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4.1 178
by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Philadelphia high school who doesn’t care about the prom. It’s pretty much the only good thing that happens there, and everyone plans to make the most of it—especially Ash’s best friend, Natalia, who’s the head of the committee and has prom stars in her eyes. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money and Ash finds


Philadelphia high school who doesn’t care about the prom. It’s pretty much the only good thing that happens there, and everyone plans to make the most of it—especially Ash’s best friend, Natalia, who’s the head of the committee and has prom stars in her eyes. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money and Ash finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance. But she has plenty of help—from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat’s eccentric grandmother, from the principal, from her fellow classmates. And in making the prom happen, Ash learns some surprising things about making her life happen, too.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Modern teen life just outside Philadelphia is vividly drawn in Ashley’s first person tale, and it’s both screamingly funny and surprisingly tender. Expect teen readers to be quoting aloud to each other, and giggling." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Ashley Hannigan's plans for the future don't include the senior prom; they include things like squeaking through to graduate, moving out of her parents' crowded house and into a Philadelphia apartment with her high school dropout boyfriend. Those plans change when Miss Crane, the math teacher, embezzles all the prom money. Before she can say, "Too weird," Ashley finds herself choreographing a school gala that changes everything. Tender; funny; perceptive.
Publishers Weekly
"This energetic novel, narrated by Ashley, offers snappy commentary about high-school life, and some priceless scenes," wrote PW. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ashley Hannigan considers herself one of the "normal" kids. She is scraping through an urban Philadelphia school, cuts class regularly, but does enough homework so she will be sure to graduate. She is more interested in sex than school, though her boyfriend can be a loser at times. Her home is full of love and male siblings. The babies keep coming, in fact there is another on the way. Ashley's has enough going on when her best friend Natalia, who's a real student with a real interest in the prom, hooks her into planning because the faculty advisor has embezzled the money and left everyone in the lurch. Ashley must avoid her many earned detentions to help her friend plan an event she doesn't really care about. Or does she? And if she did, who would she go with? And what is she going to do next year? Short chapters, involving voice, accurate dialogue, humor and reality all make this a winning book for teens, especially the ones who are not in the top academic or most popular groups! 2005, Viking, Ages 12 to 15.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 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 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ashley thinks of herself as a normal kid: best friend next door, hot, but unreliable dropout boyfriend, parents a bit spacey, and a household barely hanging in there. She's not into the prom the way her best friend Natalia is, so when it nearly gets cancelled because a teacher has absconded with all the money, Ashley is not prepared for Nat's approach. Nat figures they can still have a prom, if they beg for stuff and get teachers to help and bribe the custodial staff and so on. Rather against her will, Ashley gets sucked into the lists in Nat's pink notebook. It delights her very pregnant mom; it makes dealing with all those detentions and uncompleted assignments even more of a chore; it focuses Nat's slightly addled Russian grandmother on dressmaking; and calls Ashley's hilarious aunts to the fore. Modern teen life just outside Philadelphia is vividly drawn in Ashley's first-person tale, and it's both screamingly funny and surprisingly tender. It's also full of sly throwaway references: oaths taken on a copy of Lord of the Rings instead of a Bible, Ash's dad singing Aerosmith, accounts that read, "he was all . . . I was all . . . then he was all." Expect teen readers to be quoting aloud to each other, and giggling. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Once upon a time there was an eighteen-year-old girl who dragged her butt out of bed and hauled it all the way to school on a sunny day in May.


That was me.


Normal kids (like me) thought high school was cool for the first three days in ninth grade. Then it became a big yawn, the kind of yawn that showed the fillings in your teeth and the white stuff on your tongue you didn’t scrape off with your toothbrush.

Sometimes I wondered why I bothered. Normal kids (me again), we weren’t going to college, no matter what anybody said. I could read and write and add and do nails and fix hair and cook a chicken. I could defend myself and knew which streets were cool at night and which neighborhoods a white girl like me should never, ever wander in.

So why keep showing up for class?

Blame my fifth-grade teacher.

Ms. Valencia knew she was teaching a group of normal kids. She knew our parents and our neighborhood. Couple times a week she’d go off on how we absolutely, positively had to graduate from high school, diploma and all (like the GED didn’t count, which was cold), or else we were going straight to hell, with a short detour by Atlantic City to lose all our money in the slot machines. She made an impression, know what I mean?

Every kid who was in that fifth-grade class with me was graduating, except for the three who were in jail, the two who kept having babies, the one who ran away, and the two crack whores.

The rest of us, we were getting by.

I was getting by.


It had been a decent morning, for a Tuesday. No meltdowns at home. The perverts outside the shelter left me alone, and the Rottweiler on Seventh was chained up. A bus splashed through the puddle at the corner of Bonventura and Elk, but only my sneakers got soaked. It could have been worse. At least the sun was shining and some of my homework was done.

So I got to admit, I was in a half-decent mood that morning, dragging myself and my butt to school.

I had no clue what was coming

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"...teens will love Ashley's clear view of high-school hypocrisies, dating and the fierce bonds of friendship." Booklist, starred review

Meet the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor Book Speak. She is also author of the critically acclaimed YA books Prom, Twitsted, Catalyst, Wintergirls, and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She has also authored a number of middle grade titles including The Vet Volunteers series, and the historical fiction Seeds of America Trilogy, which includes Forge, ALA Best Book for Young Adults Fever 1793, and the National Book Award finalist and Scott O’Dell Award-winner Chains. She and her husband live in northern New York State. Follow Laurie on Twitter @halseanderson and visit her at madwomanintheforest.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Prom 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 177 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader and I believe I am qualified to give a helpful review. Prom was artfully written, dealing with real life issues in a slightly sarcastic but humorous way. Anderson is brilliant when it comes to teenage sentiments although all her characters seem to be much the same. I believe her books are meant to be funny and insightful, but if you are looking for John Updike material this isn't it. For those reviewers who have accused this book of being immoral and trashy, please take a look around. Anderson describes real life. Teenagers have sex, drink, and curse all the time, so please do not be ignorant to the times.
Ash-Bugs More than 1 year ago
the book prom that i read was a pretty good book. it got kinda boring in some parts like there where to many details. but it was a really cute story. i would give this book a four star.the tone of the book mixed emotions it could be happy or sometimes the charecter got upset with each other. also this book is like things that happen in your everyday high school so like it was cool that i could relate to some of it like prom. or and kind of dances. i would suggest it to any girl that wants to read a cute book.
Maddie Neils More than 1 year ago
I have this book and it is definitly one of my favorite books. I love the humor that was inc. In this book. This is a must read
Miguel Sandoval More than 1 year ago
I've already read this book 11 times!!!! It's definitely a must have!!!
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
Yes this a gritty book, but its more like Jersey Shore goes to the Prom to me. The characters are all inner-city tough people. Senior Ashley just wants to survive her senior year, graduate, and move the heck out of her house and be with her older boyfriend, TJ. But things start to change and she is thrown into trying to save Prom and along the way she learns a few things. Its fun for a beach or pool read, and yeah there is drinking and sex and all the usual senior issues, but look past it and you will enjoy this book a lot!!
Michelle1109 More than 1 year ago
This book jumped into the exciting part really quickly. However, I didnt find it grabbing me into the story like other books. It was a cute story. But I feel like it's an average book. I recommend it for people who just wants to read. This is definitely a beach book.
bethany56 More than 1 year ago
I read this book because a bunch of people suggested it, and I actually really liked it. I could relate to the main character, Ashley. She was a regular teen that was just trying to help everyone out, and somehow got sucked into the huge prom mess. Her and her best friend are complete opposites, but somehow still got along even with her crazy grandmother and all the prom stuff, which I thought was cool because in any other book they would have had a huge fight and that would be the whole plot. It seemed like the author really took a lot of thought into every word in that book,and it really came together to make sense, not just a story line that goes all over the place. She numbered her points she was trying to make, and kept it up through the whole book. It helped you to get the gist of the section. They had family issues, boy trobules, school drama, and everything in life. It was like you were there watching everything take place. It was an overall good book, and I would recommend it to high/middle school girls. -Bethany
j_h More than 1 year ago
Prom was a great book! It had a happy ending, although it could've ended differently. I loved the way Laurie portrayed Ashley's character. From the beginning of the book to the end, Ashley went through a drastic change. She built up her character and became the woman that can move on with her life. And she owes it all to the Prom.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was about a slacker-teen, Ashley, who gets roped into organizing the prom by her best friend,when the prom advisor stole the money. This book was refreshing with Ashley's upfront take on life. In some ways it was oddly funny with the eccentric Russian grandma and Ashley's wack-job family. It had a happy ending, but not in the traditional prom night way. At times the plot just kinda seemed to fall through and drag on. Overall, it was decent, but be warned that some readers might find some parts unmodest, as pointed out by other reviewers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book promotes everything that parents and teachers DO NOT want their teenagers to do!! The 'heroine' of the novel disputes authority, sleeps with her boyfriend, gets drunk, stays out late on a school nights wandering around downtown, and then passes out condoms to everyone at her high school prom. The cover photo would have one believe it is a sweet, off-beat prom story when it really isn't. This is NOT a book I'd recommend for anyone let alone middle school students. Some examples of this books disturbing content are: When Ashley's boyfriend gives her a cell phone, they take off their clothes and go to bed to celebrate, and at the prom, a couple engages in oral sex behind the bleachers. I was shocked to find these things in a book recommended for our youth. This is not the type of morality and behavior I want to instill my children. I am so sorry I bought it! Truly a waste of good money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked in in his tuxedo. *ugh... i really dont feel like being here.* he sat against the wall and pulled out his phone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got locked out of that book...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This rp seems dead. Is there anyone still here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are a beast. Which Jordans are they?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in wearing a nice long shirt, nice jeans, and her freshly bought air jordans*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Remember prom, high school.......the good and the bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stop u taking the drinks away no I say that is enough
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in confused hoping he is welcome. "Mack, where are u?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Bye..." sulks and flies home thinking of lacey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Forgive me if I spelt your name wrong.) <p> ((That's a wonderful song. Yesh.))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Appears. And protects rue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in. Hey rue. Whatcha doing here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I nt get how the foot can arch that far up." Shudders "ive got to go. Thank you for the night." Kisses you, puts a rose in the shoe and leaves
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks around hopeing for a date-less boy