Summer romance isn’t exactly a fall theme, but with the chill in the air I wanted to delve into some warm weather reads with interesting characters. I had picked up Hot Dog Girl at Flame Con and finally had the time to read it, my to read list is impressively long. The second book I finally finished, after having it checked out from the library for about two months was The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I had been curious about ever since I watched the movie. I don’t want to give too much away with either book, but if you want to feel the warmth of summer on this chill winter day keep reading.
Eloise loves Magic Castle Playland, so much so that she even works there in the summer. This year, her second year at the park, she had hoped would be amazing, but when she sees she will be the Hot Dog again her summer already begins to turn. Not only is she stuck in a hot dog suit, but the park she loves is closing down. Ever the schemer Eloise, who wishes people would call her Elle, but whose best friend at least calls her Lou, thinks she can keep the park from shutting down. On top of this scheme she is also hoping she can get her crush Nick to notice her. The major problem there is he has a girlfriend, but there might be something she can do about that. Through a series of unexpected events Eloise attempts to set up her best friend Seely with a girl at the park and winds up setting up a fake relationship with her. Eloise might like Nick, but she’s bisexual and with people at the park thinking they are already dating she uses this as her chance.
There is so much angst and unrequited love overflowing in this story, but it works wonderfully. Eloise is coping with feelings of loss that stem from her mother unexpectedly leaving when she was young, but she also is trying to feel seen and cared for. Her dad might be there for her, she had a moment with Nick that she felt meant they should be together, but when she learns a secret about his relationship everything gets even harder. Eloise is a dreamer and her hopes for the perfect summer leave her constantly questing for something, even when what she really wants might be right in front of her. I adore Seely as a character, she dies her hair multiple colors and loves Doctor Who, even when she’s sad she moves toward it. She cares about Eloise and wants to help her, even when things are rough between them. Hot Dog Girl is a breeze to read and the characters will keep you hooked until the very end.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a much more emotionally intensive read. The movie showed Cameron being sent to a place to be taught how not to be gay, which is not healthy and in some states is now illegal. The movie condenses her journey down to focus on one girl being the catalyst for why she ends up having to leave home, but in the book we are given a much more detailed look at Cameron. She has been attracted for girls for a long time and only when she winds up almost getting caught with her best friend do things change. Her friend feels pressured to confess what has happened to her mother and later to her pastor. Cameron’s aunt Ruth feels that the only way to help her niece is to send her away. The book actually focuses more on Cameron’s journey prior to being sent away and we get even more details about the two people she becomes friends with there. I will admit the book was a lengthy read, but it was well written and powerful. I felt compelled to continue reading and constantly wished I had more time to sit down and digest this work. If you saw the movie you need to read the book because there is so much more there than what was on screen.
I’ll have fewer books for you going forward now that I’ve finally made it through everything I picked up at Flame Con so get ready for some fun articles that are a touch less on the review side.