The Miseducation of Cameron Post- A Teen Reader Review

Cover image for The miseducation of Cameron Post

Title:  The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author: Emily Danworth

Summary:  It’s Montana in the 1990’s.  Cameron Post is 12 years old, spending the day with her best friend.  She’s the classic protagonist, a little too quirky and a little too special for her own good, having an amazing afternoon.  That very day, her parents die, and all she can feel is relief.  Relief that the news wasn’t what she feared, and relieved that her parents would never know that she was kissing a girl hours before their untimely death.

Cameron Post is, to be completely candid, not the particularly special character.  She’s the carbon copy of every girl in a lesbian romance.  How many girls could she honestly get with in Montana at age 14?  This doesn’t make her bad per say, but it just means she’s not the new and exciting character you may have wanted.  I found much more realism and excitement in her love interest for the first half of the book, Coley Taylor; the cowgirl with a kind heart and a confused soul, whose motivations and mystery made her one of the most incredible love interests in a f/f book in a long time.  If only the book had more of her, and less drama with Cameron’s aunt.

Of course, since this is a book about young lesbians there has to be the drama of everyone finding out, and the second half of the book is set at a de-gaying camp.  We spend a bit too long here, but I still applaud the slightly different approach Emily Danworth took going here.  Again, the characters Cameron interacts with are far more interesting then Cameron herself, particularly her roommate, a girl with a interesting new personality and mysterious motivations.  The novel checks out every trope of a f/f novel, and while it is beautifully written and a very enjoyable ride, this book isn’t anything too special.  I still recommend this to anyone who wants a exciting journey through the life of Cameron Post, and whose already checked out every other f/f book in the library.

If you like this, try readingAnnie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli , and Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Reviewer Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Pequot Library

Recommended by: Josie, a teen reader

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When Dimple Met Rishi

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Summary:  Meet Dimple Shah.  She just graduated high school and is ready to start proving to her tradition loving Indian parents that her future lies in coding and college- not marriage and tradition.  Above all, she wants her parents to understand that an arranged marriage has no place in her life…ever.   Considering her parent’s-particularly her mother’s- view on the necessity of a good Indian marriage, Dimple is shocked when they readily agree to her request to attend a prestigious summer program for aspiring web developers.   The program will give Dimple a chance to get a leg up on developing her own app and put her in the running to win a chance to meet and collaborate with her idol app developer Jenny Lindt.

Now meet Rishi Patel.  He also just graduated high school and comes from an Indian family deeply seated in tradition.  However, Rishi embraces those traditions and looks forward to the day he is matched with a traditional Indian bride.  With that in mind, despite almost no interest in web development, he accepts his parent’s proposal to participate in a summer coding camp that will allow him to meet the girl his parent’s hope to match him with, Dimple Shah.

When one person thinks they are meeting a potential partner for life and the other person thinks she is there to get a head start on an education and career opportunity- but instead finds out she is being manipulated by matrimony-obsessed mother- how can you expect anything but disaster?    It may sound like it, but sometimes love works in unexpected ways.

Who will like this book?:  There’s family, tradition, friendship and love all wrapped up in a tidy package in this book.  So, high school and older readers who are looking for a fun summer beach read-for the fall or winter will certainly enjoy it.

If you like this, try readingBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, and Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

 

All We Have Left

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Title: All We Have Left

Author: Wendy Mills

Summary: Alia and Jesse both have trouble understanding their parents and why they act the way they do. Alia wants to be a comic book artist, but her parents insist that she study for a more ‘respectable’ profession. Jesse knows why her parents are heartbroken: Her brother Travis died inside the World Trade center on 9/11, and they have never gotten over it. Both girls break the rules and have to face the consequences of their actions: Alia loses her chance to study at a prestigious art camp after being caught with someone smoking in the school bathroom and Jesse is ordered to volunteer at a local community center after she and her friends are caught vandalizing a local business. These young women have never met, but they are connected to each other, though neither of them knows it: One of them is living in the past, and the other in the future. Alia will be a firsthand witness to devastation, and Jesse will live through the long wake of its aftermath.

This book is thought-provoking and gut-wrenching. As the stories of Alia, Jesse and Travis  weave together, you will find yourself turning the pages faster and faster to see how it works out, hoping things will be different than you already know are in the end. Serious, surprising and deeply moving, this is a fantastic book to share with the adults in your life: You’ll want to understand more about what they experienced on that terrible and tragic day.

Who will like this book: People who like to cry. Anyone interested in what life was like before and during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Readers who like stories where characters are strangers who are secretly somehow connected to each other.

If you like this, try this: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.  For mature readers: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Some Kind of Happiness

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Title: Some Kind of Happiness

Author: Claire Legrand

Summary: Finley can hardly believe that her parents are sending her to stay with her dad’s family – whom she has never even met – for the summer so they can work out their issues with each other. After all, it’s hard enough for her to recover from her crushing bouts of sadness which leave her unable to leave her bed sometimes. At least Finley has the Everwood: a fantastic world she has been crafting and refining her whole life about an enchanted forest filled with secrets and adventure. Carrying her notebook of stories with her, she has no idea what to expect. What she finds is a family brightly bursting with life – sweet-natured cousins, loving aunts and perfectly poised grandparents – and more: a house built on the edge of a wild forest that Finley knows in her heart is the true Everwood she’s been dreaming about. As the summer goes on, it is in this place that she discovers that it’s not just the characters in her stories hiding a devastating secret.

This gorgeous and dramatic book is a must-read for anyone who likes realistic fiction. Finley’s struggle with the reality of her parent’s difficult relationship, the new realization that big families come with expectations, and the unpredictable feelings that threaten to destroy her might break your heart, but you won’t want to put this down until you know how it all turns out. Lyrical and unrelenting, this is a book to share with friends and the adult readers in your life so you can all talk about it together. Finley and her family are unforgettable.

Who will like this book: People who like stories about big families, especially families with secrets. Readers who like books about storytelling and characters with wild imaginations. Aspiring writers. Fans of books featuring mysteries from the past.

If you like this, try this: See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Every Exquisite Thing

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Title: Every Exquisite Thing

Author: Matthew Quick

Summary: Nanette O’Hare is a good girl. She’s been a great student, star athlete and loyal friend with her future mapped out for as long as she can remember. When her favorite teacher gives her a copy of The Bubblegum Reaper, an obscure paperback with a cult following. She seeks out the mysterious author, who lives near her in suburban New Jersey and her friendship with him changes everything. Questioning why she just goes along with everyone else’s idea of who she should be, Nanette stops it all and embarks on a new adventure: Finding out who she is on her own terms. Rejecting expectations, falling in love and leaping wildly into possibility, Nanette begins to author her own story instead of following the plot that has been written for her since before she even had a say in the matter. But life isn’t a fairy tale and sometimes there are sad and serious consequences for rebellion.

Matthew Quick is one of the best writers of mature young adult fiction working today and he maintains his track record with this new book. With characters so real you feel like you know them already, Every Exquisite Thing is a terrific choice for anyone who wonders about the ‘whys’ behind all the rules young people are expected to follow. While Nanette may not exactly be a role model, she just might inspire you to think a bit more deliberately about your own choices and the path you choose to walk.

Who will like this book?: People with inquisitive, curious minds who like to ask questions and find unexpected answers. Readers who like stories with unique and witty protagonists. Anyone whose life has been changed forever by a book.

If you like this, try this: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, also by Quick. A non-fiction book about going your own way (with darker results), Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Swagger

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Title: Swagger

Author: Carl Deuker

Summary: Jonas is nervous about moving to Seattle. He was an all-star with a shot at a college scholarship at his old school – will he be able to get on the team and garner the stats he needs to compete at his new one? Before school begins, he meets two important people who will change his life forever: His neighbor Levi, the son of a strict pastor with a simple manner and a good heart who is also a monster on the court and potential future teammate, and Ryan Hartwell, a local guy not much older than them who hangs out at the practice court with a lot of good advice on how to improve their game. Hartwell tells Jonas and Levi that they need to celebrate their swagger on the basketball court and in life – but the collision of these three people will lead to both incredible success and devastating, irreversible damage.

At first this book seems like a simple sports story about teammates and friends. As the pages turn, however, it becomes something deeper, more affecting and ultimately unforgettable. Jonas is a protagonist you will really root for, even as he makes questionable decisions in part of a chain of events that may leave you heartbroken. While it contains sensitive content, Deuker, a master of sports fiction, handles these serious situations without sensationalism and with careful grace. A challenging and rewarding tale that should be read by teens and parents/caregivers together.

Who will like this book?: People who like quick reads. Fans of sports stories that are about more than sports. Readers of intense books about friendship.

If you like this, try this: Boy21 by Matthew Quick. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Crackback by John Coy.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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Kill the Boy Band

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Title:  Kill the Boy Band

Author: Goldy Moldavsky

Summary: Four girls, Apple, Erin, Isabel and our narrator are as different as can be, but they are united by their undying devotion to the world’s most popular, if only marginally-talented, British boy band, the Ruperts. Incredibly, just before a big show in Manhattan, the intrepid super-Strepurs (a fandom name derived from spelling the band name backwards, of course) find themselves in a position that any fangirl would envy: Alone in a hotel room with one of the boys. The problem is he is there against his will, sort of kidnapped and tied to a chair, with everyone in the Ruperts’ universe looking for him, from his fellow singers to his stylist to his girlfriend to the hordes of fans jamming the streets outside the building. As the girls sink deeper and deeper into the mess they’ve made, cracks in their bonds begin to show, proving that people are not always what they seem to be, and that maybe you can never truly know anyone, even your best friends.

This fast-paced, smart and hilariously funny story is part mystery and part an examination of the ups and downs (and downright insanity) of being part of a fandom. The language is blunt and at times profane, the reality of the situation is bizarre and often dire and the pages practically turn themselves, revealing ideas about fandom, adolescence and life itself that are more profound than can be described without spoilers. Put this at the top of your too-read list!

Who will like this book?: Fans and stans. Mature readers who like twist-and-turn psychological mysteries, and stories with potentially unreliable narrators. Anyone who has ever worshipped a boy band.

If you like this, try this: Born to Rock by Gordon Korman. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. The Haters by Jesse Andrews. I am (not) the Walrus by Ed Briant.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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