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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 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: 9781428155084
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 05/22/2007
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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

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Prom 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 193 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
She walks in wearing a short black with white polka dots dress. And hightops. Her brown hair in curls down her back. She looks around.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashley Hanigan is a senior in high school and will just barely graduate if she serves all of her detentions and pays her library fines. As for her future plans, she and her boyfriend, TJ, are going to move in together after high school. TJ didn't finish high fact, he was kicked out of high school. Ashley has no interest in any school activities, preferring to spend her time with TJ. When one of the high school teachers steals the Prom funds, the students find out that the prom will be cancelled unless they can come up with the money to fund it. Ashley's best friend and head of the Prom committee, Natalia, is devastated but determined to have a prom no matter what. She ropes Ashley into helping her pull it off. In the process, Ashley begins to realize that she really isn't a slacker after all...she has talents and skills and suddenly, leaving high school to live with TJ and work in dead end jobs her whole life doesn't sound so satisfying.I don't think I've ever read a Laurie Halse Anderson book I didn't like. She understands the adolescent psyche and seems to speak their language. She is able to look at issues facing teens today and tell the story from their perspective. This book was written in 2005, but is just as relevant now.I listened to the audio version of this book. The reader is Katherine Kellgren, who does a great job of being Ashley's voice (as well as all of the other characters).
mrpascua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally, a realistic high school book that is acutally real. This novel presents the lives of "normal" working class teens at a real public high school, warts and all. High school complete with metal detectors, fights, thefts, graduation requirements, library fines, fun, friends and of course, prom. It contains not complely dysfunctional families nor Disney versions of suburban teens, although the ending is a bit predictable. Just realistically portrayed public school teens. This was especially refreshing for a book about prom, which usually involves either an axe murderer or a Cinderella story. The story follows the lives of Ashley and her friends and family. The reader sees Ashley contemplate changes in her life as she approaches graduation and works on the prom. The themes of growing up and making choices for the future make this book an ideal addition for the high school LMC. Due to more young adult themes, this book would be suitable for high school level students, but not middle school level.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When a greedy faculty advisor ruins all hopes for a senior prom of epic proportions, Ashley could give a damn. In fact, she could give 2¢ about the final weeks of senior year. Who cares about making up all the missed detentions in order to attend the senior activities? Not Ashley. If only she wasn¿t best friends with the Prom Committee chair who strongarms Ashley to helping to save prom. If only her mother and aunts hadn¿t found out about it and insisted on taking Ashley on a shopping spree for THE perfect prom dress. If only Ashley could continue to NOT care about savoring her final senior moments¿ Let me make this clear first and foremost, Prom is not speak ¿ nor has it been adapated to the Disney movie Prom ¿ nor is it frothy like a bubble bath. If you can picture Ashley as Veronica Mars and the best friend as Meg, then you pretty much have a clear idea of how Prom goes. Ashley likes to run on the delinquent side and kissing the wrong type of boys, but secretly she has a marshmallow for a heart. I loved watching Ashley come to realize that her parents are not the enemies or annoyances ¿ but rather quite charming in their quirky ways. Prom is not the book to read if you are looking for light and carefree, but it is more if you are looking for color-outside-the-lines girl who discovers that sometimes the rules can be fun to follow.
jasmine.gomez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl who learns, that in life, good things do happen to good people. She was not the brightest star in space. She was a girl who lived a hard life. She always got detentions and never turned in her work. She tried to ditch school and hangout wiht her High School drop out boyfriend. She learned bad habits from him and stayed with him late on school nights. One day her best friend need help to make sure the prom would go on. She refused, but with all the crying girls yelling at her, she had to say yes. She stared to work an all the arrangements for the committee. At the end she dumped her boyfriend and had the night of her life at the prom she made and had to sneek in to.I enjoyed the book very much. I enjoyed it because it had alot of details. Also because it explained how if you change one litte thing in your life to make you and others happy; you will have a better ending. She had faced her fear if the prom and helped her best friend have the night they had all ben waiting for. I learned in this book that if you face your fears in life you can accomplish a lot more than what you thought you could. I gave this book a four star rating because it did have a little confusion in it. Also because she inspired me to do things that I would never think that I would do. I would read this book all day and night if I could to understand it more and because it is such a great book.
Maiasaura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet, fun retelling of Cinderella as a modern-day prom tale. Not Anderson at her best, but enjoyable for what it is.
KarriesKorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was just okay for me. This is a story of a senior girl who finds herself banned from the prom. In addition to that, her mother is pregnant to her horror, and it seems as if her life is coming unglued. Overall I thought the ending was a little silly and unrealistic, but overall teens will like it.
ethelmertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If Cinderella were a poor girl from Philly, this would be her story. I enjoyed the character development and the subtle elements of the Cinderella tale.
kylie95 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book I have been reading is called Prom written by Laurie Halse Anderson.I chose this book because I read the inside and it sounded very dramatic and comical so I thought I would read it and see how good it was.One of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed were that the situations were events that could happen in real life.another aspect that I enjoyed was that the characters were very outgoing and funny and each character had a very different personality that made them stand out. From the beginning of the book the main character ashly hanagin
1mb01gro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
12 graders that fo to prom and her firneds help her buy a dress because she does not have a lot of money
thegeekygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not nearly as poignant as the author's other books, but the characters felt real and not "plastic". It was the story itself that was neither here nor there for me.But it was good enough to finish from start to end (which I can't say about most books..)
TZacek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Foul-mouthed Ashley is just trying to get through high school. She doesn't want to go to college, she doesn't want to go to class, and she especially isn't interested in prom. So it comes as a shock to her when she gets sucked into the prom committee after their math teacher steals the prom funds. She curses her way through bribing the janitors and english teachers, her sucky job at the local EZ-Cheez-E, her loser boyfriend, and trying to dodge her way around an evil vice principal who is out to get her. Ashley will graduate high school and make this prom happen if it kills her... which it just might.
DF6B_HannahK on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ashley is the average teenager; she works at a job that she hates and has a boyfriend. One day, Ashley's math teacher steals all the money for the Prom. Ashley's best friend Nat is the leader of the Prom committee and Nat enlists Ashley's help in order to make sure that they can still have a prom this year. Ashley is banned from going to the Prom thanks to Mr. Gilroy who says she has too many detentions. Ashley works hard to organize the Prom, but she wonders whether or not she will be able to go. On top of all of this, Ashley's mom is very pregnant. The book was ok, but the ending was rather predictable. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a easy and quick read.
travenwill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written by the same author as Speak. Ashley Hannigan does not care for prom, even though her best friend is on the prom committee. That all changes when Miss Crane steals the prom money and prom seems to be on the verge of cancellation. This story chronicles a young student, Ashley Hannigan, who is on the verge of dropping out of school, moving in with her boyfriend, but at the same time wants to make something of her life. As she helps with prom, Ashley begins to make some drastic changes in her life. This book does hint at sex, talks about drugs, skipping school, etc. It has a mature theme; I would only recommend for high school students.
jlarsonhamilton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not your typical romantic Cinderella story, where everyone lives happily ever after. The main character in this book is named Ashley Hannigan. Ashley is a high school student who has grown apathetic to school, especially about events such as prom. Ashley has a boyfriend named TJ who is one step away from being on the wrong side of the law. TJ¿s character goes from being a user willing to take Ashley¿s hard earned money, to a sweet guy that writes sincere loving cards to show Ashley he cares and then back to being a jerk. Ashley is forced into a position of helping to organize the prom. After organizing the event, Ashley is told that she will not be able to attend. The events test Ashley¿s character and she learns that she is a strong person that can overcome the hardships and obstacles that are put in her way.