Ask Again Later

( 7 )


Sixteen Candles meets Sliding Doors in this hilariously charming and irreverent YA debut. Fans of realistic teen fiction like Lauren Barnholdt's Two-Way Street and Sarah Mlynowski's Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) will love Ask Again Later's pitch-perfect tale of prom night drama—with a twist.

Heart LaCoeur has zero interest in a messy high-school romance, no matter what her name suggests. That's why she's decided to avoid prom angst by going with a group of ...

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Sixteen Candles meets Sliding Doors in this hilariously charming and irreverent YA debut. Fans of realistic teen fiction like Lauren Barnholdt's Two-Way Street and Sarah Mlynowski's Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) will love Ask Again Later's pitch-perfect tale of prom night drama—with a twist.

Heart LaCoeur has zero interest in a messy high-school romance, no matter what her name suggests. That's why she's decided to avoid prom angst by going with a group of single friends. And that's why, when two surprise prom invites derail her brilliant plan, Heart takes the only foolproof, drama-free solution: a coin flip—that somehow gives her the chance to live out both prom nights. Heads or tails, where they both end up might be the most surprising thing of all. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
High school junior Heart LaCoeur had planned to go to prom with a group of friends—as the No Drama Prom-a Crew—but suddenly gets two other invitations. Heart’s brother promises her to his recently dumped best friend, and her friend Ryan confesses that he’s gay and asks her to be his platonic date. Though readers may not think either option beats Heart’s original plan, she waffles and finally flips a coin. The remainder of the book alternates between the two paths, Sliding Doors–style. In one thread, Heart spends the night with stereotypically drunk football players and their prom-royalty dates; in the other, she has an unromantic evening with Ryan, which is mostly spent with the No Drama group anyway. Duplicate disasters occur in both storylines, which eventually dovetail for a telegraphed happy ending. While Heart’s escapades are largely (and enjoyably) silly, debut author Czukas occasionally hints at deeper issues, but abandons them. Readers dreaming of their own future proms can enjoy the hijinks, but they aren’t quite enough to sustain the story. Ages 13–up. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency. (Mar.)
ALA Booklist
“Czukas’ debut is pure fun; at times, readers will feel as if in a John Hughes movie—and that’s a good thing.”
RT Book Reviews
“Fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jane Austen will swoon.”
Huntley Fitzpatrick
“Breezy, witty, and charming with some serious swoon. You will heart Heart in this sprightly comedy of errors.”
Shaun Hutchinson
“A hilarious romp. Heart is the kind of narrator you’ll love rooting for: self-deprecating, brutally honest, and charmingly quirky. A Molly Ringwald for the next generation. The only question you won’t need to ask again later is whether or not to read this book. The answer is yes.”
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Cynthia Winfield
Part I describes how Heart LaCoeur has a no-dating policy because her teen mom left when Heart and her older brother, Phil, were babies. Determined to do better, Heart believes her no-dating policy will prevent teen pregnancy. With prom night approaching, Heart plans for a group date with seven theater friends, until she gets two last-minute propositions by desperate potential dates. Ryan, from tech crew, comes out as gay while personally inviting Heart, but the theater teacher interrupts them. Troy, a jock-friend of Phil’s dumped by his one love, Amy, has Phil broker his invitation. Confused, Heart resorts to a coin flip. Part II plays out in a series of theoretical coin flips where heads is dating Troy and tails is dating Ryan. Initially, the chapter-length coin flips are tolerable, but as the theoretical coin descends, its velocity increases, making for ever-shorter scenes until the story has progressed through her disastrous prom night to the point at the after-party where Heart has refriended her best friend and, in part III, even agrees to date him—slowly. While middle-aged readers may find flipping perspectives increasingly dizzying, teens may like the technique. Czukas’s humor saddles Heart with a best friend who calls her by myriad body part names—Spleen, Kidney, Pancreas—and an aunt who thinks to pack essential items into an emergency bag—including condoms for the girl who has no plans to be kissed. This is light reading for romance-seeking girls. Reviewer: Cynthia Winfield; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
One teen's prom night splits in two directions. Seventeen-year-old Heart LaCoeur (who's already planning to change her "porn star" name upon turning 18) has plans to attend the dance with friends as part of "the No Drama Prom-a Crew." Unfortunately, fate (in which she does not believe) inserts itself in the form of two last-minute dates: her French-class conversation partner, Ryan, and her brother's football teammate, Troy, recently dumped by his girlfriend. With the flip of a Chuck E. Cheese token, the first-person narrative splits in two. In the "Heads" version of reality, she is Troy's date and the odd girl out among the jocks and cheerleaders. In the "Tails" version, her date is gay Ryan, who has come out only to her. The night plays out in various hijinks before the split narratives collide in a somewhat predictable, but still satisfying, romantic conclusion. In her debut, Czukas gives readers a glimpse of a genuine comedic voice and surprisingly well-developed characters, but much of the book's promise is lost, victim of its own contrivance, in a choose-your-own-prom adventure without actual choices. Some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments are scattered throughout the unevenly paced narrative. This may work for readers seeking a cute and frothy prom-night romp, but anyone looking for something more substantial will be disappointed. Great characters in search of a less gimmicky narrative. (Fiction. 13-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—"You can't get pregnant if you don't even have a boyfriend, right?" Heart LaCoeur has spent her life trying to not end up like her mother, who had two children by age 20 and then panicked and abandoned the family. So when prom, the most romantic night of the year, rolls around, Heart and her friends decide to attend as one big group, nicknamed the "No Drama Prom-a Club." The plan falls apart when Heart is asked to the prom by two different guys-Ryan, a theater-geek friend, and Troy, her brother's jock best friend. The novel plays out both scenarios in "Heads" and "Tails" sections, allowing readers to see the outcome of each of Heart's potential dates. Throughout both story lines, Heart relies on one of her guy friends, Chase, to help her through the chaos of the night. Eventually, Heart learns that Chase has been harboring a secret crush on her. The back-and-forth story lines of the narrator's two different dates becomes confusing to follow at times, and the plot contains many YA fiction clichés (a friend coming out as gay, underage drinking, dating drama, and an absentee parent). Even so, Heart is a more-than-likable main character, and her budding romance with Chase will be relatable and win over teens, while her resolute stance on "taking it slow," even once her no-dating policy dissolves, will be appreciated by adults.—Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062272393
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 252,680
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Czukas is a freelance writer living outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is also the author of Ask Again Later. She collects college degrees she doesn't use, types too loud, and always has a song stuck in her head.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2014

    Unlike most girls, Heart LaCouer never cared about bringing a da

    Unlike most girls, Heart LaCouer never cared about bringing a date to prom. The plan was to go with friends and enjoy the night with them. Suddenly, Heart is struggling with two unexpected prom-vites. Deciding whom to go with is extremely hard- so why not flip a coin instead? Ask Again Later is a crazy story of heads or tails, prom night fiascos and happy-ever-afters.

    Heart seized my interest from the very first sentence. She was undeniably witty and I easily loved the way she was written. Aside from Heart, I think the rest of the characters were quite an interesting bunch. The No Drama Prom-a Crew, a.k.a. Heart’s friends were generally awesome, especially Schroeder, whom I loved. Phil, Heart’s brother, and his friends were not the best crowd but I got a kick out of reading their exploits. Phil wasn’t exactly the best brother either, in fact he kind of deserved a kick in the head, but I liked that the author took time to explore sibling relationships.

    Liz Czukas’ writing is effortlessly smooth and natural. It’s also very funny and full of humor. There is no resisting a book that makes me laugh so much! The heads/tails factor was also very ingenious of her! I had some trouble getting what was happening (damn me for being slow and for not reading the plot summary beforehand) but then there was that “OHH” moment and I finally understood that there was two storylines featuring the two sides of the coin. It was the first time I’ve read such a story but I think it was pretty clever.

    I loved the last parts of the book, where things started converging and moving towards a delightfully sweet outcome. Let’s just say I was rooting for Heart to end up with that person from the very beginning and things turned out pretty much the way I wished they would be. The romance, while not realized from the start, was lovely to watch. The setting of prom night made the whole thing even better.

    It’s no secret that I love reading light contemporary romances. In fact, I exist to read that kind of stuff. Needless to say, I really enjoyed Ask Again Later and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author. If you’re looking for a giggle-your-heart-out prom love story, I utterly recommend that you read this one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2015

    A fun story about the craziness that can happen at Prom. I'm now

    A fun story about the craziness that can happen at Prom. I'm now twice as excited as mine! - Nova @ Out of Time

    I was initially a little "meh" about this title. More because I haven't experienced Prom yet and because I love stories that have to do with more serious topics. I had a little fear in the back of my mind that this story would be very fluffy (fun), but not really go anywhere.
    I was actually quite surprised to have loved the concept. I still think it was a little ridiculous, but I enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of the teen shows I watch in my spare time for entertainment.

    This is a story that takes place over the course of a little more than a day, I think. But this day was so eventful and Czukas certainly has a way of making it a fun and quirky story. So, it reminded me a little of "Pivot Point" where the MC has two different choices and each leads to something different. Only difference was that both "paths" ended up on the same one towards the end.
    I really liked the story. I laughed a lot during it and was completely invested in the story. It was very cute because though there were two different streams, they both had their similarities while it not being too boring or one-track.

    I had an issue with the characters. There was close to no development in the characters, which I can understand because the book was over the course of a night. They stayed completely the same. I didn't expect the prom to be some kind of revelation, but some crazy stuff did happen that I know would change me as a person (if it happened to me). I also thought there were too many characters. They kind of blended into each other to make the scene, but didn't have personalities and very limited lines; their involvement came with I also didn't particularly connect with any of the characters. I didn't know them, only what their interests were.
    And I guess that's the disadvantage to having a story that's so limited in terms of time. I can't say that the author's goal was character development because it was a quick and fun read, but I would've liked some change.

    The romance itself was actually very sweet. I found it a little rushed when it happened, but the events leading up to it were created for a smooth and "aw" worthy transition. Heart and Schroeder's relationship was actually developed off-screeen as they knew each other from before. It only took a crazy night at prom for them to realize that they liked each other. And I love how in both decisions (paths), the same outcome happened with Heart and her romantic interest.

    The only thing that I didn't as stated in the beginning was PROM as a subject. It seems a little dreamy to think about, but I couldn't really connect. I was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing; I mean, I've seen movies, but it isn't the same because I couldn't get how the characters felt.
    Plus, I know both guys had good reasons for wanting to go to Prom with Heart, but I found the "who do I go with" thing way to dramatized. From synop, the theater guy has Heart's interests - he's the obvious choice. And the other guy is drooling over his ex. I didn't understand why it was such a hard choice and that frustrated me.

    All in all, Ask Again Later is a fluffy, quick read about the crazy happenings at Prom. Czukas writes in the fresh voice of Heart LeCouer, a girl trying to make the difficult decisions that high school socials throw at you. And I think that a lot of people can connect with that.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    This book is crazy cute with a great, fun voice, and I recommend

    This book is crazy cute with a great, fun voice, and I recommend it to literally anyone who loves light contemp. The fact that it's Sliding Doors-y isn't my favorite, and doesn't hugely add anything, but I appreciate that not a ton of time is wasted on exploring the bit of paranormalcy, and it's basically just two fun prom stories woven into one book that'll make you smile every couple minutes.

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  • Posted May 3, 2014

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
    Heart is going to prom with her friends, until her friend Ryan asks her (and has a very specific reason why they should go as friends), and then her brother tells her she has to go with his friend who just got dumped.
    Heart can’t decide which offer to take up, so she flips a coin – Heads she goes with Troy, Tails she goes with Ryan.
    Then we get two stories – Prom with Troy and Prom with Ryan. But who should Heart have gone with? And who should have asked her to prom but didn’t?

    This was a cute story, and I liked how everything worked out okay in the end.

    I like Heart, even if she did have a stupid name, and I liked the way she thought of other people rather than just herself. I liked the way she went with a vintage prom dress, and I also liked the way she took her little party bag from her auntie, even when she didn’t really want it.

    The storyline in this was pretty good, and reminded me of the book ‘Pivot Point’ by Kasie West, which had a similar sort of thing happen in it.
    I did find it a little strange the way the chapters alternated between ‘Prom with Troy’ and ‘Prom with Ryan’, and it meant that you couldn’t stop reading in the middle of a chapter or you’d get confused as to which prom you were at when you next picked up the book. I have to say that I wasn’t quite expecting this sci-fi twist, but it worked out okay.
    I felt really sorry for Heart at moments, especially the catastrophe of her dress, and at times it was difficult to know which option she should have picked. Thankfully though everything seemed to work out okay at the end!
    There was some subtle romance, which also worked out well, even if it took a while to get there.
    The ending was good, and again, I was happy that everything worked out okay for Heart in the end!
    Overall; an interesting prom story, with a bit of a sci-fi twist.
    7.5 out of 10.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to read Ask Again Later because it sounded like a cu

    I wanted to read Ask Again Later because it sounded like a cute read and I like the premise of being able to live out both flips of the coin and see what changes and how it effects her. I was glad to see it on Edelweiss for review and I have a good run with Harper Teen.
    It came through with the cute and fun. Heart, the main character is easy to like and she learns how to stand up for herself in this one, we get to see the heads side where she goes with Troy, and tails with Ryan. I liked the banter between her and Ryan, and things that he helps her to see. Ryan has a reason why he asked her, and that he doesn't make for a long term relationship, and I like how his story was handled. But I didn't find a whole lot that made me like Troy. I know that his heart was broken and all, but still. Also there was an interesting relationship between Heart and her brother.
    But all along I was pulling for Chase, or Schroeder, a long time friend who calls her by random body parts and she calls him that because of the piano player. It was obvious to me, but not to Heart that he liked her, and it was interesting what drew them together in both flips of the coin. He is shy, a drama nerd, and head over heels for Heart, which endears me to him.
    I do love the premise of fate and how different choices have different effects. I also liked that in both of the sides of the coins, certain things happened, like they were inevitable, that life will sometimes just get you a certain way and not much can change it.
    I liked her circle of friends but none of them really stood out to me. They supported her and brought her truth when she needed it, but I think their personalities could have been more fleshed out and they could have played a better role in it.
    I flew through this one, and it was just what I needed. A cute and fun story, with some pretty epic bad prom moments that made me cringe or giggle, sometimes both. While I liked it while reading, I couldn't rate it higher because there was nothing that made this story unforgettable, or something that made a bigger impact on me. Sure I liked the romance in the end, but besides sweet, witty and being right for Heart.
    I wasn't sure how the ending was going to work out, but I think that it came to the best ending in my opinion and got there in a way that I didn't suspect. It gave a definite conclusion and the happy ending that I was searching for.

    Bottom Line: Cute read about a coin flip to decide who should be her prom date and the sweet boy in the background that isn't head or tails, but perfect for Heart.

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  • Posted March 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Ask Again Later was a fun and flirty young adult contemporary re

    Ask Again Later was a fun and flirty young adult contemporary read. It might have been a little too young for me, but it was still mostly enjoyable. This might get a wee bit spoilery, so beware. 

    What worked for me was the characters… for the most part. Heart was a bit over the top at times, but she’s an actress. What do you expect? She had awkward moments a’plenty and that endeared her to me more. The jock, Troy, was a pretty flat character from my perspective. But, I don’t think he was meant to be all that interesting. Ryan, the closeted theater geek, on the other hand, was pretty interesting. He didn’t fit the stereotypical gay friend character and I appreciate that. Yes, some gay guys do actually like sports and don’t enjoy dancing. Thank you, Liz, for making him stand out a bit from the pack. Chase, Heart’s classmate and frenemy was fantastic. Their chemistry was fantastic and the banter between them was the other thing I really enjoyed about the book. 

    I enjoyed Liz’s writing, but I had a difficult time staying interested in the format. As you have probably guessed from the blurb above, Ask Again Later was broken into two separate storylines (heads and tails) that run concurrently. Nearly the entire book takes place on prom night. Each chapter is told from Heart’s perspective as she lives both of the options (heads and tails) to see what type of night she’d have with each guy. What she doesn’t take into account, is the third option for her night: going with her friends as she intended originally and the love connection that just might await there. The biggest problem for me was that the events of the two storylines weren’t quite different enough and it came off as a bit of a muddled mess towards the end. There were definitely some cute moments and great banter, but overall I just felt very ambivalent about it. I already knew who Heart belonged with and hopefully who she’d end the night with, so the other options didn’t really interest me.

    In all actuality, this is probably a 2.5 star read, but since I don’t do half stars, I’m rounding it up to 3 stars. It was charming and a cute idea in theory, but the execution lacked a little for me. It wasn’t a bad book. It was sweet and cute and if you’re a fan of young adult contemporaries, you should probably check it out and form your own opinion. I would suggest waiting to get it from the library though. 

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted March 15, 2014

    I don't normally feel old when I'm reading YA, but with this one

    I don't normally feel old when I'm reading YA, but with this one I really felt it lol I think it was the fact that it was centered on prom and the way it was written. Whatever the reason, I felt like I was a little too old to read it. 
          In Ask Again Later we meet Heart (yes that's her real name) who is stuck with deciding who she wants to take her to prom. She gets asked by two people that couldn't be more different for two very different reasons. She can't decide on who to take because she thinks both ideas are important so she flips a coin. This story tells what happens of she chooses Heads and takes Troy or Tails and choses Ryan. In the end things don't end up exactly how she thought they would. 
         Don't everybody kill me at once. I know I'm the black sheep with this one. I liked it, but it felt like it was really written MG like. Well not necessarily MG, but of the younger YA, and because of that it turned me off of it. At one point I had to put it down and start something else because I almost DNF'ed it. The only reason I picked it back up was Epic Reads mentioned how it shows both sides of prom and I was waiting to see if there was a "supernatural" reason for that or something. 
         When I was reading it, I was wondering how it would be if I had flipped my own coin and read whatever side I got. It would've been cool but at some parts I would've been a little confused because Heart some kind of way lives out both sides. And trust me, both sides are equally horrible lol
         But I did like the story. Once I got over the way it was written, I just finished reading the story and I ended up loving how funny it was. Just not the main character. She just seemed so passive. All these things were happening to her that she didn't like and she just let it happen. She never once spoke up for herself. 
         All in all, this was a cute read and I enjoyed the laughs it provided, but that was all. It felt a little young to me which may have been because of the writing style. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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