Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin (2012)
Unlike most other YA books with gay characters, this isn't really a coming-out story, nor is there much about Tessa's relationship at all. It's more about friendship and supporting one another, but it's also fairly political, focusing a lot on the controversy, and you've got to give props to the authors for giving teens enough credit to be into that. Man, I wish I had read this book as a teenager, but of course we had nothing like it in the '80s.
The only flaws were minor - just a few conversations early in the book that didn't come across as natural - and I quickly got past that. I don't think most readers would even notice.
There don't seem to ever be enough new young adult books that aren't paranormal or dystopias, so I was happy to spend time with these regular kids in their small midwest town as they navigate the sorts of problems real teens face. As a bonus, the cover isn't terrible. I even like the paperback version, even though the cover model's head is cut off. At least she's not wearing a fancy dress.
Both Tessa and Lucas were kids I'd be proud to call my friends, and I rooted for them - and their troubled friendship - the whole way through. In turn aggravating, nerve-wracking, and touching, this novel ultimately made me very happy in a warm, fuzzy glad-to-live-in-Massachusetts kind of way. I'm sorry it hasn't gotten more attention, but I'll be sure to recommend it to patrons at my library.