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Prom. Most teenagers spend months, maybe even years, dreaming about this magical night. The dresses! The limos! The dates! Ashley Hannigan, however, is not like most teens. She couldn't care less about prom.

Ashley is a self-described "normal kid." She thinks, "Normal kids (like me) thought high school was cool for the first three days of ninth grade. Then it became a big yawn, the kind of yawn that showed the fillings in your teeth and the white stuff on your tongue you didn't scrape off with your toothbrush. Sometimes I wondered why I bothered. Normal kids (me again), we weren't going to college, no matter what anybody said. I was getting by."

Instead of focusing on prom, Ashley is trying to get through her senior year at Carceras High School. She juggles work, family, a boyfriend, and friendships in addition to schoolwork and never-ending detentions. It's not easy. Work involves dressing up in a rat costume and serving pizza to screaming kids at the EZ-CHEEZ-E restaurant. Ashley's boyfriend, TJ, has a habit of mysteriously disappearing. And her family is made up of three rowdy, younger brothers, a father who's always involved with home projects that are never completed, and a mother who always seems to be pregnant!

Ashley's world sounds as hectic as it is, but she also has a lot of friends at Carceras High School who are obsessed with prom. At the center of the obsession is Ashley's best friend and next-door neighbor, Natalia Shulmensky. Natalia, the head of the prom committee, is crushed when the faculty advisor is busted for stealing the prom money. In a strange twist of events, Ashley, the "anti-prom queen," finds herself at the helm of a last-minute attempt to pull off the prom on a low budget. Through her efforts to help her best friend, Ashley starts to look at things in her life differently and learns more about herself than she can imagine.

Award-winning Laurie Halse Anderson delivers yet again with this highly anticipated new novel. Halse Anderson's past works include the widely honored SPEAK and CATALYST. Similar to her other young adult books, Halse Anderson hits the voice of her teen readers dead-on. The language and dialogue used in the story are straight out of the halls from any high school in the country. PROM is a truly enjoyable, humorous, tell-it-like-it-is story of a "normal" teen in a far from normal situation.

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 18, 2011

by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Publication Date: March 3, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 0670059749
  • ISBN-13: 9780670059744