Book: The Anti-Prom
Author: Abby McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release date: April 12, 2011
Source: I Read Banned Books ARC Tour
Summary: (from Goodreads) Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.
They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy - some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night.
First impressions: I loved that this book didn't waste any time jumping into prom night. We start smack dab in the middle, actually. No dinner, no limo rides, no photo sessions at the parents' houses. And the opening scene sure is a doozie, too. Bliss catches her boyfriend cheating on her. Ouch.
Lasting impressions: Like The Breakfast Club and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had a baby. So much fun!
Conflicting impressions: I didn't always buy the actions/reactions of the characters. At times it felt overly confrontational and other times it felt too easy for them.
Overall impressions: This story throws three girls together for one crazy evening - prom night. In my experience, prom is always eventful, and this one is no exception. Bliss wants to get revenge on her best friend and boyfriend, who she catches getting hot and heavy together in a limo during the dance, so she seeks out bad girl Jolene for help. When Jolene finally agrees to be a part of Bliss's scheme, they flee to the parking lot, only to get nearly run over by Meg, who has just been stood up.
Once the three girls agree to help each other over the course of the evening (Bliss with the cheaters, Jolene with her deadbeat dad, and getting shy, uptight Meg to loosen up), the action flies. The girls bounce back and forth from location to location, pulling crazy stunt after reckless escapade, and along the way they start to connect. The moments where the girls learn important life lessons can be a bit over the top, but for the most part their relationships seem genuine.
McDonald captures the high school girl especially well. I thought the dialogue was realistic with all of that angsty stressed out drama that colors it as a teenager. It makes the girls believable despite very little backstory. What could have very easily been pure fluff, however, is tempered with some pretty heavy issues, particularly revolving around Jolene and Meg.
Jolene has been destroying her life in an effort to lash out at her dad and the world she feels does nothing for her. Meg has given up on social life altogether, disappearing into the walls and rendering herself more and more invisible as time goes by. When things start to get really ugly, the girls have to rely on each other, and because of their differences they're able to speak the truth. Instead of stock phrases and blind support that usually comes with teen girl friendship, these acquaintances don't hold back, really cutting at the heart of the problem as each new snag arises throughout the night.
This is great fun, while also touching on some deeper issues. I highly recommend to contemporary YA fans, as well as anyone wanting to re-live some crazy prom experiences. :)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Want another perspective? Be sure to check out Jen's review today at I Read Banned Books. Click the button below! She's also featuring an interview with Abby McDonald and a giveaway!