by Laurie Halse Anderson


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Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142405703
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/02/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 238,472
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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

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


Q&A with author Laurie Halse Anderson

Where were you born?
Potsdam, NY way up in Northern New York state.

Where did you go to high school?
Fayetteville-Manlius High School in Manlius, NY and the Hong Studenter og HF Kursus in Hong, Denmark. (Note the "o" in Hong should have a diagonal line through it - it's one of those funky Scandinavian vowels.)

Were you a good student?
Ha. Oh, ha.

What were you like when you were growing up?

What were your favorite books?
Science fiction and fantasy

What was your family like?
Struggling. My parents loved us, but they had many, many complications in their lives from their jobs and other painful personal stuff going on. My sister and I were on our own a lot.

Are any of your other characters based on you or your family?
I think the sense of humor is like that of my family's. We are very good at laughing.

Did you go to your prom?
I went to my junior prom, and to the junior prom of my boyfriend. He went to a different school. The theme at mine was, no joke, "Stairway to Heaven". It was the '70s. For my senior prom, I was in Denmark. No proms there, just a lot of pigs and great pastry.

How much do you think proms have changed over the years?
People pour way more money into them, but I think the overall experience is the same. It can be a blast or a nightmare. A lot of it has to do with having realistic expectations, and making sure you hang out with people you like, instead of being somebody that you're not.

If you could take any president/celebrity to the prom, which one would you choose and why?
I'd take Ashton Kutcher because he looks like he'd be a lot of fun.

If you went to the prom this year, what would you wear?
Something that shows off my biceps.

Did you do anything special to gear up for writing about Prom?
Went back to my favorite research spot - the food court at the mall.

What's your advice for making prom the most memorable night?
Stay sober. Nothing says "Prom Loser" quite like vomit on a four hundred dollar dress.

Do you have a favorite place to write?
I can write pretty much anywhere. Listening to my iPod helps me write in crazy places like airports.

What's on your Ipod?
You're kidding, right? I have 2 days worth of music and a collection of David Sedaris essays. The artists who are played most often include Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant, Pachabel, Sting, Nirvana, the Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews and U2. Oh, and Bruce. This gadget qualifies as my number favorite toy of the century. I would rather have an iPod than a microwave, I swear.

Do you have plans to write any more books?
Oh, yeah!!!! I got a million of them!

What were some of your previous jobs before you became an author?
Best job - milking cows. Worst job - stockbroker. Job I'd go back to if I quit writing books - newspaper journalist... or maybe milking cows. You don't have to deal with obnoxious people on a dairy farm. You just have to watch where you step.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Prom 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 172 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
You are a beast. Which Jordans are they?
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gtg Good bye his party was sad cuz there where no boys!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No im a different rue or maybe even casper