Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Review: 21 Proms
21 Proms edited by Daniel Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft
Reasons for reading: was interested to read stories by all of the authors; Numbers Challenge
Summary: 21 stories by today's top young adult authors about the joys, sorrows, and sometimes weirdness surrounding the prom.
My thoughts: I'm not really a short stories girl - I like to get really involved in a story and find that short ones don't give me enough meat, so to speak. But I'd been meaning to read this since I ordered it last year and it did seem like a good chance to be introduced to some YA authors I hadn't read yet. It's certainly a who's who of hot YA authors, which was cool.
I really enjoyed "Three Fates" by Aimee Friedman, about a girl who goes from having no date to having three and "Backup Date" by Leslie Margolis, about a girl who claims to only be going to prom because her senior boyfriend wants to and she's only pretending to be drunk... Jacqueline Woodson's Geechee Girls Dancin' was a bit to poetic for my taste but was interesting from my recent South Carolina travels. There were also good ones from the fab E. Lockhart and an apparently autobiographical one by Melissa de la Cruz.
I didn't enjoy Libba Bray's "Primate the Prom" because it was one big, hit-you-over-the-head metaphor for gay dating. Apes were inserted for same-sex partners but, in case you didn't get it, the ape-human partners were also same-sex. As there were already several stories about same-sex couples in the book, the whole story felt unneccessary and heavy-handed. We've already seen it decades ago in Cabaret with a gorilla-suited person standing in for a Jew in Nazi Germany.
But it's a great book, full of high-quality writing, to recommend to teens, especially at this time of year. For me, overall, the main thing it was make me think back to my grad night (that's what we called it here in Canada in my day, I think they still do) and maybe write a story of my own. It's a sad tale of unrequited love and puffed sleeves...