Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

by Peter Cameron

At eighteen, James Sveck seems to have everything going for him. He’s a bright,... read more

At eighteen, James Sveck seems to have everything going for him. He’s a bright, witty teen from an affluent family living in Manhattan, and he’ll soon be headed to Brown University for his freshman year. But James is far from happy. He has no desire to attend college in the fall because he can’t stand being around people his own age. He’s feels superior, in fact, to most people he encounters. It’s a defense mechanism he’s built up over the years to avoid looking deeper into himself or others, and to avoid making connections for fear they might be lost. Peter Cameron’s first young adult novel is a funny, heartrending portrait of a depressed and struggling teen. What James really wants to do, he tells his parents, is buy a house—in the Midwest. Someplace like Kansas or Indiana. His obsession with the idea of bucolic, small-town life takes on a startling new meaning when it is revealed that James was a firsthand witness to the events of 9/11. Each of James’ parents also ask him, point-blank, if he is gay, and he never gives a direct answer. Cameron’s singular, affecting novel is an in-depth portrait of a teen who is not only questioning his sexuality but also fearful of moving into the future. James takes his first, tentative steps into that scary void by the story’s end, and the sense of hope is palpable. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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