A young man without direction unknowingly finds it when he comes up with a harebrained scheme to ask a girl to prom.
Following an online suggestion, Hank plants sparklers in the lawn of Amanda Carlisle's house—sparklers that spell out “PROM.” When the sparklers start a fire, Hank hightails it, but there were two witnesses: Amanda and someone else. That witness is Peyton, a loner who likes to start fires. While Amanda launches a website to find out her secret admirer, Hank spends time with Peyton and his friend Nick, discovering he has a connection with Peyton. But Nick likes Peyton, too, and Hank knows he has nothing to offer anyone; not with his drunk father, who has resented Hank ever since the death of Hank's mother and brother. When Amanda announces the winner of a date to prom with her, the relationships among Hank and his friends will change, and Hank just might discover how much he has to offer. While Hank makes for a flat protagonist and his father is two-dimensional, such secondary characters as Peyton and Nick shine (the cast is largely white). Still, it’s a sweet story, and there are engaging enough twists to keep readers turning the pages.
A sensitive look at two teens with complicated histories learning to build a future together. (Fiction. 14-18)