*The book discussed in this post was gifted by Penguin.
When Penguin kindly offered for me to review The Prom, i literally couldn’t say no. Musicals, YA, gay, movie adaptations, there’s very little else i could ask for in a book to be completely honest. So i jumped at the chance and started reading it as soon as it came through my door.
I have heard of the musical The Prom and i have heard snippets of the songs, however it wasn’t on my radar really that the book was going to be released so soon. I’d seen it floating around on Goodreads and had added it to my TBR, however i figured the release date was next year. When it showed up at my door in September it was a little bit of a shock!
Because i’ve not seen the musical, i’m going to base my review solely on the book. I’m aware they’ve made some changes to the book that aren’t the most popular decisions made, but because i’m reading it from a completely different perspective, i can judge the book for what it really is. So that’s what i’m planning to do, judge it as though i had no idea about the musical and picked it up on a whim.
This entire book felt like i was watching an American Prom movie. I don’t have a whole bunch of insight in to proms and how they work, because they’re not so big in the U.K. But it honestly felt like i was reading the life of a super American American person. It definitely read as a movie and i think that’s why i struggled a little bit with the plot. Everything felt extremely over exaggerated and stressful. There were a few scenes in which i ended up screaming at the book because there were such simple ways to get out of a bad situation but for the drama there was ‘absolutely no way out’. I think the drama got a little too much for my small British, undrama’d mind, and i got a little sick of it.
The characters themselves i actually really enjoyed. Alyssa and Emma were really cool characters to follow and they were fleshed out just enough within the rest of the novel. They felt like the most real characters in there, very normal. I especially liked Alyssa’s character because i think she was a good representation of what people are really like when they’re struggling with coming out. She felt like the most real person in the whole book to be honest.
I do want to take a quick paragraph to talk about the amount of homophobia and bullying that are in The Prom. I personally wasn’t expecting it to this level, and it shocked me whilst i was reading it to have a huge amount of hatefulness in this book. There is a lot of homophobia from pretty much every character in it, and there’s a lot of bullying of Emma. It made me a little bit uncomfortable and i think it would have been just as effective without all the death threats…
Overall i had very mixed feelings about The Prom. It was great for representation, however just a little over-done and cliche. I enjoyed it, because it was a super quick and easy read. However there were a few bits i didn’t completely pick up the first time because of the writing style or whatever, so i felt like i was still asking who that character was and when they came in to it half way through the book.
Some people have definitely clicked better with it than i have, so if you’re interested in a cute gay story about prom with a nice ending, you should check it out!