Written by: Patricia Aks
Publication: Scholastic - Wildfire #32, 1982
Original Price: $2.25
Purchase Price: $1.00
Unapologetically, I purchased this book for the cover (OMG, that pink dress!), title font (which is called "Christie" for all those curious), and publication date (1982). I did not read the blurb on the back before handing my dollar to the Value Village cashier. I was far too eager to delve into the YA masterpiece Junior Prom was certain to be.
The story concerns a sophomore named Amy--the most normal girl ever, according her friends. And like all sophomore girls, Amy has the most normal desire ever: to go to the god fucking damn hell ass Junior Prom. But for Amy to go, a junior must ask her and alas, she doesn't know any except for Jeff, the cute librarian assistant who would never ever be interested in a studious, bookworm like her.
But hope is not lost! There are three months until Junior Prom and Amy is sure to find someone. First there's star basketball player Grant, then aspiring rock star Len, and Hank...who is wild about gerbils...for some reason. Before each respective date with these young studs, Amy researches basketball, guitar playing and...gerbils to impress them enough to solicit an invitation to the JUNIOR PROM. But her plans naturally backfire as she focuses only on their interests in a completely obvious and cringeworthy way. Poor Amy is left without a date to the JUNIOR PROM. ☹
But wait, there's more! Jeff the Hot Librarian really liked her all along and asks her to the JUNIOR PROM in the last chapter! Yay, Amy!!! Yay JUNIOR PROM!!!
What a quaint little book this is. Quaint and completely aggravating. First of all, it's very obvious from the beginning that Jeff likes Amy. She's just too stupid to realize it and then we have 30 chapters of Amy chasing after guys we know she's not going to end up with. Sigh. Now I could sort of understand this if Amy was chasing after someone like Grant the Basketball Star, but come on, girl, Jeff works in a library. If there's one rule of YAF, nerdy guys are always easy to get.
Overall, I liked Junior Prom even though it, ironically, didn't include a single scene at the titular dance. The message is valuable in a sitcom sort of way: be true to yourself and your interests because there's bound to be someone else on this planet with the opposing reproductive organs who will like the same stuff as you. And hey, if he repeatedly tries to share those interests with you, there's a good chance he might like you.
Essence of '82 (Oh, boy LOTS of good stuff here!)
- The library Amy frequents uses takeout cards. I think Oakesdale High School still uses these fuckers.
- While trying to impress Grant, Amy reads a lot of out-of-date basketball information on Willis Reed (a former player and Knicks coach). He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.
- On her date with Grant, Amy goes to see the "latest Woody Allen movie", although A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (his only movie of 1982) wasn't released until July.
- Amy and Grant later go to a hangout called The Disco where the music is "provided by tape."
- Grant comments on a girl wearing a "gold metallic jumpsuit."
- Amy is supposed to write an article on the history of music from "the Beatles, hard rock, surf rock, right through to new wave."
- Len's (the music guy) favorite artist is Bruce Springsteen and he hates Punk.
- Amy's musical studies including learning about Eddie Money and Meat Loaf and his double platinum album Bat Out of Hell (which has since gone 14 times platinum).
- Amy wants an electric typewriter for her birthday to take to college.
- After Amy and Len's date, they go to a friend's house and listen to disco music. Amy thinks it's "awfully repetitive" while Len thinks it "has lyrical content and is good to dance to." They later listen to a recording by new wave band Human Switchboard.
- Amy's brother chooses a singer who is like a "young Bette Midler" for their band.
- Amy and her friends watch 2001: A Space Odyssey on Home Box Office (that's what they used to call HBO, kids).
- Amy's mother wants to see Annie on Broadway, which was in its original run from 1977-1983.
- Amy takes her little brother to Popeye which was released in December of 1980.
- Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles is a new release. (Originally released in March of 1981)
Note: There is a sequel called Senior Prom that I'm pretty much ashamed to admit I want to read.