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A Prom to Remember

Review

A Prom to Remember

Prom is an event that impacts every American teenager. Whether it be the decision to forego the dance, the process of finding the perfect dress, or the stress of going with or without a date, everyone has something to remember about their high school prom. Going into it, every high school student has a certain hope, dream or fear. The long-standing traditions of pre-parties, king and queen, and the post-prom hotel room are rites of passage for every young person growing up in America. Sandy Hall writes A PROM TO REMEMBER in the voices of seven distinct seniors at Roosevelt High. As they approach prom and the end of their senior year, they experience love, regret, anxiety and mystery.

 

Each character brings a surprisingly new perspective of prom. They all come from different backgrounds, and they all have their own new story to tell. All of them struggle with the unrealistic expectations of prom. Jacinta wants to be a star in her own life for once, not just a supporting character in everyone else’s life. On the other hand, Henry wants to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible, but that’s impossible when he is asked to prom by a very popular senior. Otis, part of the first gay couple in their school, worries about after-prom expectations. I think Hall did a good job in giving the reader a breadth of personalities and issues, including LGBT, sexual education (or lack thereof in this case) and anxiety.

 

At first, I was a little put off by the barrage of names and information that Hall gives us in the beginning. However, because all the different stories are intertwined into one massive novel, I think an author has to barrage the reader with all this info in the beginning. Though it could have have been written more smoothly and perhaps less condensed, the introduction was successful in introducing the personalities and voices of the main characters.

 

Hall does a wonderful job at portraying different voices. When I read about each of the students, I could imagine not only their appearance but also their personalities and thought processes. For example, Paisley is smart and loyal to her friends. I could picture her dreams, her impulsiveness and her overall love for the people around her. Hall is very talented at developing voice.

 

There were some unrealistic aspects of the novel, however. It was very coincidental how everyone’s story became very connected with each others’. It was almost too contrived, in my opinion. The school gave off the impression as being a large school; why are these seven random people who barely had connections with each other before now somehow interacting with each other? While one could argue it’s the ‘we’re all never gonna see each other in a year anyway’ mindset, it still seems very artificial. In addition, one major item that Hall missed was that senior nostalgia. Prom is one of the last times a class is going to be all together, before they embark on journeys that will scatter them around the world. I wish Hall explored this idea a little more.

 

While the book was an enjoyable read, it was devoid of deep emotion. It had no underlying profound message. The story had no big conflicts. I never felt overcome with emotion. Nice is the very definition of this book --- pleasant but lacking substance. It left me wanting more. While I read a lot of personality, I needed more emotions and feelings.

A PROM TO REMEMBER is a sweet story that is a quick read. There’s not much depth in emotion, but the nature of this genre is to be light hearted. This isn’t a serious novel. There is no roller coaster of emotions or crazy plot; it’s just realistic stories of a group of seniors’ experiences with prom. I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a feel-good novel without becoming emotionally invested at all.

Reviewed by Alison L. on June 20, 2018

A Prom to Remember
by Sandy Hall