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Prom Paperback – February 2, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (February 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405703
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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, http://twitter.com/halseanderson, and on her blog, http://madwomanintheforest.com/blog/.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#79 in Books > Teens
#79 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 1000 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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12 of 12 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CoolTigersRule on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ashley Hannigan is an eighteen year-old girl who could care less about the prom, but all her friends are going crazy over it. The students at Ashley's high school go to school and stay out for trouble every day just so they can go to the prom until one day their crazy math teacher, Mrs. Banks, stole some of the money that was going to be used for the prom. Ashley has a best friend named Natalie who is bound determined to keep the prom up and going, since they do not have much money they are begging for prom donations. Even though Ashley could care less about the prom her friends find a way to drag her into making the prom happen. The families of the students are helping each other out so that their children will get to go even though the prom will be held in the school gym because none of the nice hotels want them since they do not have any money. They work their butts off for quite a long time for the prom and they finally thought they were going to be able to go get ready for the prom when something happens to two of the girls. Read the book to find out what happens.

I really liked this book and I thought it had great details. The only thing that I did not like was that it had some bad things in it even though they are very few of these parts, but it was still a very good book and it is well worth the time to read it. The book had some adventure and a little mystery on whether or not they would get to go to the prom.

I would recommend this book to any teenage girl who loves sort of a mystery, but more of a prom loving kind of book. 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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Prom is a great book to read for entertainment. I thought this book was really good and fun to read. The plot kept me reading all the time. I never wanted to put the book down! I loved the main character, Ashley Hannigan, because she seemed like a real person; not perfect.

Although this book was good, there are a few things I would change or add. I think it should have introduced and gotten to know more of the main character's classmates [the ones who were not best friends or family]. I think this would be a good idea because there were only a few main characters and you did not get to see how the other people around them acted or felt. Also, I think a nice touch would have been a "mystery man" at the dance that Ashley would have met afterwards. These would be just a few things I would have added or changed but the book was still great without these things.

I would recommend this book to almost anyone. Anyone that is at least 13 that is. I would not recommend this book to kids any younger than 13. Also, this is one of those books that would only be appealing to girls not boys. However, I would recommend this book to girls who are mature and enjoy reading funny books. One thing I really liked about this book that may be appealing to some other girls is that there were not actual chapters. Instead of chapters, there were just numbered sections. This made it really easy to read but really hard to want to stop reading. Therefore, if you are 13 or older, a girl, and enjoy reading funny books, Prom by Laurie Halse is a great book for you.
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