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Prom    by Laurie Halse Anderson order for
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Carceras High School isn't likely to have a prom this year since their faculty advisor swiped the prom funds. Not that it bothers Ashley Hannigan. She had no intention of going to the stupid dance anyway. She just wants to hang in there long enough to walk across the stage on graduation day, but she has friends who've been living for prom night all year maybe all their lives.

Ashley's best friend Natalia cons her into helping save the prom, which now has less budget than a middle school mixer. Reluctantly, Ashley joins the prom committee while juggling a part-time job from hell, a high school drop-out boyfriend, ever-multiplying detentions, and a wacky family life. When her mom finds out about Ashley's heroic efforts to salvage the major social event of the year, there's no way Ashley can convince her that she doesn't want to go to the prom - if they do manage to pull it off.

Ashley's high school has metal detectors at the entrances, security cameras along the hallways, and more drop-outs than graduates. Ashley is funny, sarcastic, appealing and caustic. In other words, she's a normal teenager with normal problems, and the wit and wisdom to solve them. The tale is told in first person, and the author is true to Ashley's voice throughout. Halse Anderson fans will enjoy the sharp contrast between Ashley's life and that of Catalyst's Kate Malone, whose educational goals include MIT.

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