The Book Reviews – Website

April 2, 2008


Filed under: P — thebookreviews @ 12:42 am
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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Pages: 215

Reading Level: 6


PLOT SUMMARY & REVIEW: Ashley Hannigan isn’t the typical high school senior. She’s got a deadbeat boyfriend (TJ) who dropped out of high school, never seems to have money, and is making plans for Ashley to move in with him after graduation. Ashley is from a family of four with one on the way; money is tight and her college plans almost non-existent. After serving detentions and rapidly finishing homework assignments she forgot from the night before, Ashley spends her time in a rat costume serving pizza and entertaining at the EZ-CHEEZ-E to earn money. While her best friend, Natalia (Nat) and the rest of the senior class seems obsessed with the Prom, Ashley could care less about some stupid “dance.”


The math teacher is arrested for stealing the prom funds. The school is up in arms. Will the prom be cancelled? Nat heads the prom committee and begs Ashley to help; before long, Ashley becomes caught up in the prom madness too. Nat breaks her leg and Ashley is left to keep plans moving for the prom. In between helping Nat, balancing family life, work, TJ, detention, school work, and Nat’s crazy grandma, Ashley finds a way to handle it all. Will she be able to salvage her high school prom? Will her feelings about prom change? Is life with TJ after high school enough for Ashley?  What will Ashley learn about herself in the process and how will it change her?


From a teaching perspective this book’s great points are that Ashley learns to want more from life than just the boyfriend and no education. She develops dreams and self confidence when she learns that she is more capable than she ever thought. She also learns to expect more for herself and from herself (evident when she gets rid of the less than desirable boyfriend and her friends applaud her finally realizing it). It’s also written on the high interest topic of Prom which usually appeals too much of the high school teenage girl population.


TOUCHY AREAS: A caution for the book is that drug use is mentioned (the boyfriend asks her to go with him and get high). Sex is mentioned in the book related to prom night activities and to Ashley and her boyfriend. Condoms are distributed at the prom. Ashley gets arrested for defying the vice principal and sneaking into the prom. There are plenty of issues here; yet, the overall message is a good one – especially for building strong women and for teaching girls to look outside the norm and believe in themselves.




REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor


1 Comment »

  1. Having read this I believed it was really informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this informative article
    together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    Comment by Patti — September 16, 2012 @ 8:56 am | Reply

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