Friday, June 29, 2012

Tessa Masterson WILL Go to Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

Publisher: Walker Children’s
Pages: 257
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Summary: 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.

I’ve heard bits and pieces about the Constance McMillen prom fiasco that occurred in the very recent past and wanted to check out a fictionalized story based on it. I found this one particularly intriguing because it flipped points of view between the girl at hand and her best male friend.
Lucas finally decides to let his best friend know that he’s in love with her and wants to take her to prom in a very public way--just in time for her to admit to him that she is gay and wants to take her secret girlfriend to prom. Lucas is enraged and embarrassed that his best friend wouldn’t confide something like that to him and accidentally sets off a media fiasco in the town. Lucas and Tessa must figure out how to fix their friendship in the midst of prejudice, boycotts, and other ridiculous behavior their small-minded town feels the need to act on in order to prove that they’re traditional or something.
Tessa Masterson WILL Go to Prom follows a storyline similar to the real life Constance McMillen case, only it’s directly from the girl’s point of view. We also get the point of view of Lucas, her best friend, who has some choices of his own to make in regards to Tessa’s situation.
I loved that Lucas and Tessa were very believable teenage characters. The problems and emotional reactions to things within the story made complete sense--Lucas was angry that his best friend kept a secret that resulted in his embarrassment. Tessa worked really hard to fade into the background to keep her secret, but once she was out she didn’t feel as if she needed to entirely fade out. She felt like she could finally be herself and enjoy life the same way everyone else did.
I found the story to be well-developed, but the characters aside from Tessa and Lucas were not so developed. The plot didn’t really require the other characters to be developed, but I thought it would flesh out the story just a little bit. I also wanted to see more of Tessa’s family--I knew that they supported their daughter and how the town’s behavior affected their business, but I would have liked to see how they dealt with it at home and away from the public eye.
While I would have liked to see more about some of the characters in Franklin and Halpin’s collaboration, I thought they did a great job with their subject matter. They told a fictionalized account of the story that everyone should know about. Franklin and Halpin work well together to create a seamless joint effort--I’ll definitely be checking out their other book, Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance.

Rating: 3.5 - good

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