Heather Perkinson's Reviews > Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin
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Feb 27, 12

bookshelves: girls-issues, glbqt, possible-gsa-titles, realistic-fiction, arcs-from-netgalley
Read in February, 2012

In "Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom," authors Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle the subject of the challenges faced by gay teenagers trying to negotiate friendships, romance and coming out in a world where such issues can be quickly take on lives of their own as news is spread via social networks and a sensationalist press. A very modern and timely take on the coming out and coming of age story, this often humorous, but also poignant story takes place in a small town where family values suddenly veer away from kindness and tolerance to prejudice and bigotry until the heroes of the story, Tessa and her best friend (and former contender for prom date) Luke manage to bring the good people of Brookfield back to their senses. In my opinion, the can't-we-just-all-get-along resolution to the confict seems a little too pragmatic for those of us fighting for gay teens' rights in the trenches of real American high schools and communities. Although the characters and their struggles to redefine their friendship as they discover their own identities are sensitively and deftly portrayed, I was left wishing that the authors had been a little more fearless in their storytelling--why, for example, not allow Tessa, the gay teen, a detailed and complete romantic relationship, while Luke's character enjoys the development of a charming romance with another girl? I was left feeling that Tessa's story was incomplete, especially compared to Luke's, because his character, through his relationships with Tessa and his romantic interest, is more fully developed. Nonetheless, the humor, the romance, and the realistic depictions of the characters that populate a small town high school (and here the authors are to be commended for managing to avoid resorting to characters that reflect the typical stereotypes of high school students and cliques) will appeal to a wide readership, both straight and gay. This review refers to an uncorrected advance proof of the novel, obtained from the publisher by request through netgalley.com.
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