Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Brendan Halpin & Emily Franklin

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Brendan Halpin & Emily Franklin
Publisher: Walker and Company
Publish Date: March 27, 2012
Hardcover, 257 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
 ISBN: 978-1937293147

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My Review:
I loved this book.  I am glad that this one intrigued me though because it is well-worth the read for anyone and everyone.  Gay, straight, pink purple, blue, whatever ;-)

I picked this one out from the Edelweiss books because I loved Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by these authors.  It was cute and fun.  They were able to do the same with this book while dealing with a very serious subject and while doing that they didn't downplay the seriousness of the subject either.  They were just able to make a light-hearted book that was more about the two main characters and their friendship than it was about Tessa being gay.

The story is told from alternating points-of-view, Lucas' and Tessa's.  I'm not alone as a reviewer in enjoying Lucas' point-of-view the most.  He's funny, he's more socially with it and easy to get along with.  Tessa seems a little more awkward, but yet that's understandable since she's trying to figure herself out.  Well she seems to have known about herself for awhile, but letting others know and being out in the open is different and she's dealing with that and dealing with the loss of her best friend at the same time.

And while Tessa and Lucas' friendship has suffered, a few ill-timed words has stirred the town up to a fever-pitch and that's when things start to get crazy.  It all had the feel of Footloose to me.  Everyone cranked up about a dance.  Granted it was over two very different things, but go with me here.  Midwest town, check, conservative, check, boy who can't figure out what the fuss is about, check, prom right in the middle of things, check.  It all seems about the same.  But it doesn't feel rehashed, that's not what I'm saying.  I just said it felt like Footloose.  It's like Footloose with the 2000's spin and new issues.  The extremist religious groups use to go after dancing (I say extremist because I'm Methodist and we don't seem to mind dancing) now it's homosexuals.

One thing I liked is even though it is religious groups that are picketing and going after Tessa in the book, the authors never really call names.  It's not an agenda book.  It's fiction with a point yes, but it's not calling out any specific group.  Bravo to them for that.  And also by doing this they keep the focus of the story on Tessa and Lucas.

I love how the story progresses.  Yes there are people I want to strangle throughout and sometimes it was Lucas.  Oh, I can't forget to mention how much I love Lucas' mom.  She is awesome!  You have to read the book just for when she appears.  She's honest and helpful and a great mom to Lucas.  Also Tessa's parents are great as well.

The characters shine in this book and the plot moves the story along.  Again this is a light-hearted book with a message, there is something to be learned, but the main message is about friendship.  I enjoyed this book and think if you enjoy YA contemps, then this is one you will enjoy as well.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Parental guidance: Some language, some references (only references) to sex, drinking and drugs, mainly in reference to what a prom is normally like.  Tessa is gay, but this is handled in a mature way for the most part, only a few crude jokes are tossed about.  I would say 12+ for this one.  There is nothing in here that I would feel my 11-year-old could not read.

About the Book:
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.

About Brendan Halpin (from 
I grew up in Cincinnati, went to college in Philadelphia, and also lived in Taipei and Edinburgh along the way. I've lived in Boston since 1991.

I became a professional writer in 2000, writing about my late wife Kirsten's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kirsten died in 2003, leaving me and our daughter Rowen. I married Suzanne in 2005 and got her kids Casey and Kylie in the deal too. Bargain! Suzanne and I live with our three kids and dog in the shadow of Franklin Park in Jamaica Plain, best neighborhood on earth.


About Emily Franklin (from
Growing up, Emily Franklin wanted to be “a singing, tap-dancing doctor who writes books.”

Having learned early on that she has little to no dancing ability, she left the tap world behind, studied at Oxford University, and received an undergraduate degree concentrating in writing and neuroscience from Sarah Lawrence College. Though she gave serious thought to a career in medicine, eventually that career followed her dancing dreams.

After extensive travel, some “character-building” relationships, and a stint as a chef, Emily went back to school at Dartmouth where she skied (or fished, depending on the season) daily, wrote a few screenplays, and earned her Master’s Degree in writing and media studies.

While editing medical texts and dreaming about writing a novel, Emily went to Martha’s Vineyard on a whim and met her future husband who is, of course, a doctor. And a pianist. He plays. They sing. They get married. He finishes medical school, they have a child, she writes a novel. Emily’s dreams are realized. She writes books.

Emily Franklin is the author of two adult novels, The Girls' Almanac and Liner Notes and more than a dozen books for young adults including the critically-acclaimed seven book fiction series for teens, The Principles of Love. Other young adult books include The Other Half of Me the Chalet Girls series, and At Face Value, a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac (coming in September 2008).

She edited the anthologies It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths about Life in Your Twenties and How to Spell Chanukah: 18 Writers Celebrate 8 Nights of Lights. She is co-editor of Before: Short Stories about Pregnancy from Our Top Writers.

Her book of essays and recipes, Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, 102 New Recipes ~ A Memoir of Tasting, Testing, and Discovery in the Kitchen will be published by Hyperion.


FTC Information: I received this book through the publisher for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository and B&, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.