by Laurie Halse Anderson
Pub. Date: March 2005
Synopsis: 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.
This review is very fitting because it is Audiobook Month and I listened to this book on audio. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I read this book is because it was the only YA audiobook not checked out at the library that sounded remotely interesting, but I am so glad I picked it up. I have heard of other books by Laurie Halse Anderson, but "Prom" was not one of them. I had started to read "Speak" but couldn't really get into it, so I was surprised with how awesome "Prom" turned out to be. I absolutely loved Ashley's character; she had attitude, but she was willing to do almost anything to help out her family and friends. She didn't even want to go to the prom but ended up putting all her energy into trying to save it. Natalia is another great character; her positive attitude is contagious. Honestly, I could probably go off for another page listing all the great characters, but I can just sum it up saying that the book has vivid characters.
The plot may sound simple, but Anderson manages to integrate a lot of issues into a seemingly simple story. This is of course a coming of age story, but the humor allows the reader to be distracted from some of the harsher subjects. One could definitely take the time to think about the book more in-depth during or after the book, but the book is a fun, quick read making it hard to put down. Family and Friend dynamics are very important to the story, while Ashley's relationship with TJ also has its place. We all go through our TJ stages and I could definitely relate to falling for a sweet talking guy. It is interesting to see which relationships evolve as Ashley develops into a strong women.
This book was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed Katherine Kellgren's narration. She brought the characters to life and greatly contributed to my enjoyment of the book. I will definitely be reading more of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books in the future. I'm not sure which one I'll pick up next, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I may even revisit “Speak” to give it another chance.