Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom - Justina Griffith was never the kind of girl who dreamed of the perfect prom date. Instead, she was the girl always seen kissing boys at parties. In a contest with her best friend Halley, the two girls have kissed every available boy (and a few who weren't available), but when Justina's reputation starts to catch up with her, she decides it's time to put the kibosh on kissing. She swears she will never kiss another boy unless she meets the one who matters.
The problem is, she's met him, and he's her best friend. A person she can talk to, the kind of guy who always knows when she needs red licorice. He's also the kind of guy who asked her to prom promising her the most amazing night ever, only to ditch her when it becomes time for their actual date.
So how did Justina end up dateless on prom night in a stained thrift store dress, pouring out her tale to the clerk at a 7-11? Let's just say the story involves a three-legged chihuahua, a flying leap from a moving car, two stoners named Mike, and a tattoo parlor. Has Justina forfeited her chance for true love? Read Ditched and find out.
Note: Although the story contains references to alcohol and drug use, it's also clear about consequences. The author has built the constant search for designated drivers into part of the humor of the story and physical contact is limited to kissing. Ages 12+
The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald - Just out in paperback, The Anti-Prom is about three girls who take revenge for their prom gone wrong. Popular Bliss had her prom planned to perfection until she found her best friend and her boyfriend making out in the limo. Rebel Jolene put her reputation and her self-respect on the line by showing up in pink ruffles for a guy who has failed to appear. Shy Meg doesn't even want to be at prom, but has made it as far as the parking lot since her mother thinks she ought to have the experience. These three girls who would never have associated with each other by daylight create a night to remember based on their prom gone wrong.
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg - "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date." This contemporary retelling of Pride & Prejudice is a mash-up between Jane Austen's classic and a boarding school novel, making Lizzie Bennett a scholarship student at a prestigious Connecticut girls school. When Lizzie is introduced to the insufferable Will Darcy from the neighboring boys school of Pemberly, she takes an instant disliking to him. But time will tell if Darcy is a snob or merely shy. The twists and turns of the original Pride & Prejudice are present in this book, from the dastardly Wick to Lydia running off with him. But the real pleasure of Prom & Prejudice is the execution into a contemporary teen context, not unlike the film Clueless. Also recommended is Eulberg's debut title, The Lonely Hearts Club, about a girl who gives up dating, and Polly Schulman's Enthusiasm, one of my all-time favorite Jane Austen homages for teen readers.
Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris - Quigley and her best friend Ann have both decided to implement what they are calling "Ann's Betterment Plan." The plan is to be the best-dressed and most sought-after girls at the prom. But Ann's plan requires money. So the two girls find themselves working a series of odd jobs, including assembling the toppings on frozen pizzas and modeling for art classes. But instead of making their lives better, Ann's Betterment Plan seems to be tearing their friendship apart. Complicating things are the boys Quigley is starting to meet in art class. Zander is cute and funny, even if he can't draw. David is a talented jerk, but can't seem to leave Quigley alone. No one ever said the road to prom would be smooth, but Quigley is already starting to think about the life that awaits her after high school is over.
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer - When sophomore Cindy publishes an anti-prom letter in the school newspaper protesting the hype over the annual rite of passage, she becomes a social pariah overnight. Preferring flip-flops to fancy shoes, she can't understand what has her twin step-sisters so excited. But the backlash is swift and sure; neither schoolmates nor teachers can understand why she would want to spoil their fun. But there's one person who supports Cindy's anti-prom initiative: popular senior Adam Silver, who is also avoiding the prom hype. With the support of her best friend India, a yoga enthusiast, and Malcolm, a devoted fan of John Hughes films, Cindy may just survive prom season after all. A retread of the popular fairy tale set in contemporary LA, this straightforward teen romance has a twist towards its end: the question of whether Cindy will stick to her principles or go to prom after all.
Cindy Ella was the first book in Robin Palmer's series of fairy tales retold in modern LA. Other titles include Geek Charming, based on the frog prince, about what happens when an A-list girl invites an F-list boy into her world; Little Miss Red based on Little Red Riding Hood, about a high school girl who becomes involved with an older boy; and brand new this summer, Wicked Jealous, adapted from Snow White, about a girl who goes through a remarkable physical transformation and finds herself living with seven of her brother's roommates to escape her jealous stepmother. For the most part, these books are PG-rated, but the general subject matter makes them best for readers 12+. Comparable books for younger readers would include Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries, Gail Carson Levine, and Shannon Hale. For older readers: Adele Geras’ Edgerton Hall trilogy and, of course, the queen of all fairy tales set in and around Shangri-L.A.: Francesca Lia Block. Also worth mentioning is David Levithan's collection of short stories Boy Meets Boy, which inclues a story about what happens when a boy is elected Prom Queen.
What are your favorite prom stories? I bet you have a few prom stories of your own share!
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