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THE ANTI-PROM by Abby McDonald


by Abby McDonald

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4956-2
Publisher: Candlewick

Bliss, Jolene and Meg are each, for their own reasons, having an awful time at the prom. When boredom, shame and a thirst for revenge throw them into each other's paths, they take off together on an all-night odyssey to change their lives. The characters lack chemistry, relying on the tired trope of three mismatched high-school archetypes—the shallow popular girl who lacks compassion, the rebel outcast who needs to relax and trust people and the nerd who needs to loosen up and have fun—drawn together by circumstance so they can learn valuable lessons from each others’ wisecracking wisdom. Jolene has the most intriguing potential, but the rotating first-person narrative doles out the details slowly and prevents her story from being fully realized. The obstacles they encounter (hostile coeds, suspicious parents, high-tech security systems) are handily overcome, giving the whole affair a superficial sheen. Readers who found Sophomore Switch (2009) both fun and substantive will be disappointed with this effort, the literary equivalent of cotton candy: sweet and easy, but dissolves on contact. (Fiction. 14 & up)