Love it or hate it, you'll never forget it. In this heart-warming novel, Swoon Reads star, Sandy Hall, explores a classic high school celebration, capturing every relatable and hilarious teen milestone along the way.
Cora: Dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie. Has NO IDEA how to break up with him...
Paisley: Anti-prom. Somehow nominated her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king...
Henry: Hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!
Otis: Half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room...
Lizzie: Shy. Excited to go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn't know.
Cameron: Loner. Over high school. Just wants to meet the mysterious girl who's been leaving him notes...
Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom...
A Prom to Remember, from Sandy Hall (author of A Little Something Different), is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler's life.
Praise for Sandy Hall:
“Romance with a twist.” Booklist on A Little Something Different
"It’s one of the best romances I’ve ever read." Here's to Happy Endings on Been Here All Along
“An authentic teen voice with plenty of charm.” School Library Journal on Signs Point to Yes
|Publisher:||Feiwel & Friends|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Sandy Hall is the author of A Little Something Different, Signs Point to Yes, and Been Here All Along. She has a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. After spending several years as a teen librarian, she decided to try writing books instead of just reading them. It worked out pretty well. When she isn't writing, she enjoyes Netflix marathons, Broadway shows, taking long scrolls through Tumblr, and living in New Jersey.
Read an Excerpt
In general, prom committee meetings bred their own special kind of suffering.
The decision over where and when to hold the prom took a year. The menu planning nearly ended some friendships. The debate over the prom song brought the committee to a grinding halt for a full month. Each time there were tears, storm outs, and once even some bloodshed.
To be fair, the bloodshed was technically a paper cut.
So maybe it wasn't all that dramatic. But it felt that dramatic to Cora Wilson. Being in charge was not all it was cracked up to be.
As she sat at the front of the classroom and called the meeting to order, she held back a yawn until her eyes started to water. She just didn't have the energy today. It was bad enough coming back to school after April break, but it was even worse to have a prom committee meeting first thing in the morning before school even started.
Rows of exhausted faces stared back at Cora, until Luke Martinez yawned and she couldn't hold hers back even one more minute.
"Are we boring you?" Amelia Vaughn asked from her spot in the third row. "I thought we had something serious to discuss."
Cora shook her head and got back to the task at hand. "The biggest thing we need to do today is decide how we want to deal with prom king and queen."
There was a groan from the group, and Cora couldn't be sure, but she thought their advisor, Ms. Huang, perhaps groaned the loudest.
Amelia stood, blond hair gleaming even in the unforgiving fluorescent lights, and her sycophants grinned up at her. "I think we need to keep the tradition of king and queen alive. I think it would be ridiculous to throw away this long-held practice simply because, well, you know."
She looked around the room hopefully, as if someone would read her mind and fill in the rest of the sentence.
"Fine. I'll say it, because I know everyone is thinking it." She paused dramatically. "Our class just doesn't have an obvious prom king."
Cora massaged her temples. "I don't think anyone wants to throw away the tradition completely, but it's sort of old-fashioned, don't you think? Since the beginning of the year we've discussed the possibility of not doing a king and queen vote but changing it to a merit-based prom court honoring the students who have helped so much this year and in previous years with class projects."
Amelia rolled her eyes and sat down. Cora counted it as a win.
Kelsey Anderson raised her hand. "I think there are plenty of guys who would make a great king, and I think maybe we should consider a new way of doing things without completely getting rid of the old idea."
"Okay," Cora said. Kelsey always had an opinion, but they weren't always particularly helpful.
"Like who would make a good king?" Amelia asked. "Our whole class is a bunch of beta males."
The room fell silent.
"Like maybe, um, Henry Lai," Paisley said, chiming in from the back of the room, surprising everyone. By the look on her face, she had even surprised herself. Paisley made no secret of the fact that she was only on prom committee to fill a void in her extracurricular activities.
"Just because you're dating him or whatever," Amelia started.
"He's not my boyfriend," Paisley interrupted with an eye roll.
"That's why I said 'whatever.' I'm sure it's some hippie-dippie, undefined thing."
"It's really not," Paisley said with a sigh.
Cora jotted the name down, wanting to keep track of any possibilities. Even though in Cora's eyes it was a weird and antiquated concept, especially for young, progressive teens, there might be a point to be made that Cora hadn't considered. She liked to keep an open mind for her classmates.
It might be nicer and easier if the class could unite behind tradition and elect a king and queen. But a small voice in the back of her head told her it was not a good idea to always take the nice-and-easy way out.
At least everyone had finally stopped complaining about the theme. "A Prom to Remember" had been the prom theme at Roosevelt High for the past twenty years. The prom advisor to the class of 1998 had gotten an incredible deal on five thousand plastic champagne flutes with the phrase "A Prom to Remember" etched into them. Since then the administration had insisted that be the theme so the keepsake flutes didn't go to waste.
Amelia had tried hard to argue the theme, along with several others on the prom committees, but there was no way of changing it at this point. Cora was a little jealous of future seniors who would get to pick their own theme. Not that she would ever say it out loud.
"And what about Jamie," Teagan said while Cora was busy flipping through her notes from past discussions about prom court.
"What about Jamie?" Cora asked, her ears perking up at the mention of her boyfriend's name.
"Well, he'd make a great prom king. He's a great boyfriend, you know it, I know it, the freaking custodial staff knows that Jamie Fitzpatrick is the perfect boyfriend and he would make a perfect prom king," Josie said.
Cora hesitated before jotting his name down, too.
"What about queens?" Cora asked. She glanced around the room. Luke Martinez jumped up.
"Okay," Luke said. "This is why the idea of a court is so much better. A queen and a king are totally unnecessary in the scheme of things. Like Otis and I should be able to participate in this stuff as a couple."
"And I get that," Amelia said. "But, ugh. You guys are going to make me say it out loud." Amelia's use of the dramatic pause was off the charts that morning. "I want to be prom queen! Is that such a bad thing?"
Cora caught Teagan's eye. They were definitely both internally cringing. This was such an Amelia thing, but before Cora could say a word, Luke continued.
"I mean, I'm sorry if it ruins your chances of living out your dream of prom queen, but it's so heteronormative," Luke said.
Amelia opened her mouth, but before she could argue, Teagan stood up and said, "I agree with Luke, and I think it's time to move on to something less traditional and keeping more in the spirit of our changing world."
Luke, who had remained standing the whole time, high-fived Teagan. "Down with heteronormative bullshit!" Luke cried.
"Hey, hey," Ms. Huang said, finally interjecting. "I understand that this is something we're all passionate about, but let's watch the language."
Luke grinned and cast his eyes down sheepishly. "I'm sorry. I get swear-y when I'm passionate."
"Makes sense to me," Ms. Huang said, looking at the clock. "How about we table this decision for now and get back to it next week?"
"In the meantime," Cora said. "Prom tickets go on sale today."
"It's about time," Amelia said.
"This is perfectly on schedule. You know prom tickets never go on sale until after April vacation. Once the whole promposal trend caught on, the school wanted a way to keep those disruptions to a minimum."
Amelia huffed out a breath. "And what are we supposed to say when people ask us about prom king and queen nominations?"
"Just tell them the truth. We're still figuring it out."
Amelia flounced out of the room flanked by her two lackeys.
Cora collected her things and waved as Teagan and her other best friend, Josie, left the room.
"Do you have a second to discuss prom court?" Ms. Huang asked Cora.
Cora glanced at the clock, calculating how long she had.
"I know, you're a busy girl," Ms. Huang said. "But maybe you could come to class a minute early today and we could talk quickly?"
"Yeah, sure," Cora said over her shoulder as she trailed her friends out of the room. "I would stay now, but I just have to go make copies of the agenda for the student council meeting."
"A million things to do, huh? Just another day in the life of Cora Wilson," Ms. Huang said with a knowing smile.
Cora made it out into the hallway where Jamie was waiting for her.
"Hey, babe," Jamie said, threading his arm around her waist.
"Please don't call me babe," she said offhandedly. Sometimes she felt more like an exasperated sibling than his girlfriend.
"Where are you off to?" he asked. "You gonna walk me to homeroom today? Carry my books?" She grinned. She couldn't help herself. He was adorable in his own Jamie way. "Sadly I cannot. I need to make some photocopies."
"I'll walk with you, then, and hold your books."
"Fine, but we have to keep moving," she said as the warning bell rang, tugging on his hand as he walked past a couple of baseball dudes and high-fived or fist-bumped each of them. "Or you could just go hang out with your friends."
"I think I'm just gonna hang out with them, babe," he said, kissing the side of her head and spinning backward toward his friends.
Cora kept on moving down the hallway without further comment. She had bigger things to deal with.
Paisley Turner followed Cora Wilson down the hall like a jungle cat stalking her prey.
She didn't want to interrupt whatever conversational foreplay Cora and her boyfriend were engaged in, but didn't they realize that Paisley had to get Henry's name off that prom king list? She had only put his name out there hypothetically. Panic set in when she saw Cora jot it down. The conversation had taken off after that, and Paisley couldn't get a word in edgewise, so it seemed like a better idea to wait until after the meeting. But Cora was basically ignoring her. Or maybe she didn't even realize Paisley was there.
The fact of the matter was that Henry was Paisley's best friend. She was way too aware of his neuroses, and he would disown her if he got nominated for prom king. It was the opposite of anything he wanted in this world. And she knew that. She could already imagine the face he would make, staring at her with his dark-brown-eye death glare. Angry Henry was a rarity, and Paisley was not prepared to deal with him. She shouldn't have opened her mouth.
However, there was little that annoyed Paisley quite so much as the sanctimony of Amelia Vaughn. And in the face of sanctimony, Paisley had put her best friend in a situation he would hate. But Amelia needed a talking-to, and while in her head Paisley was always giving Amelia talking-tos, she didn't quite have the balls to do it in person. Quite frankly, Amelia scared her.
However, she was happy to passive-aggressively nominate her best friend for prom king if it meant shutting Amelia up.
All the boys in their class might have been "beta males," to use Amelia's term, but that didn't make them terrible guys. Sorry they don't live up to your high standards, Amelia.
What irked Paisley the most was that she had somehow ended up arguing to keep the whole prom-king-and-queen dumpster fire even though she didn't care about it at all. She would have totally fought against the ridiculous tradition, except that she wanted desperately to prove Amelia wrong. The guys in their class were great! Just because they weren't the usual variety of jockish Sasquatches that Amelia had dated all through high school didn't mean they were second-class citizens.
And yet Paisley was definitely disappointed in herself. She was supposed to be fighting the patriarchy. "Nevertheless, she persisted," and all that good stuff. But there she was, supporting a victory for heteronormative bullshit, as Luke had so eloquently put it.
If she wanted to get to the heart of the matter, what really annoyed Paisley was that she was on prom committee in the first place. Unfortunately her advisor had insisted at the beginning of the year that Paisley put something else on her college applications besides "Mall-food-court potato technician," and prom committee just happened to fit in her schedule.
Also she heard there'd be free food at every meeting.
She had been lied to.
She could have, and probably should have, quit. But at this point in the school year it was easier just to ride it out and avoid confrontation. Especially since sometimes the drama within the committee was entertaining. Being involved in the drama was less entertaining.
The warning bell rang, and Paisley had no choice but to stop following the happy couple and head for her locker. She promised herself that she would track Cora down later and ask her to take Henry's name off the list. Henry would never be the wiser.
As Paisley made her way down the hall, passing through a sea of students and long rows of lockers, there was a certain buzz in the air.
Ah yes, the buzz of prom tickets being on sale and the flood of promposals happening everywhere she turned.
Given that tickets had only gone on sale like fourteen seconds ago, these weren't the elaborate sort of promposals that you see on the local news (barf) but the kind of spontaneous promposals that you might find in a teen rom com. You know, the kind where a boy was literally kneeling down in the middle of the hallway to ask a girl to the prom.
Barf, barf, barf.
Paisley huffed out an irritated breath as she spun her combination lock and started digging through the detritus that lived in the bottom of her locker.
Finding what she needed by touch, she slammed the door shut at the same moment there was a shriek at the end of the hallway where some girl was a little too excited about getting invited to the prom. To each his or her or their own, but this whole situation was definitely not for Paisley.
Paisley fished her phone out of her pocket and shot a quick text to Henry.
She slid into her seat in homeroom.
She turned around and gave Henry the finger.
He put his hands up in defense. "Hey, it's your rule."
"Rules were meant to be broken," Paisley said in a threatening-action-hero voice as their homeroom teacher wandered in and got their attention. Paisley turned back around and did her best to hide her grin.CHAPTER 2
Homeroom was probably the number-one thing on "Jacinta Ramos's List of Things She Would Not Miss About High School."
It went like this:
2. That certain smell in the cafeteria.
3. That certain smell in the girls' locker room. (She assumed the boys' locker room was likely even worse but, having no personal experience with it, decided to limit it to a smell she knew all too well.)
4. How long it took to get out of the parking lot after school while everyone else on earth was trying to leave at the same exact moment.
5. Feeling like a background character in her own life.
Number five was something that haunted her on a daily basis. But she wasn't going to let it get the better of her.
Jacinta wanted desperately to be seen as more than just a background character; she wanted to have one iconic high school moment.
And The Prom would be her moment.
The Prom was the hill she was going to die on. She had even made it her New Year's resolution. At the stroke of midnight, she whispered, "I will go to The Prom, and I will not be a background character for one whole night."
With prom tickets having gone on sale yesterday, it was finally time to make good on her promise to herself. She needed a date, she needed a dress, and she needed a huge dose of courage.
As she jogged toward her locker after homeroom to grab her sociology textbook, she found a couple standing in front of it with a bouquet of at least ten helium-filled balloons. When the girl said yes, a hasty celebratory make-out session started and Jacinta could not find a way in to her locker through the balloons.
How was it that Jacinta had gone through four years of high school without having even one boy hang around her locker? Isn't that what was supposed to happen in high school? Locker lingering? Wasn't that supposed to be how high school students found love?
At least that's what every teen romantic comedy movie that Jacinta had ever watched made her believe.
But Jacinta wasn't even lucky enough to be the romantic b-plot in the movie of her own life. She was shoved deep down in the credits and would be billed as "Unnamed Nerd Girl #3" somewhere near the bottom of the list. Her best friend, Kelsey, would at least be "Head Nerd Girl in Charge," and Kelsey's ex-boyfriend, Landon, who inexplicably still hung around them all the time would of course be "Head Nerd Boy in Charge."
Even if they were unnamed characters, at least Kelsey and Landon were in charge.
Jacinta had almost nothing to show for her four years of high school except for being Kelsey's sidekick.
She had about a million things she'd wanted to say in the prom committee meeting yesterday. First of all, she had wanted to tell Cora Wilson that she was doing an awesome job and not to listen to anything Amelia Vaughn had to say. Amelia was a total butt. Not even a butthead, just a butt.
But Jacinta had to agree with Luke Martinez on his point. The concept of having a prom king and queen was an outdated tradition and one she didn't want any part of. It was as good a year as any to get rid of it.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "A Prom to Remember"
Copyright © 2018 Sandy Hall.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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