Author: Emily M. Danforth
Genre: YA, contemporary, LGBT+
I was a little frustrated with this book at first. I kept waiting for something big to happen to our main character, Cameron. I kept hoping she would rise heroically to her situation. A rebellion against the conservative rehabilitation center she gets sent to or to the aunt who wrongly sends her there. But it wasn’t so. I was annoyed at the slow pacing of the book, annoyed at the mundane things that were happening.
Maybe I’ve been reading too much fantasy. But I realize that life doesn’t work like that. Most of the time, life is not about the good vs. the evil and fighting epic battles against the status quo. It is about people making mistakes and trying to do what is best for themselves even though it might be misguided. It is about the small moments that cause a shift in someone’s attitude.
This book follows Cameron Post from the time she was little to the time she attends high school. You see her daily struggles as a young lesbian, coming to terms with her parents’ death and being ok with who she is. These life-altering concepts sound like something that should accompany loud, dramatic music but it doesn’t. Danforth quietly carries us along Cameron’s life, slowly meeting characters that affect her life, her experiences with the religious center for homosexuals and then suddenly you realize that all these events–big or tiny–make up the person that Cameron is without calling attention to them. And although some people Cameron meets might be misguided like the people who believe how sinful homosexuality was, you feel oddly sympathetic for them. Cameron herself is a character who makes tons of mistakes and pushes people away. The ending still gives a sense that Cameron is still growing and in portraying this, the author gives an honest and sincere account of the struggles of not just being a lesbian teenager, but a teenager in general.
I really liked the writing in this book. It was quiet, hypnotic, and atmospheric and Danforth describes the little things that people do so well. Just someone putting on flip-flops feels so realistic as if you were watching your sister putting on flip flops (it sounds weird but it’s true!).
Unfortunately, a lot of the elements I praise it for are also its downfall. The slow pacing is also a double-edge sword because it does bog down the story and I wish some of the events did affect her more in terms of character development but overall I definitely recommend it.