Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

( 5 )

Overview

Lucas and Tessa have always had a close friendship. So it's no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his true feeling for Tessa and he asks her to Prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian-or for Tessa's decision to wear a tuxedo and escort her female crush to Prom, to spark a firestorm of controversy. Humiliated and confused, Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that ...

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Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

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Overview

Lucas and Tessa have always had a close friendship. So it's no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his true feeling for Tessa and he asks her to Prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian-or for Tessa's decision to wear a tuxedo and escort her female crush to Prom, to spark a firestorm of controversy. Humiliated and confused, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
High school seniors Lucas and Tessa have been lifelong friends, but when he asks her to the prom she turns him down, revealing that she is gay and has a girlfriend. Angry at this rejection and that Tessa kept something from him, Lucas betrays Tessa’s secret and even gives a mean interview to the school newspaper (“ur whole Prom is going to be about her instead of being a normal dance”). There are protestors outside Tessa’s parents’ grocery store, the school administration is threatening to expel her, and the school board may cancel the prom. Franklin and Halpin’s third he said/she said collaboration (following Jenna & Josh’s Fauxmance and The Half-Life of Planets) will have readers empathizing both with Lucas’s desire to “make things right” and Tessa’s pain as she deals with hate in the hallways and at home. Lucas’s ultimate “grand gesture” is farfetched, but it’s also a fun release after an emotional story about the struggles gay teens often face and what it means to be a friend. Ages 12–up. Agents: (for Franklin) Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency; (for Halpin) Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
VOYA - Lauri J. Vaughan
This well-constructed novel is told in alternating chapters by Tessa, a young woman who gathers up the courage to come out of the closet during her senior year, and Lucas, her lifelong best friend. Tessa believes she has dropped sufficient hints about her preferences so Lucas will get the point. When Lucas asks Tessa to the prom through the local supermarket's twenty-foot illuminated sign, the sting of her refusal is a little hard to take. That incident and the fact that Tessa has asked her girlfriend Josie to the prom quickly become news in the small Indiana town. Lucas's initial anger is misrepresented as antigay rhetoric, which adds fuel to the fire of bigoted citizens that want to bar Tessa from the dance. The beauty of the novel is how deftly Franklin and Halpin weave in so many unexpected consequences of Tessa's decision. Lucas feels betrayed more than dismissed, then struggles to correct his initial selfishness. Classmates who could care less about Tessa's lesbian status blame her for turning their rite of passage into a media spectacle. Tessa's parents' family business is threatened by boycotts—by folks who refuse their patronage on principle or just because they do not want to deal with picketers. Tessa, never one for the limelight, is a reluctant poster child for the gay rights movement. It is more than just unfortunate that books about gay and lesbian teens suffer the same discrimination as the people they describe. The large and growing genre no doubt is dismissed by a large population of readers, much like the talented individuals they also dismiss. Franklin and Halpin's Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is an excellent example. This is a novel about hard decisions, unexpected consequences, the meaning of real friendship, and the elusiveness of true love. It is a great story with a delightfully surprising and satisfying conclusion. Reviewer: Lauri J. Vaughan
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Many teenagers consider their prom one of the highlights of high school. Tessa Masterson, however, caused her prom to be cancelled. It started innocently, when her best friend Lucas asked her to the prom by putting his request on a large lighted sign. Tessa turned Lucas down and revealed to him that she is a lesbian who would like to go the prom with a girlfriend. Feeling surprised and rejected, Lucas made an offhand remark about the incident to a reporter from the school newspaper, and that is when the situation blew up. Gay rights activists as well as staunch conservatives rallied around the issue which gained national attention. Tessa refused to talk to Lucas even though he deeply regrets betraying her and causing her such enormous stress and pain. Lucas decided to right the situation by making sure that Tessa went to the prom, even though his methods were a little unconventional. The characters in this emotional story are unrealistically mature considering the complexity of the issue, but still, the plot is compelling. Young adults reading this novel will be able to look beyond the gay rights issue to see the deeper values of friendship and forgiveness. Reviewer: Denise Daley
Kirkus Reviews
In a story unapologetically ripped from the headlines, a small-town high-school student starts a furor by announcing her intention to wear a tuxedo to prom and bring a same-sex date. Lucas has always loved his best friend Tessa. But his grand, public invitation for her to be his prom date unexpectedly inspires Tessa to acknowledge what she has known in the back of her mind for years: She is a lesbian. In chapters narrated alternately by Luke and Tessa, readers experience Luke's initial anger and Tessa's growing self-confidence. Then it all hits the fan: Parents become outraged, students vandalize Tessa's locker, the school board threatens to cancel prom and a media circus descends as the story becomes national news. Readers familiar with lesbian would-be promgoer Constance McMillen will recognize the sequence of events here, from the arrival of a supportive but brusque ACLU lawyer to the exclusionary private prom parents create after the school-sponsored dance is axed. And despite a few standout characters--Luke's mom in particular takes a funny and surprising tough-love approach to her son--the book mostly reads as a dramatization of the 2010 news story. An accessible, if not original, take on coming out and overcoming adversity. (Fiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A "he feels/she feels" story of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness that could have come straight from recent headlines. When Lucas finally addresses his feelings for his best friend, Tessa, and invites her to prom, he doesn't get the answer he expects. Tessa comes out to Lucas as a lesbian, and, feeling betrayed, he does not keep her secret safe. Soon the entire nation is watching the battle that emerges, culminating in the school deciding to cancel prom rather than let Tessa attend in a tuxedo with a female date. Telling the story through alternating viewpoints, the authors do not shy away from the complex emotions each character feels as they create a realistic snapshot of a devastating situation with an uplifting conclusion. Tessa is thrust into the role of spokesperson and hero for lesbian and gay youth and has to dig into reserves of strength she didn't know she had, while Lucas has to figure out how to manage feeling betrayed and doing what he knows is right in spite of that. Everything comes together in this novel a little more happily than it tends to in real life, but the story is made entirely believable by the skill of the authors.—Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802723451
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Franklin collaborated with Brendan Halpin for their novels Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance and The Half-Life of Planets. She has also written a dozen novels for young adults, including the Principles of Love series and The Other Half of Me, and she edited It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties. Emily's work has also appeared in The Boston Globe and national magazines.

www.emilyfranklin.com

Brendan Halpin was a high school English teacher for ten years before penning his first novel. He is the author of How Ya Like Me Now and Forever Changes, as well as several novels for adults.

www.brendanhalpin.com

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