Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is an incredibly complex novel, and one that fits a lot into it’s short timeframe of seven days. I loved Tiffany Sly and I love all the pieces of her that Dana L. Davis uses for her story. It’s a story about figuring stuff out, and how the process is more important than any potential answers.
I’ve got seven days to come clean to my new dad. Seven days to tell the truth…
For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.
Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.
But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks. (blurb from goodreads)
Above all this was a story about family. To Tiffany, family has meant one thing: her mother and grandmother. Now, her mother is dead and her grandmother is in Chicago, and Tiffany has a new family and more questions than she’s ever had before. Tiffanny’s new dad seems like a good guy, but he’s really strict, she has a bunch of sibilings by different mothers, and then she had another person who may or may not be her dad. Family is hard even for those of use lucky enough to have two biological parents who are living and still together. The situation is almost absurd but never stops being believable, which is why the story is so compelling. Davis places Tiffany in a situation where she can ask questions about and to family, and uses that to create something really powerful. Family is so, so difficult, this book says; but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean something. It was actually painful to read this book at times, because it made me so sad–but there were angry and weird conversations, and then eventually there was healing. Not total healing, mind you, but still healing.
I loved the character of Tiffany. She felt fully authentic. I liked that she was courageous, even if she didn’t always feel courageous, and prepared to stick up for the people who mattered her. She was still kind of dumb–but she is/was a teenager, and so am I, and so that can be forgiven. Her mental illness, and her understanding of it, was really well written, and I appreciated it. I liked how loyal she was–to Marcus, of course, but also to her mum and London. She was just a really earnest character, who was figuring out where she fin in the world, and her growth over the story, as she figured out when to listen and when to be brave, was great.
I also loved the discussion of religion in this book. Religion doesn’t tend to play a big role in YA in general, so this was a real change, and worked really well imo. I don’t know much about Mormonism, so it was interesting that those beliefs were explored a bit more in depth (though kinda horrifying at times). I though that Marcus’s beliefs about power and energy were also interesting, though wish that they’d been interrogated by the narrative a bit more. Tiffany’s unbelief was good too–part of being a family is figuring out what beliefs you share and which ones you don’t. I liked that this story had lots of conversations about the various natures of faith.
Dana L. Davis deals magnificently with many nuances of life, and belonging. I really appreciated the grace of this narrative, and resolution, which was open but not ridiculously open (if that makes sense, lol). Please read this book for courageous conversations about faith, race, belonging, sisterhood, friendship, and homecoming.
What’s a book you like about family? and have you read this one? tell me about it in the comments!