Emily M. Danforth
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 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.
Write what you know, this direction could not have been more beautifully executed by Emily Danforth. Who evokes the world of Miles City with such vividness and attention to detail that I couldn’t help falling in love with the novel. As soon as Cameron took my hand and dragged me into the small sunbaked world of Miles City I wanted to stop and see everything.
Cameron’s parents’ death is what catapulted us into this story but it does not dominate the novel for which I was glad. The novel has a strong focus on the exploration of Cameron’s sexuality and the various romantic relationships she embarks on but it’s not only the romantic relationships that make this novel powerful. Her bond with her aunt and grandmother, though strained, is an important part of understanding how she grows up in a black and white religious household. There are no clear-cut villains in this story. Or Cameron doesn’t let you see them as such even when she’s at the mercy of people who don’t have her best interests at heart. As much as I wanted to resent her aunt and grandmother for their treatment of Cameron and I did at times, the author never lets you forget that they loved her even if they couldn’t understand her. The friendships Cameron built were essential in her development and understanding of the world around her. And as with her family Cameron does not spare their flaws, which made each character jump off the page.
And as much as I would love to say I remained captivated throughout the whole novel that would be a lie. There were lulls in the story line but I was already so invested in Cameron that I kept coming back anyway. One of my issues with this novel is that Cameron doesn’t really fight the injustice of her situation, which is understandable though a little disappointing.
The ending left me wanting and yet oddly at peace. No matter how much I wanted to see her confront the people of Miles City, I don’t think there was any other way it could have ended. This novel is an honest portrayal of life and love and everything in between. Not sparing you the details about teenage angst, self-deprecation or guilt and weaving in the unrelenting bond of friendships and familial love. I would highly recommend diving into Cameron Post’s world.