Review: Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Tessa Masterson Will Go to PromTessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Brendan Halpin, Emily Franklin
Published by Walker BFYR on March 27, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 257
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book Depository

Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.

What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.

Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle both sides of a ripped-from-the headlines story to show that true friendship will triumph after all.

Last year, I read Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook. It was completely adorable, with excellent teen characters and touching on real issues. Halpin has done it again, this time partnering with Emily Franklin.

Multiple points of view can either be amazing in a book or completely awful; there doesn’t seem to be too much of an in between. Both of Halpin’s books that I have read are great examples of good ways to do it. Of course, it’s a bit easier with two authors, each writing their own character. Still, I love it entirely, because it gives both of the characters their own unique voices.

The opening scenes, where Luke becomes convinced that Tessa is crushing on him, are absurd but in a totally true-to-life way. His analysis is way off, obviously, but who’s isn’t? He starts evaluating everything, reading only the things that add up to the answer he expects to find. Of course, none of this would have happened without the prodding of other people. This is clearly an argument against matchmaking.

The controversy about whether Tessa and Josie should be allowed to go to the Prom just makes me fighting mad. I mean, how could that possibly hurt anyone else? Of course, even worse is that I know there’s a book about this because things like this really happen, because so many people in this country are still so parochial that they think it matters who people fall in love with. Come on, America, get over it! Oh, and at this point, I need to include a fantastic quote from Luke’s part of the narration; keep in mind that it could be different in the final copy of the book:

“There are people who think I’m a hero because I’m standing up for biblical values. Like I’ve ever read the Bible in my life. Maybe if I did, I could find the part about how making a girl’s life into a living hell is something that God thinks you should do.”

Really, this was just the sweetest book. I completely love the message, one of acceptance and open-mindedness. There’s no hating on Christianity or religion in general. Halpin and Franklin aren’t trying to demonize anyone. I want to add a copy of this to my personal library and shelve it metaphorically next to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, though not literally, because I shelve alphabetically by author. This book made me cry and laugh out loud. Not many do that.

Now, go listen to some Lady GaGa (aka Miss Kaboom) and let your freak flag fly, be it what it may. We’re all better when we’re ourselves!

One response to “Review: Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom”

  1. Oh my gosh, I totally got fighting mad over the controversy of Josie and Tessa too. Like, who freakin cares that they go to prom? It’s not like they are ruining prom. It’s not like you can catch gay, ya know?

    Also, I loved that the authors didn’t try to demonize anyone as well.

    Oh man, I love the idea of putting this next to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I completely loved that book to pieces.

    Fantastic review!

    I’m stopping by from the Netgalley Challenge link up. 🙂

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