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Read This! Prom Season!

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With Senior Prom just around the corner, let’s take a look at some books on the biggest dance of every high school.

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Prom by Mary Ellen Mark

The high school prom is one of the most important rituals in the lives of American young people, a rite of passage that many students look forward to for years. Mary Ellen Mark, internationally recognized for her documentary photographs, took on the extraordinary challenge of working with the Polaroid 20×24 Land Camera, which was nearing the end of its production life at the early part of this century, to produce this fascination look at dozens of young people from a diverse range of backgrounds on prom night. Traveling across the United States between 2006 and 2009, Mark photographed prom-goers at thirteen schools from New York City to Houston to Los Angeles to make the 127 richly detailed portraits reproduced here. Mark’s husband, the filmmaker Martin Bell, collaborated on the project to produce and direct a film, also titled Prom, featuring interviews with the students. A DVD of the film is included in the book. Quotations from the interviews – some comical, some deeply moving – punctuate the book and are also included in the plate list at the end. One young man tells of his determination to abandon his family’s tradition of becoming a dentist; another, a female honor student who is attending prom alone, details the roadmap to her entire future; a stunningly beautiful young woman with a shaved head who will be attending her prom at Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center confesses her desire for a fairy-tale wedding; and a couple, mature beyond their years, declare their love. The overall result is a captivating and revealing document of American youth at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Promposal by Rhonda Helms

Camilla can’t help hoping her secret crush, Benjamin, might surprise her with a promposal. But when she’s asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance – in front of a news crew – she’s forced to say yes, ending her true prom dreams. Then a school project brings Camilla and Benjamin together, and she’s sure there’s chemistry between them… but what if she’s reading into something that isn’t there? And what would she do about the promposal she’s already accepted? Joshua, Camilla’s best friend, has been secretly in love with his friend Ethan since middle school. Just as he decides to ask Ethan to prom, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan needs help crafting the perfect promposal – for another guy. Now Joshua has to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart… unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of him the whole time. The road to the perfect promposal isn’t easy to navigate, but one thing’s certain – prom season is going to be memorable.

21 Proms edited by David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft

Sometimes the night of your dreams can be a total nightmare. The prom. It’s supposed to be one of the best nights of your life. Or, at least, you’re supposed to have a good time. But what if you’d rather be going with your best friend’s date than your own? What if a sinister underground society of students has spiked the punch? What if your date turns out to be more of a frog than a prince? Or what if he’s (literally) an ape? There are ways you can fight it. You can protest the silliness of the regular prom by hosting a backwards prom – also known as a morp. You can throw a prom for fat girls. You can stay at home to watch old teen movies and get your cute neighbor and his cuter brother to join you. You can dance to your own music. Here, 21 of the funniest, most imaginative writers create their own kind of prom stories. Some are triumphs. Some are disasters. But each one is a night you’ll never forget.

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.” After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Charles’s friend Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious – and doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either. Clearly, Darcy is a pompous jerk. So why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway? Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season – prom or otherwise.

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Read This! Prom Season!