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Young Adult Fiction 157
Modern-day take on BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
(Updated: July 20, 2022)
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Jessamine Monet feels it's important to be there for her family. Her twin brother Joel has a secret boyfriend and her transgender cousin Solange is thriving. Jessamine is stressed about her upcoming senior year and the pressure to get college scholarships to get out of New Orleans. Then Tennessee Williams, a rich white boy, moves into town. She's intrigued with the boy who is named after a famous writer, but after a first non-date, vows to keep him at arm's length. She doesn't need anything more to deal with. Tennessee has his own issues which include a racist father and an author mother who is distant. Tennessee and Jessamine fight against a growing attraction they have for each other. Tennessee grows close to Jessamine's inner friends, which includes Joel's boyfriend Saint Baptiste. Both bond over trying to get close to the socially distant Monet twins.

What worked: I totally was engrossed in this contemporary tale set in New Orleans with the Monet twins. It starts off with a fight between Tennessee's parents during Jessamine's dying aunt's luncheon. Jessamine's own family still has a hard time accepting Solange. Later, Tennessee finds himself at the coffee shop where Jessamine works. Little by little they reach out to each other. I loved the slow burn between these two characters. Both carry secrets and burdens.

Jessamine's attempts to hold it all together are slowly whittled away by those close to her. She fights against the attraction she feels for Tennessee. She also carries within her sadness and guilt about what happened in her own past. The author gives readers glimpses of what happened that fateful day until at the end it's revealed.

Tennessee is a complex character. Even though he comes from privilege, he also has vulnerabilities like his hatred of how his racist father acts in public. Add to that his emotionally distant mother. He comes alive when he meets Saint, who is outgoing and vibrant. Even Joel helps him out when Tennessee is at his lowest point.

I love the New Orleans backdrop and how we see the characters grow from the beginning of the school year to Mardi Gras. There's revelations, hard truths, and stepping out of comfort zones.

Modern-day take on Breakfast at Tiffany's where two unlikely characters meet and learn that it's okay to take that first step outside their comfort zones. Highly recommend.
Good Points
1. Modern-day take on Breakfast at Tiffany's
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