Prom

Prom

4.2 209
by Laurie Halse Anderson
     
 

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High school senior Ashley Hannigan doesn't care about prom, but she's the exception. It's pretty much the only good thing at her urban Philadelphia high school, and everyone plans to make the most of it-especially Ash's best friend, Natalia, who's the head of the committee. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money, and Ash suddenly finds herself

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Overview

High school senior Ashley Hannigan doesn't care about prom, but she's the exception. It's pretty much the only good thing at her urban Philadelphia high school, and everyone plans to make the most of it-especially Ash's best friend, Natalia, who's the head of the committee. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money, and Ash suddenly finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance out of absolutely nada. But she has help-from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat's eccentric grandmother, from her fellow classmates. And in putting the prom together, Ash learns that she has choices about her life after high school. Prom has everything that award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for-humor, poignancy, teen readers' tough issues dealt with head-on, and a voice teen readers will recognize as their own.

Editorial Reviews

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
Ashley Hannigan, an 18-year-old senior, has no interest in school or school-related activities until prom is canceled. Ashley's long-term plan has been to get through high school, have a boyfriend, move out of her parents' house, and get a job. All of these she plans to do with minimal effort. Among other things, her grades are abysmal, her boyfriend's a dropout, and her waitress job involves wearing a rat costume. With the urging of her best friend, she becomes involved in saving the prom. After being given some decision-making power and responsibility for the prom, Ashley discovers that school is actually not so bad. She wants to go to the prom! Being permitted to attend is another matter. Students will enjoy the first-person account and the short chapters. The humorous antics of quirky characters add to the fun. The story's resolution is satisfying as Ashley is not willing to settle for a life with few possibilities. She is going to try the local community college. One knows she will make it. 2005, Viking Press, 225 pp., Ages young adult.
—Joy Frerichs
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)
From the Publisher
"...teens will love Ashley's clear view of high-school hypocrisies, dating and the fierce bonds of friendship." Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756968977
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
02/02/2006
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

1.

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.

2.

That was me.

3.

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.

4.

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.

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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

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