Blind Reads Review: It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format/Source: Hardback/Borrowed from Library
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary, LGBT
When Azure’s principal gives her the chance to turn the school’s traditional (and boring) senior prom into an event that will appeal to everyone, not just the jocks and cheerleaders, she jumps at the opportunity. Soon Azure manages to convince her best friends, Luke and Radhika, to join the prom committee as well.
Facing heavy opposition and admittedly clueless about prom logistics, the three friends are nonetheless determined to succeed — if Luke’s and Azure’s secret crushes on Radhika don’t push the committee members, and their friendships, to the breaking point first.
Told in two voices and filled with comical missed connections, It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It) explores the ups and downs of planning an alternative prom — while dealing with an unrequited crush on your best friend — and shines with National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters’s unmistakable wit and insight. (From Goodreads)
**I read this book as a part of my Blind Reads feature. Go here to see my post from before I read the book, where I list the (very few) things I knew going in and my theories on what the book would entail.**
A Great Start for My New Feature…
I have to admit, I was a little worried going into this new Blind Reads feature that I would end up not liking the books that I randomly picked off of my library’s shelves. We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and that’s basically what I’m doing with this feature. I see a cover I like, and I decide to read it, based on the cover alone. Well, and the fact that it’s in the teen section of the library.
Anyway, I was worried they’d all turn out to be duds and I’d be tanking the feature right away. I didn’t need to worry. It’s Our Prom was a great start for my feature: it had a cute cover, a great plot, complex characters, and lots of humor and high school drama.
Were Any of My Theories Correct?
Well, yes and no. I knew the book was going to be about a prom, so I was pretty sure that they were going to have complications with their prom. And boy, did they have complications. Of course, I had no idea that the story revolved around students on a prom committee who were trying to make an alternative-style prom, so that was a welcome surprise. And I thought it would have some humor because of the title, and I found myself laughing out loud quite a lot!
It was a contemporary novel, so I was right on that one. Unfortunately that means that my going-back-in-time-to-the-80s theory was incorrect. In fact, my whole ’80s thing was completely wrong. Which was a bummer, because I like books and movies that are set in the ’80s, but I still enjoyed the story anyway. I think there was one reference to the 1980s in the entire book, and that made me feel a bit better, but it really had nothing to do with the plot at all. And yes, this book dealt with the prom so you could maybe say it had some Pretty in Pink stuff going on in there, but really, it’s a big stretch. At least, if I’m remembering that movie correctly. Definitely not Footloose, either. So fail on those.
One drawback to this whole Blind Reads feature was that, with a name like Azure, I wasn’t sure if the character I was reading about was a male or female, until several pages into the book. I thought it was a female, but I wasn’t sure. And since I hadn’t read the synopsis, I didn’t know before reading the book. It was kind of cool, trying to figure it out, but at the same time, it really distracted me from the book itself.
Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Review…
I knew that the author was a National Book Award Finalist, so I was pretty sure it was going to be well-written, with compelling characters and an interesting plot. I wasn’t let down in that regard at all.
I love it when characters have flaws, even if they annoy me. But if they annoy me, they’d better make some changes by the end of the book, or they’d better have lots of redeeming qualities for me to still really enjoy the book. I think Peters did a great job with the characters in It’s Our Prom, because at the beginning, I really wasn’t a big fan of any of the three main characters. I thought Azure was immature and Luke was a stereotype, and I thought they both were seeing Radhika through rose-colored glasses. And Radhika seemed to not value their friendships as much as they valued hers.
But the beauty in what Peters did with this story was she did start out with these flawed characters, but she made them incredibly endearing by the end. Azure reminded me a lot of myself, Luke reminded me of Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Radhika reminded me of Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns. In fact, I think one of the main messages from Paper Towns, which is that you never really can know a person, and that you can’t treat them as more than a person, is also conveyed in It’s Our Prom. And the fact that these characters all really started out as annoying or extremely flawed to me, yet eventually I came to see them as complex, compelling characters, is really summed up in this great quote from page 233: “Whatever my affirmation for today was, I’m rewriting it to read: ‘Once you get past the dark side of a person, you might just find the light.'” I think Peters used these messages somewhat intentionally, and she executed them flawlessly.
And can I just say I really wish my prom had been anything like the prom in this book? Seriously. Mine was just round tables surrounding a very empty dance floor with a DJ who played Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” WAY too many times. I mean, I know it was our class song (Who voted for that anyway???) but seriously dude. Once is enough. But the prom in this book was so much better. I don’t want to mention any details, because I hate spoilers no matter how small, but just believe me, it was awesome.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from It’s Our Prom: