A novelization of the Broadway musical of the same name.
After dating for more than a year, two seniors in a racially homogeneous high school in a small town in Indiana face challenges in attending their prom. Emma, who came out as gay on her YouTube channel the summer before ninth grade, has already endured classmates’ bullying and disownment by her parents. Alyssa, who privately identifies as lesbian, is deeply afraid of disappointing her mother and so the girls have kept their relationship a secret. Alternating first-person chapters effectively reveal their inner thoughts, creating well-drawn protagonists who are easy to root for. When the school learns that Emma plans to bring a girl to the prom, all hell breaks loose. Leading the charge is the PTA president, Alyssa’s controlling and conservative mother. At this juncture, due to a YouTube post by Emma, an unlikely but delightful twist occurs: Two broadly stereotypical Broadway actors (smarting from a recent critical failure) show up to save the day, support Emma—and gain some publicity. The author teamed up with the musical’s composer, lyricist, and playwright to create a satisfying story that celebrates the magic of first love in beautiful and apt prose, skewers homophobia with cleverness, and provides hope through the redemption of several unpleasant characters. The novel is completely accessible without seeing the musical that inspired it. Emma is white and Alyssa is brown-skinned with auburn hair.
An enjoyable, fast-paced, and topical take on prom drama. (Fiction. 13-18)