some readers, but I can’t lie about that. My feelings and perspective came into play during this novel a lot and it’s really important to get that out here, I think. Not only did it cement my viewpoint, but it also in a lot of ways helped me to become more tolerant against the EXTREMELY religious. Which is a little strange, but I think the author did a wonderful job making the reader see it from the perspective of a very religious family, town, and organization. Because even if what they believe is destructive (gay conversion) and possibly life ruining, they truly believe they are trying to help. It’s a form of brainwashing, growing up this way and believing you can heal the gays and lesbians. The people that believe this need help themselves and I don’t think it is doing us any good as a society to just dismiss them as crazy and unteachable. We have to find ways to reach them somehow. But I digress.

I think some readers may not be able to connect with Cameron because they have not been in the type of situation she has been in before. I have spent time questioning my sexuality, so I think maybe I was able to connect with her better than some. But I think that even if you can’t connect to her life, you will still love her. Because she is completely wonderful. Sweet and intelligent, confused but determined, and kind of stumbling through her teenage years without help from anyone because she can’t talk about what she is going through. And it’s a shame. It’s maddening. And then you think about how this happens to teens every day and it makes you even more infuriated. I wanted to throw things. Her own family turned on her and it just pissed me off sooo much. 

You know the author has hit the mark when they make you feel things. Whether it’s sadness or anger, does it really matter as long as you feel? The writing really blew me away. I don’t think this is the right review to talk about the book technically, because it’s won awards and it’s just wonderful and there need to be more books like this and I hope there are authors out there reading this and jumping on that. Because teens need it. They need to know it’s OKAY to be who they are. Whether it’s straight or gay or transgendered or Black or Asian or rich or poor, it doesn’t matter. I wish I had books like this to read when I was a teen. I think I would have felt more comfortable in my own skin.

The story pulled me in, by the way. I know I have spent this entire review talking about the subject matter, but the story kind of blew me away as well. Sometimes it is easy for me to put down a contemporary novel because the plots are more character-driven and less plot-centric. Not here. This book clocks in at almost 500 pages and I read it in two days. It is the rare book that keeps me up all night like this one did.

So why did it not earn a 5 star rating from me? It’s pretty simple. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. After keeping me engaged throughout the entire book, the author kind of let me down with the ending. It’s not that it was bad or written poorly, it just felt really anti-climactic. I wanted more closure. More something. More oomph. I wanted to know what happened and how she got out of the situation she was caught in. I wanted to know what happened with her family. And a lot of things were left unanswered and sometimes, depending on the book, that is okay. But here I was not satisfied. And that’s the only reason I rated it down. I just don’t think the ending fit with the structure of the narrative. But I do know that it worked for a lot of readers so it really depends on the person reading the novel. it’s been a 5 star book for many people. 

4/5 Stars

10 responses to “Book Review of The Miseducation of Cameron Post

  1. I feel exactly the same way that you do about organized religion, Kara! I believe it’s the cause of most of the world’s problems. I loved your review, and I really want to read this now. Thanks for sharing your honest opinions, if anything, you should get more readers from being so honest:)

  2. Oh Kara, I have this in e-book and I have been NEEDING to read a book like this for awhile. (Have you read A.S. King’s ASK THE PASSENGERS? I’ve heard it’s amazing.) I’ve questioned my own sexuality for awhile, and come to find peace with it, but I’m always learning, you know? Looking to grow and find “me” – newer version.

    I’m really happy you liked this one, girl. It sounds like an incredible book, but man, that is too bad about the ending. I hate books with endings like that. šŸ™

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    • I have not, Mollie. But I’ve heard great things. Jenni at Alluring Reads is a huge fan of A.S. King. And I completely hear you.

      Read it! It’s a very special book regardless of the ending.

  3. I’ve heard SO much about this book, so I can’t wait to read it, Kara! I’m so glad you loved it since I’m always worried a book will let me down after so much hype surrounds it, but this seems like something I’d LOVE. I don’t read a lot of LGBT novels, mostly because there are so few of them, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to this. Fantastic review, dear! šŸ™‚

    • This book is very special. I try to read as many GLBTQ novels as I can, but they have to be plots that interest me. I KNEW I wanted to read this one. And I’m glad I did.

  4. Thank you for the honest and insightful review. I have not really heard much about this title, but I think I am going to be looking for it soon now. I appreciate your openness in regards to being athiest and the problems with organizes religion. As a fellow athiest, I agree that there needs to be such viewpoints expressed in YA fiction, as it is very underrepresented. Keep up the honest, in-depth, and open viewpoint- it is very appreciated and enjoyed.

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