"There's nothing to know about a kiss like that before you do it. It was all action and reaction, the way her lips were salty and she tasted like root beer. The way I felt sort of dizzy the whole time. If it had been that one kiss, then it would have been just the dare, and that would have been no different than anything we'd done before. But after that kiss, as we leaned against the crates, a yellow jacket swooping and arcing over some spilled pop, Irene kissed me again. And I hadn't dared her to do it, but I was glad that she did."
This is a girl's journey, Cameron's journey, that begins when she is twelve years old. She is just beginning to experience her sexuality and senses that she is not like the girls around her who are crazy about male rock stars. Carefully she explores her feelings for her friend, Irene and together in some barns and other out of the way places, the two girls try out a kiss or two and wonder about their sexual feelings for one another.
Growing up on a farm in Montana, Cameron has had a pretty conservative, comfortable life. All comes to an end when her parents are killed in a car accident and Cameron is taken in by her Aunt Ruth and her grandmother. We follow Cameron into school and watch and wait to see what will happen as she encounters adult women and other girls her own age. Who will share her feelings? Will someone take advantage of her? How far will she go in exploring her sexual preference and how graphic will this exploration get?
The story is told with a sexual tension that will be familiar to any one of us. It involves enough to make this a book for high school readers. Interesting that Cameron's parents are not around to guide her and possibly support her as she matures. Instead her conservative Aunt decides to send her to a religious school which is designed to discipline her sexuality right out of her and set her on the path to right and righteous.
The relationships are believable, the confusion is real, the sexual tension is delightful and the education is appalling.
There is a rampant use of drugs, alcohol and profanity among the high schoolers in Cameron's community which in my opinion lends a tawdry feeling to the story. But this is an important book for any girl who is beginning to experience her own sexuality and beginning to recognize that her preference is for her own sex. The confusion, the self-doubt, the tentative exploring and the feelings are guilt are mirrored beautifully and authentically here.
A long and difficult journey and a book for good company. 467 pages Ages 14 and up
Recommended by : Barb