For me, the word “prom” brings to mind bejeweled taffeta and satin gowns, rented tuxes, stretch limos cruising the strip (hey, I’m from Vegas, what can I say?), spiked punch bowls, and … the fact that I never went. To prom, that is.
Dare I admit it, but now I understand what the adults in my life had meant when they told me I would regret not going to prom. After all, prom is that culmination of everything “adult” that teens strive to reach, a night for celebrating the transition from high school to the great beyond (or, as Miles Halter might quote, “the great perhaps”). So, instead, I live vicariously through all the promsâ€”both good and badâ€”that live on in teen lit. Here are some faves:
24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley (Dutton Juvenile, 9780525473695)
Jack Grammar wants to go to prom. Unfortunately, he is dateless and prom is only 2 weeks away. So Jack’s best friends, Percy and Natalie, come to the rescue … kinda. They post an ad in the school newspaper without Jack’s knowledge, seeking a prom date for Jack. Hilarity, confusion, and a plethora of quasi-dates ensue for Jack. Whom will he choose?
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (Point, 9780545240772)
Lizzie Bennet has no chance of fitting in at the all-girl Longbourn Academyâ€”after all, she is one of only two students on a scholarship in a sea of rich and snobby classmates. Thankfully, Lizzie has her studies and best friend Jane to rely upon. When talk at school turns to the biggest event of the seasonâ€”Longbourn Promâ€”Lizzie supports Jane’s developing affection for Charles Bingley but tries to avoid his best friend, haughty Will Darcy, who seems to have taken special interest in her. Love a good modern adaptation of Austen? This is one of the best!
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin (Walker Childrens, 9780802723451)
Lucas and Tessa have been best friends forever and, with a little encouragement from seemingly everyone in their small town, Lucas decides he wants to be more than just friends. Always up for the grand gesture, Lucas chooses to ask Tessa to the prom in a very bigâ€”and very publicâ€”way: he uses her family’s grocery-store sign to announce the big question. One little problem: Tessa turns him down. But embarrassment leads to feelings of betrayal when Lucas finds out that Tessa would rather go with someone else insteadâ€”a female someone else. Lucas is so hurt and confused that he makes a hasty and negative public announcement about Tessa’s homosexuality, and it doesn’t take long for their conservative town to blow things into epic proportions. If you haven’t yet discovered the brilliance of Brendan Halpin, start here and then go straight to Notes from the Blender.
Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison and Michele Jaffe (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 0007319894)
Five short prom stories by five popular YA authors–but these are anything but sugar and spice. Instead, get ready for vampires, demons, reapers, superpowers, and a lot of romance.
Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Harris (EgmontUSA, 1606841416)
Quigley Johnson isn’t going to take advantage of her best friend Ann’s super-star dress designer mom for her prom dress, no way. Instead, the girls decide they will spend their senior year working odd jobs to pay for perfect prom dresses. But what about the perfect prom date? Enter David … and Zander … and a serious love triangle.
The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald (Candlewick, 9780763649562)
Prom night. Popular girl Bliss finds her best friend and boyfriend in the limo together … making out. Bad-girl Jolene gets stood up. Wallflower Meg, whose date cancelled last-minute, just wants to be anywhere else. These three girls, who have never crossed paths before, come together for a night of revenge and adventure. Everything is here: heartbreak, clique cross-over, kissing, and self-discovery.
So tell us: did you go to your prom? Was it a night to remember … or something you would rather forget?
— Dena Little, currently reading The Real Life Downton Abby by Jacky Hyams