Title: 21 Proms
Author: David Levithan
First published March 1, 2007
298 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780545798679 (ISBN10: 0545798671)
Are you ready for a prom night you’ll never forget? 21 Proms is the ultimate collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories about the most magical high school event.
But what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned? From sinister plots to unexpected dates, the prom can be a total nightmare.
But fear not, there are ways to fight back! You can throw your own prom, protest the silliness of the traditional one, or even stay at home with your cute neighbor and his cuter brother. With 21 of the funniest, most imaginative writers of our time, 21 Proms is a must-read for anyone who’s ever survived high school.
Get ready to laugh, cry, and dance the night away with this unforgettable collection of stories.
About the Author
Meet David Levithan, a talented author and children’s book editor from America. He’s been recognized for his outstanding work and has received multiple awards.
In 2003, Levithan released his debut young adult novel, Boy Meets Boy. He’s also the mastermind behind PUSH, a Young Adult imprint under Scholastic Press that he founded.
21 Proms is a compelling anthology of 21 short stories written by some of todays most notable names in young adult literature, including David Levithan, Libba Bray, and John Green. First published on March 1, 2007, the book offers a unique perspective on the high school prom experience, exploring the anxieties, longings, and triumphs of teenagers on their special night.
David Levithan, who edited the anthology and also contributed a story, is one of the most prolific and acclaimed writers of young adult fiction today. His books, including Boy Meets Boy, Every Day, and Two Boys Kissing, often tackle complex themes of identity, sexuality, and love with poetic prose and a sharp imaginative edge.
21 Proms opens with Levithans story, Theoretically, You Should Be Able to Do It, which sets the tone for the rest of the book. The story centers on a teenage girl named Katie, who is torn between her feelings for her best friend, the charming and confident Toby, and her resentment of his shallow attitudes toward girls.
As she navigates the surreal landscape of the prom, she confronts the truth about herself and her desires, and realizes that the only person she can truly be with is someone who understands and accepts her for who she is. The other stories in the anthology vary in theme and style, but all share a common sense of authenticity and emotional power.
Some stories deal with the ups and downs of romantic relationships, such as John Greens The Great American Morp, in which a nerdy teenage boy falls in love with his dream girl, only to discover that she is not who she seems. Others explore the complex dynamics of friendship, such as Libba Brays Primate the Prom, in which a group of misfit teenagers crash a fancy prom and make a shocking discovery about their own identities and values.
Despite the diversity of voices and perspectives in the book, 21 Proms coheres into a powerful and moving tribute to the transformative power of adolescence. The stories are poignant, funny, and insightful, exploring the joys and anxieties of youth with intelligence and empathy.
One of the notable strengths of the book is its focus on LGBTQ+ themes and characters. Many of the stories feature queer protagonists or explore the fluidity of gender and sexual orientation, offering a much-needed representation of marginalized voices in the genre.
The stories also delve into important contemporary issues, such as cyberbullying, body image, and mental illness, making the book a timely and relevant resource for young readers. However, there are some weaknesses in the anthology.
Some of the stories feel rushed or underdeveloped, lacking the depth and nuance of the longer works of the authors. Some of the characters are also clichd or stereotypical, relying on tired tropes of jocks, nerds, and mean girls.
Overall, 21 Proms is a must-read book for anyone who wants to relive the angst and excitement of their high school prom, or who wants to understand better the complexities of teenage life. With its strong writing, rich characters, and compelling themes, it is a work of art that will stay with readers long after they finish reading it.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.