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Prom Paperback – February 2, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (February 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405703
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Ages 12 and up. Who would have thought the author of the gritty classic Speak had a gift for comedy? Here she demonstrates her comedic talent in the warm and witty story of Ashley, who is definitely not a prom-type person, and her best friend Nat, who lives for the prom. When the math teacher disappears with the funds just eleven days before the dance, determined and organized Nat goes into high gear to find alternative ways to make the prom happen and drags an unwilling Ashley into the flurry of urgent details.

Ashley has enough problems in her life already, starting with the complexities of her crowded but loving working class family -- her extremely pregnant mother and her three exuberant and prom-crazy aunts, and her cab-driving father and three younger brothers, who think nothing of happily trashing the kitchen in a game of hot dog baseball. Then there’s Mr. Gilroy, the evil vice principal of discipline, who has Ashley on endless detention, her awful job at EZ-CHEEZ-E, where she has trouble seeing the customers through the eyeholes of her rat costume, and her good-looking but lowlife boyfriend TJ, who wants her to join him in a future as depressing as the dank one-room apartment he has so proudly rented for them. Not to speak of Nat’s loony grandmother, who wears her red bathing cap even when she’s not doing the backstroke in a wading pool, babbles at Ashley in Russian, and spits on the floor to show her disapproval.

But in the end it’s grandma with her skill at baking (pastries to bribe the custodians) and sewing (a magical prom dress) who saves both the prom and Ashley’s belief in herself and her future in this delightful and heartfelt novel. --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up - Ashley is (in her own words) normal - a senior from a lower-middle-class family, dating a high school dropout, and gearing up for graduation but with no plans for college. But when the new math teacher steals the prom money, Ashley - who swears she doesn't care - finds herself sucked into turning nothing into the best prom ever because it means the world to her best friend, Nat. This is a light, fast read, with "chapters" that range from one line to five pages and a narrative voice that is only a little smarter than it should be. Some secondary characters - Ashley's mother and Nat's grandmother - jump off the pages; unfortunately, the teens do not fare as well. Boyfriend TJ is a stereotypical tough boy, and Ash and Nat's other friends are there mostly as filler. But the first-person narration and the essentially personal nature of the story - Ashley finally comes into her own and proves herself successful at something other than garnering undeserved detentions - makes this a flaw that readers will overlook. In fact, the major flaw is that it's hard to believe Ashley is as bad a kid as she might have you believe. But teens are notorious for making petty misbehavior sound bigger and badder, so this could be read as further proof of just how normal she is. Those looking for another Speak (Farrar, 1999) may be disappointed, but this book will delight readers who want their realism tempered with fun. - Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also made the Carnegie Medal Shortlist in the United Kingdom.

Laurie was the proud recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by YALSA division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature...". She was also honored with the ALAN Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the St. Katharine Drexel Award from the Catholic Librarian Association.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. She and her husband, Scot, plus dogs Kezzie and Thor, and assorted chickens and other critters enjoy country living and time in the woods. When not writing or hanging out with her family, you can find Laurie training for marathons or trying to coax tomatoes out of the rocky soil in her backyard. You can follow her adventures on Twitter,, and on her blog,

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#89 in Books > Teens
#89 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

I would recommend this to any girl teens.
Stephanie Cross
Any girl or maybe even guy who likes to hear about teenagers who stick together to get what they want would also love this book.
The plot drags in places and then races to tie things up in the end.
High school teacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prom is very different from Anderson's earlier books, but it is warm and funny and very well-written. Ashley is a regular senior in high school (notice I tried not to say she's "normal"--Anderson does that enough) who couldn't care less about prom until her best friend Natalia drags her onto the prom committee at the last moment. Ashley is cynical about everything, including her boisterous family, and this attitude carries over into her school work and in particular the prom. Ashley's boyfriend TJ foresees the two of them together after her graduation in a dump of an apartment with going-nowhere futures. As the story goes on, of course Ashley begins to realize she really has more to offer than just a counter job in a store, tho she never loses her edge in expressing herself. At times this book is laugh out loud funny and at times it provokes the reader into anger but it is never boring. The sex is implied, not graphically stated, and is realistically done. I liked this book a lot and recommend it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jinhee Lee on December 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
According to Ashley, she is an average student with average family. She could not think of going to a prom because she does not believe in one magical night. But, when Nat, her best friend, asks for help to reschedule a prom after a teacher used up most of the prom money, Ashley becomes more and more involved in prom. As she gets into the prom, her life starts to change as well. If you Expect this novel to be another `Speak,' you will be disappointed. It is funny rather than serious. This novel is written in cynical tone with funny, tough, and sometimes sweet attitude of Ashley. Anderson wrote this with teen's tone of voice and teens will find this novel as if it is their real story. Anderson takes one of the popular subjects of teens, the prom, and turns that into a real magical transition of real life. She proves that one night of magic can make your life even more magical than ever. It is very entertaining than educational but it is worth reading because everyone should believe in some kind of magic in their life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Claire Hennessy on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A Cinderella story, though not quite as straightforward as the fairytale. Ash is a 'normal' kid, planning to move into a teeny-tiny apartment with boyfriend TJ after graduation rather than going to college, works a job which involves dressing up as a rat and dealing with obnoxious customers, and is going to have to attend detention every day between now and the end of term if she wants to graduate. She isn't remotely enthused about the upcoming prom and thinks it's pretty stupid but when disaster strikes and she finds herself getting involved, she might just get a magical night of her very own. This is sweet and realistic and even though it's quite different to Catalyst or Speak, still brilliant and extremely readable.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brian G. Fay on June 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I finished Laurie Halse Anderson's Prom, I wanted everyone in my class to know just how good it was. I could have said, "dude, this book was awesome, dude," because an opinion is valid in direct relationship to how many dude's are included. I didn't say that though. Instead I asked them, "do you know how good this book was?" They looked at me, wondering if I was going to say dude or something. I answered my own question: "I started it yesterday at four o'clock and I'm done now. Less than twenty-four hours and I read the whole thing." I just kept myself from adding dude. Simply put, without any dudes involved, Prom is an excellent book that I did not want to stop reading for even a moment.

Ashley is the "normal" girl at the heart of Prom and it's this idea of her being normal that most got me. In the book, normal is defined as not a high-flyer going to an Ivy League school and not a total loser. Ashley is not going to college, she's just barely passing school, but she's not dumb. She just isn't the school type. I know some of those high school students. I teach some of them. Ashley sounded real to me. I believed in her and felt as though I knew her. She was a real person. She could have been any number of the students I have known.

And that was the theme for me, this idea of being normal and having the problems, triumphs, worries, wants, and needs of ordinary people. Ashley has a boyfriend who treats her badly, but she stays with him. She has detentions piling up, but she's not a bad kid. She doesn't want to go to the prom, but she allows herself to get roped into organizing most of it once one of her friends needs her help. Ashley is normal in that she is saddled with the conflicts that all of the normal students have to face.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gotigers on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Do you enjoy reading books about the lives of teenagers and how they survive their senior year with a million detentions to serve? I read the book Prom, by Laurie Hasle Anderson, and I could never put the book down. It is full of drama, disappointments, and surprises throughout the whole entire book. It starts out with a senior, named Ashley, who wants nothing to do with her school, especially the vice principle, but to survive her senior year and live with her boyfriend, T.J., who dropped out of school. Together T.J. and Ashley save every penny from their jobs to help buy them a future apartment for themselves, after Ashley is through with school. Natalia, Ashley's best friend, is the head of the prom committee and the problems begin when the math teacher steals the prom money from the school. Ashley is forced to help save prom, as well as watch Natalia's grandma, keep T.J happy, serve all her detentions before graduation, and work her job after school. Will Ashley save prom before Natalia goes crazy? Will T.J. go along with Ashley as she works through this chaos?

I really thought the ending was surprising. I enjoyed reading how hard and stressful it was for Ashley to change from a slacker to the head of the prom committee. This book was easy reading for me because I always wanted to find out what is going to happen or whether Ashley can save the school prom with a very little amount of money. I recommend this book to young girl-teenagers who love stories with romance and happy endings.
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