- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 3606.0 KB
- Print Length: 284 pages
- Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween (27 Mar. 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007GQXGRU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #230,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Prom Date Kindle Edition
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Her days, her evenings and hopefully her nights would become far more hectic in the near future as the students of Toomey High anticipated their Prom mere weeks away. Everything is on a high, in the evening the family store is heaving with high school girls choosing dresses and the days are filled with nervous invitations.
That is until Margaret’s discovery of the torn dresses, muddied and trampled as if tortured; and the scream she later hears in the night.
The body they find won’t be the first, not if the killer has their way. The killer had marveled at how easy it was, and how much easier it would get if the body count grew.
Sometimes removing obstacles is far easier than over coming them; and someone at Toomey High has their sights set on the Prom, and the perfect date…
Prom Date, Diane Hoh’s 1996 addition to the Point Horror Collection, was a random choice for my introduction to the long running series of Young Adult horror novels. What drew me to it was that the synopsis reminded me of the school based slasher films from my youth that enjoyed resurgence during the 1990’s in the shape of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream.
That may have been what made me choose Prom Date but it was Diane Hoh’s colorful and endearing characters that kept me interested.
Before I continue I should say that this was not a book I read myself, it was read to me in the form of an audiobook from the website Audible. Audiobooks are essentially adaptations of a book, though they are easily the most loyal of adaptations. If they are read by the author they could even be considered to be closer to the author’s intention than you would get reading the book yourself, on the other hand a bad narrator can make the best book a trial to get through.
Luckily with Prom Date I found myself in the very capable hands, well… words… of Karyn O’Bryant, an actress turned voice artist whose voice perfectly captures good natured sixteen year old Margaret and her contemporaries. But what struck me more than the female characters was how O’Bryant managed to play the males in the story.
O’Bryant’s use of a kind of “basso profondo” or “bassetto” (or whatever we can call the opposite of a falsetto) makes the males in the story believable rather than absurd in the same way men playing female characters often seem. Perhaps this is because the combination of the basetto and characterization manages to meld with the mental image of a teenage boy trying to be older than he is more fluidly. This presents a character that is appealing and honest in a way that perhaps not even a male voice artist could have managed.
Whatever the reason I found O’Bryant’s performance to be uniformly excellent through the story and I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much without her in the mix.
Of course she is only a part of what made Prom Date an enjoyable slice of teen slasher pie. I was lucky to stumble on to Diane Hoh for my first encounter with Point Horror as well; she writes a great little story that manages to walk the line between pure cliché and whodunnit with nary a foot wrong. Even though there’s very little here an avid devotee of Jason and Freddy would be familiar with she still manages to make a real page turner out of it all.
All in all this was a worthwhile piece of weekend entertainment and it highlighted two artists: Diane Hoh and Karyn O’Bryant, who I’ll sure to be on the lookout for in the future.
Excuse me, I'm being facetious. I'm just so happy, though. I've certainly noticed - and I'm not the only one, this is something I see echoed in just about every Point Horror blog I've read - that the later PH novels are just, well, not great. Some of them are memorable, with wild plots often involving supernatural stuff, and a handful are excellent - The Stranger comes to mind (although that's not a great example, I have no idea why that one was released under the Point Horror imprint at all) - but the majority of the books released post-1994 don't hold a candle to classics like Trick or Treat, My Secret Admirer, Beach Party or The Train.
I'm happy to say that Prom Date is a delicious return to those golden days.
Margaret is an intelligent, soft-spoken, not-especially-popular girl who works in her beautiful mother's dress store, which at this time of year is filled with the Beautiful People (known as the Pops) who are all trying on prom dresses. The Pops are the bane of her and her friends' lives. There's sleek, bitchy Stephanie; perfect overachiever Kiki; elegant, sophisticated Liza and sweet, pretty Beth. They rule the school and make everyone else feel like something stuck to the bottom of your shoe. (Not that anything would dare stick to the bottom of these girls' shoes.)
Then the senior picnic comes along, and Stephanie is shoved off a watchtower onto the rocks below. Who killed Stephanie, and why? There are so many candidates...
Margaret is surprised when Mitch, one of the most handsome, popular guys in school, starts showing interest in her. But before long, nasty things start happening, both to Margaret and to the store. The dresses that the Pops chose for prom are cut to ribbons. Someone slips poison in Margaret's milk and she narrowly avoids death when she gives it to a stray cat in the alley behind (who is unfortunately not so lucky). Then she gets hit on the head and shoved in a dumpster, and the dumpster set on fire, and is just barely rescued by Mitch. Kiki is attacked and has her face smushed, and the replacement prom dresses are stolen. Someone is out to destroy the girls who are lucky enough to have prom dates...
I really, really liked this book. There were so many things I loved, and so few that I didn't. First, huge kudos on writing a longer book! I never feel like Point Horrors are long enough to really get a feel for the characters, but Prom Date stands at 274 pages, and the difference really shows. Secondly: dresses. Can I drool a bit? Oh Em Gee. I love 90s fashion, and I love books where characters' clothes are described. These books totally need more shopping scenes.
Third, I utterly adore Margaret. She's got to be one of my favourite Point Horror heroines ever. Quiet but not shy, not popular but not cowed by those who are, soft-spoken and kind but unafraid to speak up - often with a quick, sharp wit - when she or her friends are being put down. This girl is awesome. She's more complex than the one-dimensional heroines you tend to find in teenage horror. She's totally someone I'd want to be, or want to know.
Mitch is lovely. I'm not usually a fan of the sensitive-jock or sensitive popular guy trope, but it kind of works here. Like Margaret, he's better developed than your average Point Horror love interest, and I credit that to the extra length of the book. He's a real sweetheart, and I'm glad, because Margaret deserves someone no less than brilliant. And if their romance progresses a little fast, with only a couple dozen pages between first interest and first I-love-yous? That's okay too. This is the end of high school, after all. :)
I really quite like Margaret's mom, too - an actual present, decent parent for once!
Even the Pops have some depth to their character. I was particularly touched by Kiki's thoughts as she was walking alone, about how hard it was to balance everything in life and put out a flawless, poised image. I was a Kiki in high school, although rather than being in the popular crowd I flitted from crowd to crowd, being welcomed and accepted by all and committing to nobody. I spent a lot of years trying to be close to perfect in all possible areas - good grades, extra credit projects, art classes, volunteer work, popularity, prettiness, being someone who people could rely on but would never need anything from others - and, on the occasions that that failed, providing a smooth untouchable surface that made it appear like I wasn't the slightest bit ruffled by anything. Being a secondary character, we're not provided with Kiki's motivations other than a general fear of messing up, and I'd like to have seen more of her. That said, I'm pretty darn impressed with the fact that we hear the Pops' feelings at all; usually background characters are solidly in the background, and any information we get on them comes via conversations with protagonists.
It's generally agreed that info dumping is a sign of an unprofessional author, but I love info dumps. I'm not a fan of books that are totally dialogue-driven, I like to see people's inner thoughts.
Bitchy in places, scary in others, cheerful in more, this is as comforting as hot tomato soup on an autumn day. I just read it three weeks ago and find myself wanting to read it again.
Verdict: One of the best of the later books, with one of the most developed heroines. Brilliantly entertaining.
Personally, I adore the Point Horror series and this book is one of the greatest. A sign of a brilliant horror book is one that keeps you guessing right up until the end. This book certainly does that! I would read a chapter and be sure I knew who the culprit was and then another suspect would pop up out of nowhere. With a lot of the point horrors you can guess who the culprit is at some point in the book, but with Prom Date it was a completely different case.
Toomey High is like every high school; the popular group rules the school. But when Stephanie has a terrible "accident" (trust me I aren't giving anything away, Stephanie's death is mentioned on the back of the book!) and so does one of her friends, its clear someone is up to something. But thanks to Diane Hoh we don't know who that person is until we get to the point of screaming because we want to know so badly!
I would recommend this book to anyone and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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