Clement-Moore, R. (2007). Prom Dates from Hell. New York: Delacorte Press.
Three pages into Prom Dates from Hell I knew I was going to love it. (Talk about a bias!) I loved the sarcastic, smart voice of Maggie Quinn right away. She reminded me of a hybrid of Veronica Mars and Buffy Summers.
...But I guess with dark hair.
Appetizer: After stopping an incident of bullying in the halls, the three most popular girls in the senior grade (all named Jessica) take notice of Maggie and start to make her life hellish. While that would be bad enough, Maggie has been having dark dreams again, and that part of herself that is a seer like her grandmother has been awakened, just when *something* at the school is trying to make the most popular seniors suffer.
Just in time for prom!
No longer able to ignore her intuitions, Maggie enlists the help of an attractive college guy, Justin, to fight evil. While they quickly try different folk tactics to hold off the ghost/monster/shadow/demon-thing, it quickly becomes apparent that the beastie may be too much to contend with.
I enjoyed Prom Dates from Hell enough that I will definitely be picking up the second and third books in the Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil series. Maggie has a lot of wonderfully sarcastic narration.
I have to admit that while I was amused, I was not *completely captivated* by the story. I figured out who the real culprit was pretty early on (although, Clement-Moore did a good job of constructing her red herring.)
I was also a little sceeved out by the age difference between Maggie and Justin. Although Justin's exact age is never specifically given. He's already in college and it's safe to assume he's far along in his program since he talks about graduate credits and what not. Speaking as someone who has been that age, I would have thought that a senior in high school was a wee-little baby and I NEVER would have considered dating someone in such a different position. And I know YA lit loves to have the high school girl date a college boy. But my immediate response is to wonder what is wrong with said college-aged character that he can't date someone his own age. Plus, beyond battling the forces of darkness, I didn't really feel a special connection between them beyond the occasional one-liner or the unfounded over-protectiveness on the part of Justin.
Dinner Conversation: !!!
"As an interactive horror experience, with beasts from Hell, mayhem, gore, and dismemberment, it was an impressive event. As a high school prom, however, the evening was marginally less successful.
I should start at the beginning, but I'm not entirely certain when that is, so I'll start with the day I realized that despite my most determined efforts, I was not going to be able to ignore the prom entirely" (p. 1).
"Back on the middle school Serengeti I learned that, lacking a certain killer instinct, my best bet was to avoid standing out from the herd and making myself a target for the apex social predators, at least until I'd built up a tough skin. Now I'm sort of like the spiny anteater. Small and prickly, trundling along, a threat to no one. Except ants, I guess, which is where the metaphor runs out" (p. 2).
"Again my eye snagged on some dark movement--her shadow on the water? I barely had time to wonder, a half-fired neuron of warning, then everything went wrong" (p. 43).
"What if I want to get in touch with you?" he asked.
"About my alleged psychic powers?"
"Then think about me real hard, and I'll know to give you a call." I flashed a sunny smile, put the Jeep in gear, and drove away. For the first time that day, I felt as if I'd gotten the upper hand in a human interaction" (p. 74).
"I had a lot to do that afternoon. Besides homework, newspaper, and yearbook, there was saving the world as well. Where was I going to fit in a date?" (p. 190)
"Witch hunts scared me. Not for the obvious reasons, but because they were so irrational that there was no defense against them. But I couldn't actually be hanged for a witch. Could I? I wouldn't put anything past the Republicans" (p. 223).
Tasty Rating: !!!