The Small Crimes of Tiffany Templeton
Tiffany Templeton is tough. She dresses exclusively in black, buys leather jackets that are several sizes too big, and never backs down from a fight. She's known in her tiny Montana town as Tough Tiff, and after her shoplifting arrest and a stint in a reform school, the nickname is here to stay.
But when she comes back home, Tiffany may not be the same old Tough Tiff that everybody remembers. Her life is different now: her mother keeps her on an even shorter leash than before, she meets with a probation officer once a month, and she's still grieving her father's recent death.
As Tiffany navigates her new life and learns who she wants to be, she must also contend with an overbearing best friend, the geriatric cast of a high-maintenance drama production, her first boyfriend, and a town full of eccentric neighbors--not to mention a dark secret she's been keeping about why the ex-football coach left town.
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.