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Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary…
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Prom Dates from Hell (2007)

by Rosemary Clement-Moore

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This is my YA book of the year. I am not a YA person. I rarely read it (yes, I do collection development and reader's advisory for YA. There are only so many hours in the day and it's a very small part of our circulation). I do skim the books I buy but I can never work up enough interest to make it all the way through. However, every year I seem to find just one book that I completely fall in love with. This is that book in 2013.

Maggie is satisfied with her mostly-invisible nerd status. She's got a few friends, academic success and she's pretty much ignoring all that weird stuff that her Gran keeps talking about. But then strange things start happening at school and to her horror she realizes that to solve the mystery (a la her secret heroine Nancy Drew) she just might have to...attend PROM.

There's a delightful maybe-romance with a college student, some serious thoughts about friendship and revenge, and lots and lots of snark.

Full confession: I read this after I weeded it. The whole series, actually. It made me hurt inside because even though I hadn't read them yet, I loved the description and the covers and I meant to read them sometime. But they were just not the right books for our audience.

Verdict: Who is the right audience? Teens who love snark, Buffy, Veronica Mars, and self-aware heroines who are smart and not ashamed of it, able to speak up for themselves - but also know when to ask for help. This is, sadly, only a small number of teens in my town who mostly seem to prefer Twilight and Sarah Dessen (not that there's anything wrong with those). If you have teen patrons who fit this description - go forth and purchase!

ISBN: 9780385734134; Published 2007 by Delacorte; Purchased for the library, weeded from same. Sigh.
  JeanLittleLibrary | Oct 12, 2013 |
Mystery, magic, and Maggie Quinn make a very exciting trio. Maggie is a fascinating heroine who has to save prom from the forces of evil. I really enjoyed this mystery. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Apr 30, 2013 |
Maggie Quinn, high school journalist, has the Sight despite all her efforts to deny it and before her senior year is over she'll need it - because someone has let loose a demon. Maggie appears to be the only one at school who's realized something is wrong so it's up to her, with a little help from a very cute student from her father's college class, to keep things from getting out of control - no matter how tempting it is to let the demon wreak its havok on the mean-spirited popular kids and that most torturous high school experience - the prom.

Tons of fun - the supernatural bits of Buffy combined with the jounalistic investigating of Veronica Mars and the wisecracks of both; I read this pretty much in one sitting and loved it. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
Excusing my fansquee over [b:Texas Gothic|9535352|Texas Gothic|Rosemary Clement-Moore|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1294613587s/9535352.jpg|13155646] earlier this month, I love most of Rosemary Clement-Moore’s books. They’re funny, snarky, and manages to whip up a good plot.

Prom Dates… is a great little read. I said in the aforementioned review that Amy Goodnight could be cousins with Maggie Quinn, insofar of the fact that they’re both snarky psychics who like to get their Nancy Drew on. While it should be a cliché that Maggie’s defenses for dealing with the banality that is high school. But it’s a refreshing brand of snark, and I loved the humor Maggie brings to the book. I also liked how, even though she doesn’t figure out the exact answer until the end, she’s still willing to approach the conflict from every possible angle until her hunches are right. I like that she’s willing to do the right thing, even if it means helping out her high school nemeses (the Jocks & Jessicas), because it is the right thing to do. Also, she uses logic and science to explain and figure out all of the supernatural goings-on. And she manages to have a great relationship with her parents and grandmother, and it feels realistic.

The plot flows really well. There’s one or two things that feel thrown in at the last minute or feel shoehorned in, but overall, the main action and mystery moves at a good pace. Like I just mentioned, I like how once Maggie accepts all of these accidents are supernatural, she start eliminating every possibility before figuring out the force causing everything. Most of the revenges also feel natural—with the exception of Jock Brian’s sudden development of MS, that one felt a little too out of left field (or as out of left field as one can get in a supernatural mystery)—and fitting to the targeted characters. (Even Karen, who we find out wasn’t an intended victim, but the revenge still fits with her character well enough that it throws Maggie off her game.)

Designated love interest Justin is a little harder to pin down, but I generally liked him. He plays off Maggie well, and some of my favorite parts of the book is their banter. The fact that they both genuinely like one another is a refreshing change from the “slap-slap-kiss” trope, and I was hoping that they would eventually hook up by the end of the book.

Lisa’s the hardest character to crack. While I liked her similarly snarky attitude, there’s something off about her that I couldn’t really relate to. And unfortunately, her reason for helping to summon the demon in the first place—her pre-book sexual assault/rape (it’s never clarified) by one of the Jocks—felt like a convenient excuse and didn’t really get a lot of the attention that it deserved. There’s some hints of Lisa being damaged throughout the book, but the explanation comes too quickly and too close to the end to have the intended effect on the reader. It’s my least favorite part of the book, specifically because it does feel shoehorned and doesn't have the impact that the backstory should have.

As a villain, Stanley is the weakest character in the whole—he only feels like the intended antagonist just because. He’s a slightly sympathetic villain in the idea that he’s a nerd, and most of us know what it’s like to get picked on in high school. But there’s really not much that he does beside mua-ha-ha-ing behind his greasy glasses.

Despite its faults, I have such a good time reading this book. It’s a great start to a series, Maggie’s a fun character to both read and root for, and the mystery manages to be entertaining and puzzling for the reader as well as the characters. It’s happy fun brain candy that’s also smart and witty. Highly enjoyable, and comes very recommended.
( )
  princess-starr | Mar 31, 2013 |
Clement-Moore, R. (2007). Prom Dates from Hell. New York: Delacorte Press.

308 pages.

Three pages into Prom Dates from Hell I knew I was going to love it. (Talk about a bias!) I loved the sarcastic, smart voice of Maggie Quinn right away. She reminded me of a hybrid of Veronica Mars and Buffy Summers.

...But I guess with dark hair.

Appetizer: After stopping an incident of bullying in the halls, the three most popular girls in the senior grade (all named Jessica) take notice of Maggie and start to make her life hellish. While that would be bad enough, Maggie has been having dark dreams again, and that part of herself that is a seer like her grandmother has been awakened, just when *something* at the school is trying to make the most popular seniors suffer.

Just in time for prom!

No longer able to ignore her intuitions, Maggie enlists the help of an attractive college guy, Justin, to fight evil. While they quickly try different folk tactics to hold off the ghost/monster/shadow/demon-thing, it quickly becomes apparent that the beastie may be too much to contend with.

I enjoyed Prom Dates from Hell enough that I will definitely be picking up the second and third books in the Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil series. Maggie has a lot of wonderfully sarcastic narration.

I have to admit that while I was amused, I was not *completely captivated* by the story. I figured out who the real culprit was pretty early on (although, Clement-Moore did a good job of constructing her red herring.)

I was also a little sceeved out by the age difference between Maggie and Justin. Although Justin's exact age is never specifically given. He's already in college and it's safe to assume he's far along in his program since he talks about graduate credits and what not. Speaking as someone who has been that age, I would have thought that a senior in high school was a wee-little baby and I NEVER would have considered dating someone in such a different position. And I know YA lit loves to have the high school girl date a college boy. But my immediate response is to wonder what is wrong with said college-aged character that he can't date someone his own age. Plus, beyond battling the forces of darkness, I didn't really feel a special connection between them beyond the occasional one-liner or the unfounded over-protectiveness on the part of Justin.

Meh.

Dinner Conversation: !!!

"As an interactive horror experience, with beasts from Hell, mayhem, gore, and dismemberment, it was an impressive event. As a high school prom, however, the evening was marginally less successful.
I should start at the beginning, but I'm not entirely certain when that is, so I'll start with the day I realized that despite my most determined efforts, I was not going to be able to ignore the prom entirely" (p. 1).

"Back on the middle school Serengeti I learned that, lacking a certain killer instinct, my best bet was to avoid standing out from the herd and making myself a target for the apex social predators, at least until I'd built up a tough skin. Now I'm sort of like the spiny anteater. Small and prickly, trundling along, a threat to no one. Except ants, I guess, which is where the metaphor runs out" (p. 2).

"Again my eye snagged on some dark movement--her shadow on the water? I barely had time to wonder, a half-fired neuron of warning, then everything went wrong" (p. 43).

"What if I want to get in touch with you?" he asked.
"About my alleged psychic powers?"
"Maybe."
"Then think about me real hard, and I'll know to give you a call." I flashed a sunny smile, put the Jeep in gear, and drove away. For the first time that day, I felt as if I'd gotten the upper hand in a human interaction" (p. 74).

"I had a lot to do that afternoon. Besides homework, newspaper, and yearbook, there was saving the world as well. Where was I going to fit in a date?" (p. 190)

"Witch hunts scared me. Not for the obvious reasons, but because they were so irrational that there was no defense against them. But I couldn't actually be hanged for a witch. Could I? I wouldn't put anything past the Republicans" (p. 223). ( )
  SJKessel | May 28, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385734131, Paperback)

Maggie Quinn, Girl reporter. Honors student, newspaper staffer, yearbook photographer. Six weeks from graduation and all she wants to do is get out of Avalon High in one piece. Fate seems to have different plans for her.

High school may be a natural breeding ground for evil, but the scent of fire and brimstone is still a little out of the ordinary. It's the distinct smell of sulfur that makes Maggie suspect that something's a bit off. And when realTwilight Zone stuff starts happening to the school's ruling clique—the athletic elite and the head cheerleader and her minions, all of whom happen to be named Jessica—Maggie realizes it's up to her to get in touch with her inner Nancy Drew and ferret out who unleashed the ancient evil before all hell breaks loose.

Maggie has always suspected that prom is the work of the devil, but it looks like her attendance will be mandatory. Sometimes a girl's got to do some pretty undesirable things if she wants to save her town from soul-crushing demons from hell and the cheerleading squad.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

High school senior and yearbook photographer Maggie thought she would rather die than go to prom, but when a classmate summons a revenge-seeking demon, she has no choice but to buy herself a dress and prepare to face jocks, cheerleaders, and Evil Incarnate.… (more)

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