I like reading books that seem to be inspired by current events. Y’all remember back when that school in Mississippi wouldn’t let that girl Constance go to prom because she was gay? Well, Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin explores this sort of story in greater detail.
Tessa and Lucas have been BFFs for FOREVA! So Lucas things that it is an obvious next step to ask Tessa to go to prom with him via a grand gesture. What Lucas never anticipated was Tessa saying no AND coming out as a lesbian. Tessa plans on bringing a girl to prom which causes a HUGE amount of drama in their small town and some to picket Tessa’s presence at prom.
Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom is told using dual point of views and alternates between Lucas and Tessa. I thought the authors did a fabulous job with voices and making the two characters sound different. Lucas spends the book coming to grips with Tessa’s orientation and ultimately going through a bit of a self transformation, complete with life lessons and all. Tessa’s point of view deals with her coming out and her reactions to the prom debacle. It’s kind of funny because Tessa sort of expected people to know she was gay, but like no one figured it out until she told them. I liked that for once there is an LGBTQ book about a lesbian — usually it’s a gay character. I thought that was refreshing.
This is going to sound dorky, but I got SO angry while reading Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin because of the local treatment of Tessa. Now, I’m from one of the blue states and know a few people who went to prom in same sex couples, so I was infuriated that the town members wanted to block Tessa from prom and that the school administrators were SO homophobic. I mean, obviously these things happen in real life, and it sucks, but oh my god you guys this just BOTHERED me in fiction. And, well, I think it’s a good thing when you get your rough up over people not being treated with equality and dignity.
If you are looking for a contemporary that veers from the standard girl meets boy and falls in love with a slight problem along the way formula, then check out Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin. It does a decent job of telling a story that could be ripped from headlines while giving the characters both nuance and making the characters interesting. I was fairly invested while reading and was surprised to look up and see just how many pages I had read. Seriously, it’s a great read.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.