Continuing my browse along the YA shelves, I came to Laurie Halse Anderson. Okay, I've read Speak, read Catalyst, read parts of Wintergirls (couldn't get into it)...wait, Prom? "Ashley Hannigan doesn't particularly care about the prom...finds herself roped into...making the prom happen..." Huh? Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a frou-frou YA novel?
Not exactly. The jacket description does not quite give the true tone of the book. It is definitely not as dark as some of her other books, but much, much smarter than her "Vet Volunteers" series, which we will not discuss here. A quote from Chapter 3 (which starts on page 1 - these are some seriously short chapters):
"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."
Okay, not "Princess Diaries" material. This isn't a tomboy-turns-prom-queen story, and while things do turn out a little too patly (is that a word?) at the end, there was enough real life and humor to have me sneaking reads in between lunch hours. Ashley doesn't HATE prom, she can see that it is important to several of her friends and understands why it is, she just has no real use for it herself. When a couple different disasters strike, it is mostly her concern for her friends that results in her helping with, then basically organizing the entire prom which she has no intention of actually attending.
Most of the characters are rather two-dimensional, but entertaining. Ashley's intelligence and her insight into how to deal with the people around her, from administrators to custodians to crazy Russian grandmothers, doesn't quite explain why she puts up with the loser boyfriend for so long - but then, that might be the most realistic part of the story. Of course, dear readers, none of US have ever stuck with a hot guy longer than we should have, but we've shaken our heads at other mismatched relationships, haven't we? It happens.
Not one of Anderson's best, but an entertaining read. We'll be passing it on to the teen at home once she finishes the huge stack of books she got for Christmas (i.e., tomorrow).