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21 Proms Paperback – March 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439890292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439890298
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–In a collaboration that brings together an impressive array of 21 authors, Levithan and Ehrenhaft have produced a collection worthy of exploration. Ranging from sad to funny to truly disastrous, these memorable stories mark that oh-so-important right of passage for many teenagers. Starting with dress-hating, heel-hating, bra-hating Emilie in Elizabeth Craft's You Are a Prom Queen, Dance Dance Dance; moving on to Daniel Ehrenhaft's Better Be Good to Me, in which aging Zack remembers his prom and being in love with his best friend's girlfriend; and ending with rebel chicks Maggie and Carly, who throw the ultimate anti-prom party in John Green's The Great American Morp, readers are drawn into a wide cross section of prom nights from both male and female perspectives. A celebration of all that is good, bad, and sometimes unforgettable about these events, this fast-paced but carefully strung anthology speaks of pink dresses, tuxedos, first kisses, unrequited love, and the thrill of taking love to its ultimate climax. Clever writing featuring many unexpected twists and turns, as well as a stunning display of each writer's razor-sharp wit, makes this an enjoyable read. Older teens will flock to this book, which undoubtedly features some of the best teen fiction writers of our era.–Caryl Soriano, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

DANIEL EHRENHAFT's books include 10 Things to Do Before I Die and Drawing a Blank. He went to one prom.

More About the Author

I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I'm considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born '72, Brown '94, first book '03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence - give or take a few poems - and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I've ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.

Luckily, I am much happier talking about my books than I am talking about myself. My first novel, Boy Meets Boy, started as a story I wrote for my friends for Valentine's Day (something I've done for the past twenty-two years and counting) and turned itself into a teen novel. When not writing during spare hours on weekends, I am editorial director at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. (Check it out at www.thisispush.com.)

With Boy Meets Boy, I basically set out to write the book that I dreamed of getting as an editor - a book about gay teens that doesn't conform to the old norms about gay teens in literature (i.e. it has to be about a gay uncle, or a teen who gets beaten up for being gay, or about outcasts who come out and find they're still outcasts, albeit outcasts with their outcastedness in common.) I'm often asked if the book is a work of fantasy or a work of reality, and the answer is right down the middle - it's about where we're going, and where we should be. Of Boy Meets Boy, the reviewer at Booklist wrote: "In its blithe acceptance and celebration of human differences, this is arguably the most important gay novel since Annie on My Mind and seems to represent a revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents" - which pretty much blew me away when I read it. Viva la revolution!

My second book, The Realm of Possibility, is about twenty teens who all go to the same high school, and how their lives interconnect. Each part is written in its own style, and I'm hoping they all add up to a novel that conveys all the randomness and intersection that goes on in our lives - two things I'm incredibly fascinated by. The book is written in both poetry and linebroken prose - something I never dreamed I would write. But I was inspired by writers such as Virginia Euwer Wolff, Billy Merrell, Eireann Corrigan, and Marie Howe to try it. It is often said that reading is the greatest inspiration to writing, and this is definitely the case for me.

My third novel, Are We There Yet?, is about two brothers who are tricked into taking a trip to Italy together. The natural questions to ask when faced with this summary are: (a) Do you have a brother? (Yes.); (b) Is he the brother in the book? (He's neither brother in the book.); (c) Have you been to Italy? (Yes.); (d) Which city was your favorite? (Venice.); (e) Is this based on your trip there? (The sights are, but the story isn't; the whole time I was there, I took notes in my notebook, not knowing exactly what they'd be for.)

Marly's Ghost, my fourth novel, is a Valentine's Day retelling of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by my friend Brian Selznick. To write it, I went through A Christmas Carol and remixed it - took phrases and themes and created a new version, centering around a boy named Ben whose girlfriend, Marly, has just died. When he looks like he's giving up on life, Marly reappears in ghost form - and sends some other ghosts to get him to embrace life again. It was a hard book to write - it's about both love and grief, two very difficult things to capture truthfully. But I genuinely don't see any reason to write a book if it doesn't feel like a challenge.

My next book came unexpectedly. My friend Rachel Cohn proposed that we write a back-and-forth novel, with her writing from a girl's perspective and me writing from a boy's. The result is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a kick- butt love story that we wrote over a summer without really planning it out. It just happened, and it was one of the best writing experiences I ever had. It has even been bought for the movies - stay tuned on that front.

A different kind of collaboration is The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities, an anthology I co-edited with my best friend Billy Merrell. It contains true stories from LGBTQ writers under the age of 23, and the Lambda Award for Best LBGTQ Children's/Teen Book.

Other anthologies I've edited or co-edited include: 21 Proms, a collection of prom stories by YA authors, co-edited with Daniel Ehrenhaft; Friends, an anthology of middle-grade friendship stories, co-edited with Ann M. Martin; and three PUSH anthologies of the best young writers and artists in America: You Are Here, This Is Now (2002), Where We Are, What We See (2005), We Are Quiet, We Are Loud (2008). Another PUSH anthology is This is PUSH, featuring new work from all of the authors who've written for PUSH.

My sixth novel, Wide Awake, starts with the election of the first gay Jewish president, and is about two boyfriends who must go to Kansas when the election results are threatened. In many ways, it's a "sequel in spirit" to Boy Meets Boy, since it's about many of the same things - love, friendship tolerance, and taking a stand for what you believe in. It was written right after the 2004 election, and published right before the 2006 election, which made me hope that a gay Jewish president was a closer reality than I might have thought. (No, I have no intention to run. But if you read the book now, it's sometimes how eerie how it echoes the 2008 race.)

My second collaboration with Rachel Cohn, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, was inspired by a phrase my best friend Nick and I came up with after he moved to New York City. It's about a straight girl and a gay boy who've been best friends forever . . . but have to deal with a lot of things that have gone unsaid after the boy (Ely) kisses the girl's (Naomi's) boyfriend. This time, Rachel and I decided to rotate the point of view between a number of characters, not just the titular two. The result was harder to write, but just as fun to create.

How They Met, and Other Stories, was published in 2008, which happened to be the twentieth anniversary of my Valentine Story tradition. It contains a few stories I wrote in high school and college, and more that I wrote more recently, some for anthologies, and some just for myself and my friends.

The first series I ever worked on (as a writer) is Likely Story, which I wrote with two of my friends, Chris Van Etten and David Ozanich, under the pen name David Van Etten. Chris and David both have experience working on soap operas, and had the idea for a TV show about the daughter of a soap opera diva who ends up running a soap opera of her own. I know nothing about writing a TV show, so I said, "Hey, that would be fun to write as a series of books, too!" And, voila!, Likely Story was born. It was a blast to write, and the main character, Mallory, is one of my favorites yet.

In 2009, Knopf published Love is the Higher Law. It's the story of three teenagers in New York on 9/11, and how their lives intertwine in the days and weeks and months that follow. I know this sounds grim, but it's really the story of things coming together even as it feels like the world is falling apart -- because that's how it felt to be in New York at that time, both tragic because of the events that happened and magical in the way that everyone became their better selves in the face of it. It's a love story between friends, a love story for a city, and a love story for love itself, and the way it can get us through things, however daunting or shocking they may be. Or at least that's what I aimed for. I hope you'll read it and let me know if I got there.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson started, in many ways, back in college, when I kept being mistaken for another student named David Leventhal. He was a beautiful dancer; I was not. So people would continually come up to me and say things like, "I saw you on stage last night - who would have thought you could be so graceful?" And I'd have to say, "Um...that wasn't me." Our paths finally crossed at the end of school, and we became best friends when we both moved to New York City - him to dance, me to edit and write. Fast forward ten years or so - I had the idea to write a book about two boys with the same name, and called my friend John Green about it. He said yes on the spot, and it took us five years from first conversation to publication day. The result? A novel about identity, love, and what it's like to make a musical out of your own life. You know, the universal themes.

My third novel with Rachel Cohn, called Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, came out in October 2010. It's a romantic cat-and-mouse chase through New York, with a special shoutout to The Strand, a bookstore I am particularly fond of.

The Lover's Dictionary, my first novel about post-teenagers, was published by FSG at the start of 2011. It's the story of a relationship told entirely in dictionary form. Once again, this started out as a Valentine's Day story, and grew from there. I'd often been asked if it would be different to write about adults than it is to write about teens, and I learned that, no, there isn't any difference. A story is a story. And when I write, I'm not thinking of audience -- just of being true to the story. My hope is Lover's Dictionary is as honest as I can be,

Upcoming? A different kind of YA collaboration for me -- a novel I wrote based on photographs my friend Jonathan Farmer gave me. I never knew which photo would come next, and he never knew what I was writing. The result is a very strange, somewhat dark, portrait of a boy on the verge of a complete breakdown. It's called Every You, Every Me, and it will be published in fall 2011.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#71 in Books > Teens
#71 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

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It may be worth finding at a library in order to read the previously mentioned pieces, but overall I'd suggest skipping this book.
A. Dickens
I have read most of the authors' other works, so I shouldn't have been so surprised with how much I enjoyed reading every story, every page.
Amazon Customer
It's a great story that manages, in just a few pages, to create wonderfully three-dimensional characters that I'd love to read more about.
TeensReadToo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Dickens on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was rather disappointed with this collection. Most of the stories were either overly contrived, or simply boring. There are only three that really stand out as "good" in my mind, which are "Three Fates", "Mom Called, She Said You Have to Go to Prom", and "The Question." Unfortunately, they weren't enough to make up for the rest of the book. It may be worth finding at a library in order to read the previously mentioned pieces, but overall I'd suggest skipping this book.
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By bryce griffith on October 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
21 Proms fully met my expectation. It was funny, the stores were good, and i was very pleased with it over all.
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By LSS on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like how this book was filled with several smaller stories. The variety kept me interested (although there were a few that felt like they overlapped in content). I like how many managed to capture the excitement and fun of prom. There were some that tried to stretch the prompt and come up with other ways to tie in to the theme, and those were fun too, although I would have preferred all stories about the primary subject.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
21 PROMS tells the stories of, well, twenty-one proms. Twenty-one fantastic authors contributed to this collection, and each and every one of the stories is fabulous and enjoyable. A few, however, really stick out in my mind after finishing this book.

Holly Black's IN VODKA VERITAS is a creepy story about an evil Latin club. "MOM CALLED, SHE SAID YOU HAVE TO GO TO PROM" is Adrienne Maria Vrettos' contribution to the book. It's a great story that manages, in just a few pages, to create wonderfully three-dimensional characters that I'd love to read more about. BETTER BE GOOD TO ME by Daniel Ehrenhaft is a brilliantly written and romantic story. Aimee Friedman's THREE FATES is a hilarious story about what happens when Abby ends up with three dates instead of going dateless the way she thought she would. THE QUESTION is Brent Hartinger's one-act play that would be wonderful to see performed. PRIMATE THE PROM is Libba Bray's very interesting, original, and unusual story of a boy going to prom with his boyfriend -- who just happens to be a gorilla. THE BACKUP DATE, by Leslie Margolis, is a fabulously well-written story about Jasmine, a whiny but completely believable character, going to prom with her boyfriend and brother's best friend.

As you can see, there are quite a few fabulous stories in this collection. The two that I loved the most, however, were these: Melissa de la Cruz told the absolutely true and absolutely hilarious story of her prom in A SIX-PACK OF BUD, A FIFTH OF WHISKEY, AND ME. THE GREAT AMERICAN MORP is John Green's absolutely brilliant story and one of my two favorites about a couple of girls having a "morp," a party that is a backwards prom. In this funny and fantastic story, he introduces characters that I'd absolutely love to see again.
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