Ashley Hannigan is just about the last girl in her high school to give a crap that the math teacher has stolen all the prom money about a week before the big night. Ash wasn’t even planning on going, and she certainly couldn’t care less about the prom paraphernalia (dress, shoes, purse, corsage, car… blah blah blah). But her BFF Natalia, the head of the prom committee, is crushed, and since Ashley is an excellent best friend, she gets roped into saving the party.
There’s tons to like about Laurie Halse Anderson’s Prom. This title happens to be the readergirlz selection for this month, the theme being, “risk-taking.” Ashley is a risk-taker in a very real, “this could be a girl I know” kind of way. She just steps up, because no one else will, and for this reason (along with many others), she is an entirely likeable, truthful character. Of course, since it’s prom season, it makes sense to highlight this novel at the moment. I would like each and every prom-crazy teenaged-girl to read Anderson’s book, because I think it reveals and celebrates the true value of this oft-over hyped right of passage: celebrating friendship. This might really help to put the prom extravaganza into focus. I love the fact that in her acknowledgments, Anderson offers up a “loud, rowdy shout out” to the “normal kids” who inspired this story. She has certainly succeeded in telling their stories. It’s a treat to read a YA novel that is about normal kids, with day-to-day issues. This one’s poignant, grounded in reality and often funny. Now I’m eager to read Speak and Twisted, two other Anderson titles that I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve not yet read. Which first?