4 stars · fiction · young adult

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson


Author: Laurie Halse Anderson [also wrote: Wintergirls, Twisted]

Pages : 215

favorite characters;
nat & grandma


Ashley Hannigan is a Philadelphia high school student 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.


I love Laurie Halse Anderson and was interested to see how she’d write an amusing, light-hearted book, compared to the novels I’m used to reading by her. When I read the summary and began this book, I was afraid it would turn out to be an insipid, frivolous read that I would get nothing from because, well, who can’t predict a fairy tale ending from a summary like that? An easy, corny ending, mind you. And Prom, surprisingly, managed not to lay too hard on the corny-ness factor.

First off, I loved Ashley. Defiant of authority, check. Loves her family, check. Hard worker, still has time for friends, thinks things like prom are probably just a stupid waste of time. Likeable, really. Except there’s the problem of TJ. Who I alternately hated and slightly disliked throughout the entire novel. Like the other characters surrounding her, I wanted to shout, “Why?! Why?!”

While there were the expected antics while dealing with the prom disaster and I kept expecting Ashley to have some miraculous, peppy conversion (which thankfully never happened), the supporting cast of characters was amazing. From her mom and dad to Grandma and Nat next door to the Math Sub. Especially the Math Sub. I really, really wish he would come and be my teacher.

With my own prom coming up in a few weeks, I’m glad that nothing like this happened at my school. I picked this up to get myself in the spirit of things and I think that it really worked. While it was very quick and there wasn’t much depth to it, the cast of characters, wonderful setting, and twist in the plot all combine to form an enjoyable novel.



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