Deacon’s decision to take his grandmother to his senior prom results in unexpected fame.
Since his father abandoned him at 16, Deacon’s caretaker grandmother, Jean, has become his best friend. So when Deacon finds the required elaborate “promposals” too intimidating and realizes Jean missed her own prom, he invites her instead. Jean’s insistence on dance lessons is a ploy to set Deacon up with the instructor, Soraya, a young woman with “a medium complexion” whom the white boy describes as “standing out from the typical pasty-faced Arkansan.” Soraya’s a senior at the local Islamic school, which she attends to honor her Lebanese heritage. Though romance slowly develops, Deacon still takes spunky Jean to the dance. Soon a video of their dancing goes viral. Deacon gets mostly positive social media feedback, but the attention also strains his relationship with Soraya, who becomes the target of some racially charged online bullying. The complications come thick and fast, but they wrap up extraordinarily quickly in the last 25 pages, as Deacon finds his way back to the people who matter most to him. Deacon’s present-tense narration reveals a kind and likable protagonist.
A sweet though sometimes obvious lesson on staying true to oneself. (Fiction. 12-16)