Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: my prom, and Prom Impossible

Yesterday was the big YA Prom day, and I had so much fun putting together a "dream prom" - but today is where I share my real prom, set in 1988. Also, because everything I do is pretty much paired with a book, I simply must talk about the recent book, Prom Impossible.

I love that line in the movie What Women Want (with Mel Gibson) where a woman advises Mel about his daughter's prom - "it's all about the dress, you know."  And so it is. Unable to find the perfect dress at a store, my parents graciously paid extra to have one custom made for me. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite as I expected... and, let's face it, my 18 year old taste in fashion wasn't that great. I've never liked peach since :(

I can't remember if the dress planning began before or after I actually had a date. I think it began BEFORE the date was secured, because my best friend and I decided that we'd go anyway even if we didn't get dates. But then someone asked me, and after a moment of "huh? I didn't expect that!" I was remember feeling quite pleased. The hilarious thing is that yesterday when I picked my  YA prom date (a fictional character from a YA book), at first it didn't registered that the YA boy and the real boy had the SAME NAME. Wesley from The Archived and The Unbound books, by Victoria Schwab - and here's my real life Wesley (Hi Wes! if you happen to come across this post!) (we still keep in touch online occasionally).

The funny thing about my prom is I actually don't remember much about it. I can't remember where it was (some generic hotel ballroom?), how the room was decorated, who was king or queen, memorable dance songs...(I do remember my best friend's date sneaking outside to smoke cigars). What I remember MOSTLY was after prom when the four of us went cruising. All over Buffalo, NY, from parties to parks to open-all-night hangouts and maybe even a midnight crossing over the Peace Bridge into Canada and back.

This was our prom car - a 1966 Buick Electra, fondly named Sofie.

Good memories, and thankfully, mostly drama-free, unlike the escapades in Prom Impossible, a hilarious YA book that's billed as a modern day Shakespearean comedy.  Truly, this story has shades of the mixed up romantic mess of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The main character, Cassidy, has her sights on going to prom with Michael, an adorable geek, but he barely notices her. So her plan is to use Jasper, the popular jock, to make Michael jealous, but when the Jasper plan starts to backfire, Cassidy gets even more creative: "I wanted to use Zeke to make Jasper jealous to make Michael jealous so I could have my dream prom date."  Cue: disaster.

What I love about the cover of this book is it gives you a little about the three boys right up front.

Of course every step of Cassidy's ever-changing plans goes awry, and is further complicated by the other prom-date seeking girls: Cassidy's cousin Jules, her ex-best-friend Elena, and  her arch-enemy, Ava.
So why would Ava rush after Zeke when it just made her look weak, pathetic and needy? I had no clue. Maybe someday I'd figure that out along with everything else like world peace and poverty and how to make cafeteria food edible.
Also, Cassidy just has this hilarious knack for talking herself into trouble:
I have this problem with silence. It tends to draw words out of me even when I don't want to talk. 
And then there's her flare for drama, which kept me cracking up:
Mom hovered, trying to say something. 
"Out with it. If you don't tell me now, I'll have this lecture of doom ganging over my head all day, and that could affect the start of my relationship with teachers who ultimately hold my collegiate future in their hands." 
She sighed. "oh, Cassidy. Do you need to be so dramatic?"
What really made me laugh out loud was when Cassidy tries to talk herself out of a situation with her overbearing Aunt Lulu, and ends up asking her aunt for help in straightening out her prom-date-seeking mission. Nothing like a fussy aunt getting involved in your romantic life and even worse, getting involved in the prom-dress-selection-process.

Aunt Lulu's a rip, but the boys are also really great characters. Jasper is like sleek, well-fed trouble, stalking the halls in his moccasins. But Cassidy is his match. There's this one scene where she confronts him in the boys' bathroom that had me grinning, and another where she tries to trap him into her prom-plan in front of his mother, but he has a solid comeback. Terms such as "romance and stars" and "therapist" and "personal stories" and "binge eating" are wielded like chess pieces between opponents.

Then there's Zeke, who is... multifaceted. Here's one side of Zeke:

He asked me questions. How'd I do on the science test? Do I like bunny rabbits? What's my favorite color? Where was I applying to college? Had I made a snowman yet this year?

I don't know about you, but sounds like excellent prom conversation to me.


  1. Laura's book sounds like a really fun story! Oh those relational machinations and missteps of high school!

    I decided to throw an anti-prom party rather than go with the guy who'd asked me. He'd put the moves on me on a 5 am band bus ride the year before, much to my chagrin. We were still friendly after, but I feared he'd get all octopus-like again if I agreed to be his prom date... So I invited some favorite underclassmen over for movies and mayhem. (My teen years are full of stories like this--is it any surprise I write YA?)

  2. Those plots to generate jealousy often result in some things happening to the plotter. I wish I'd had a prom dress as adorable as the girl on the cover. I remember some horrid blue sparkly net was involved, but that's about all that comes to mind about the evening.

  3. My prom was 1988, too!!! The dresses were so BIG back then, like the hair. I had one of those horrid hoop skirts that you had to lift in the back to sit down. My dress had a mind of its own!



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