Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Themes: Coming of Age, Religion, Conversion Camp
Queer Level: Lesbian Main Character; Gay, Queer & Straight Secondary Characters
I always get a bit nervous reading contemporary novels because they tend to be either dull or unrealistic… but this novel was neither. The author artfully balanced interest with realism. I don’t know how she managed to do it –and I feel silly admitting this- but there were scenes I almost retold to others, forgetting that it was a book and not something that a friend told me. It was just so authentic.
The bits of psychology nestled in were enjoyable, and I’m not referring to the facility’s attempt to analyze Cameron’s sexuality, but more so when they delved into other aspects of her character (like what her compulsion to steal symbolized, etc). It gave meaning to what seemed like small details and it unified the entire book. But it went past Cameron alone and made the opposing forces in her life more human. I wasn’t expecting to like anything about the authority figures who were trying to repress her, and while their homophobia was disagreeable, they were more than their beliefs. You could tell it was ignorance and not hatred that turned them into who they were. It was also ignorance that led them to each mistake. All the characters were more than their actions, just as real people are.
There was so much depth to this novel in almost every aspect. Very impressive work. Even the cover is lovely. I was recommending this even before I finished it and I don’t plan to slow down now that I’m done!