Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2018 with Camryn Garrett

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty-six authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Camryn Garrett

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. When she was thirteen, she was selected as a TIME for Kids reporter, where she interviewed celebrities like Warren Buffett and Kristen Bell. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, MTV, and Rookie Magazine. In 2015, she was named as one of MTV’s 8 Inspiring Teens Using Social Media to Change the World. Camryn is also interested in film, having spent the summer of 2017 at New York University’s Summer Filmmaking Workshop. She is a proud advocate of diverse stories and writers. Her debut novel, Full Disclosure, will be released Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers in Fall 2019.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterGoodreads

I first read The Miseducation of Cameron Post when I was fifteen. I don’t exactly remember why I picked up the book. I was strolling through the library and saw the cover sticking out. Maybe it was because Cameron and I basically shared the same name. Maybe it was because “The Miseducation of…” sounded like a badass title. Whatever the reason, I took it home and met Cameron Post.

I don’t remember when I decided that I really wanted to be friends with her. At first, I didn’t really understand sneaking around and seeing girls and wanting to kiss them. The more time I spent with her, the more time I felt like she was someone I could talk to, like she was someone who could understand what was going on with me. It took me a long time to realize that I liked girls. When I was fifteen, it was confusing.

My mom told me that there was nothing wrong with girls thinking other girls were pretty. She called it admiring other people. But I think this was more than that. I watched all the Twilight movies, even though I didn’t care, because of Kristen Stewart. When my friends talked about Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean, I was looking at Keira Knightley. I had crushes on tons of famous white girls and it got worse when I started looking at the white girls at school differently. Girls with freckles and red hair, girls with tan skin and long legs, girls who hugged you and smelled like heaven.

But I still liked boys. I didn’t know what bisexual or queer even was. I didn’t know any queer women except for Ellen. I didn’t even know who to go to with my questions. There was a girl with a girlfriend in my journalism class, but I had no idea what to ask her. I just hung around her.

Cameron was almost the same: a girl like me, a little older, someone who could’ve gone to my school. I should’ve immediately latched onto her. I didn’t. Cameron irritated me.

At the beginning of the book, I was irritated with Cameron because she knew who she was.

Even when she was forced to go to a conversion camp, she still knew who she was. She never lost that. I admired her and I was jealous of her. It made me want to be like her. She was herself so much that it got her sent away and she still refused to change. She faced more challenges than I did and still knew who she was.

I came to see Cameron as someone to look up to. My heart ached for her, but I wanted to be with her. I wanted to talk to her about everything and ask her questions. I cried because I saw so much of myself reflected in her story: the Christian values, the isolation, the loneliness.

Cameron felt like she was made just for me. She wanted to kiss girls, so she did it. She refused to be held down or molded into someone she wasn’t. And she attracted friends because of it, friends who knew who she was and loved her for it. I still didn’t think I was gay when I finished the book. But there was something quiet, secret, planted in me. I felt that I could be myself if Cameron could. I could be as strong as her. I could, I could, I could. After all, we have the same name.

Title Full Disclosure
Author Camryn Garrett
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary
Publication Date September 10th 2019 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Find It On Goodreads

Simone Garcia-Hampton is absolutely positive that having a crush is more dangerous than having HIV; after all, she’s got her viral load under control. Simone knows that her status isn’t a death sentence, as long as she remembers to take her medication and go to her doctor’s appointments, she can live a long, healthy life. There’s just one problem: she wants to have sex. Badly.

She knows abstinence is the safest policy, she’s heard it almost every day of her life from her sweet and well-meaning Dads, and up until now, she’s been able to handle it herself, but Miles Austin has ruined that. He’s hot! He plays lacrosse! He asks Simone about her favorite plays because of how it lights her face up! What’s a horny (but responsible) teenage girl to do!?

Simone is already agonizing about how to tell Miles about her status, but she’s been burned before when she told people that she loved that she was positive — she even had to switch schools over it, leaving her boarding school when there was a huge public outcry from uneducated parents, not to mention a scarring shunning from the people she cared about most. She’s determined to keep her status a secret, but the cardinal rule of dating-while-positive is disclosure. Allowing herself to get close to Miles would be a gigantic risk.

Before she’s able to figure out what to do, Simone finds a threatening note left in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know, too.

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