Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 339
YA contemporary about small-town life and rebellion
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
THE SMALL CRIMES OF TIFFANY TEMPLETON follow Tiffany after she has been released from reform school and returns to her small town, while still meeting regularly with a parole social worker. The book follows her through the current on-goings in her life and the letters she writes to the social worker (in training) about her past. There are clearly some secrets about the past that we learn from the start, but we don't yet know the lead up to them.

She and her BFF, David, are putting on a play that she wrote, and their actors/actresses are characters from around town.

What I loved: This is really a character-driven book, and the characterizations for people are quite expressive. Tiffany has a lot of opinions and these are shared from her point-of-view. I really liked some of the older people who participate in the play. Most people in the book are pretty unlikable (including Tiffany who has a lot of awful opinions, maybe some warranted, some not), which has its own appeal. I did enjoy some of the dark comedy in the book, like the refrain about the secretary who is good at her job.

What left me wanting more: There is a lot of ableist language in the book that felt gratuitous at times. While the mysteries could make the book compelling, I felt it fell a little flat, as I was not personally invested enough to want to dig deeper into the past and what had happened. Tiffany's parents were also fat, as she says, although her mother had bariatric surgery and tracks her weight on the gas station sign, and a lot of the language/discussion about her parents and their weight feels like fatphobia. I think toning down some of this and the ableist language (Tiffany doesn't seem to like much of anyone) would have made it easier for me to get into. A lot of the relationships are toxic also.

Final verdict: THE SMALL CRIMES OF TIFFANY TEMPLETON is a YA contemporary about small-town life, secrets, and rebellion.
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