Though I haven’t yet had the chance to read the other finalists, I was not surprised to see emily m. danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post on this year’s list, as it was my favorite young adult novel of this year, debut or otherwise.
Even though it is nearly 500 pages long, The Miseducation of Cameron Post was a story I didn’t want to end. It isn’t a novel to be devoured, but savored. Danforth’s fully rendered and compelling characters and a heartbreaking yet hopeful story make this a book that will stay with readers long after finishing the final page.
This is a book of lasting images. Through Cameron’s frank and honest voice, danforth paints a picture with words of what growing up gay in 1990s Montana might look like. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who kisses another girl for the first time the same day her parents die in an automobile accident. Her conservative, Evangelical Christian aunt comes to live with her, and when she finds out she’s experimenting with her best friend, sends her to a program where young people questioning their sexuality or engaging in same-sex relationships go through conversion therapy to “cure” them of their queerness. But the novel is so much more than that, and a simple summary doesn’t quite capture the magic of the story, which is why I thought it would be easier (and more fun) to explain the novel’s “aboutness” with photos.