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Book Review: “Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now” by Dana L. Lewis

In this fast-paced novel by Dana L. Davis, 16-year-old Tiffany Sly discovers unexpected truths about the mother she lost to cancer, the father she has never met, and herself.

Teen Review

From the moment I heard the title, I knew Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now would feature a strong and inspiring female character. Quickly after diving into the book, I discovered that Tiffany was truly an independent character, and so much more.

Sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly is born and raised in Chicago, but after her mother dies of cancer, she is shipped off to live with her controlling and wealthy father, Anthony. Anthony was absent from her life until then, and this worries Tiffany greatly. To add to her stresses, a man named Xavior claims to be her real father. And Tiffany bears all of these events while struggling with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and alopecia.

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Tiffany Sly is a wonderful character, kind but assertive. Empathetic but strong-willed. Overall, she is just so real. Her beautifully unfiltered opinions on the issues presented in this book, such as racism, colorism, and homophobia. This forces the reader to think deeply about the topics as well.

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is jam-packed with captivating themes such as faith, love, and acceptance. The author portrays each theme in very authentic ways. The characters are realistically described, each coming with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. The story is hilarious, suspenseful, and heartbreaking, but above all, it is a vividly real story of family and fate.

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is, in my opinion, a must-read. Through an engaging narrative, very real-life concepts are presented in their true form. I believe anyone who enjoys thinking about both political and personal issues in a deep way will like this book.

Ellen Keefe is a ninth grader at Shaker Heights High School.

Parent Review

Dana L. Davis’  Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now takes off quickly and holds the reader’s interest until the end. The story begins as 16-year-old Tiffany, whose mother has just died of cancer, flies across the country to live with a stranger who may or may not be her father. A second man has come forward to claim Tiffany as his daughter. It’s a bona fide mystery complete with clues, red herrings, and twists.

While the plot skips along, the book’s themes are anything but frivolous.  Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now  weighs subjects such as mortality and bereavement, stereotyping and discrimination, organized religion and spirituality, and the complex social dynamics of high school. These tricky topics are pitched at a level appropriate to any thoughtful adolescent reader. This is, in part, thanks to Tiffany’s role as an engaging, wry, and candid narrator.

Themes of Mortality and Bereavement

Adults should know that the book deals with several sexual topics. These include grown-ups having multiple romantic partners in short order, an adolescent girl providing oral sex and regretting having had intercourse, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion. Depending on the age of your teenage reader, you may also want to read the book and use it as a springboard for some key conversations at home.

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now  has its shortcomings—a few of its adults have chameleon-like personalities that shift to keep up with the plot—but they do not outweigh the book’s significant strengths. Davis serves up a compelling and buoyant story that takes detours, at moments, into the profound.

Dr. Lisa Damour is a psychologist, monthly New York Times columnist, and the best-selling author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.

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