Le Ny, Jeanine. 2008. Once Upon A Prom: Dream.
Depending on your expectations, you might just be surprised. Or not. I never know what to think about these original-as-paperback books. Especially when they seem to be gimmicky--tied to a theme like prom or cheerleading or summer romance. No offense. I mean plenty of people love to read about those types of things. The formulaic type approaches to those typical sorts of things. I just don't happen to be one of them. So my expectations were low. I expected average writing and average plot twists. I expected to be entertained certainly. What I found was a bit of substance. (Consider it the Snicker bars of junk food reading.)
The characters have more depth than I was expecting. The novel focuses on three friends: Jordan, Nisha, and Tara. Tara, for some reason, seems to be the only character that isn't working for me personally. Jordan, the cheerleader, turns out to have more substance and a dilemma on her hands when she tries to go beyond her stereotype. Nisha is an Indian. (Yes, I mean from India). Her parents don't believe in dating, and they certainly DO NOT believe in their daughter dating a white boy. The fact that she is and is keeping it a big secret gives her some depth. I don't know if that's the right word. What I mean is that it makes her believable. Call me strange but Nisha is so far one of the big reasons I'm liking this series. It does ring as authentic. In college, my sister got immersed in the Indian circle on campus--most of her friends were Indian. I befriended a few of her friends, but certainly not to the same extent. So we got to know a few families quite well. So I know the debates, the conversations, the conflicts between the generations--on dating, on love, on marriage, on who is and isn't acceptable, on what 'the right age' for settling down is, the matchmaking, etc. And this book does seem to ring true from what I know.
The focus of the novel is on these three girls, their friendship, their relationships with guys, etc. It is the first of three books following these three girls. And as such, it doesn't really end...nothing is really resolved yet...so I'll be finishing up on the series. I'll probably reserve my final judgments for later on. But so far, I'm liking it. Liking doesn't mean loving or proclaiming it the most wonderfully philosophically deep reading in the universe. But it's fun. It's light. Definitely an appetizer and not a main course. But I think it's certainly enjoyable enough for teens if they like this sort of thing.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews