**I received this book for free through Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Release Information: 4 February 2014 from Sourcebooks Fire
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Summary: Shannon’s ‘clique’ is just her and her best friend and she has a super-embarrassing nickname that won’t go away. It is no huge shock when her classmates vote her least likely to be crowned Prom Queen. What is shocking is the new hidden camera reality show she finds herself starring in, titled The Prom Queen Wannabes! Shannon and two other Wannabes must battle to be elected Prom Queen and snag the One! Million! Dollar! prize. After a summer of makeovers and training at Prom Queen Camp, the hidden cameras watch the three of them enter their senior year equipped with secret skills to help wage war on the popular set. Things at Westfield High are about to get ugly, and Shannon must decide how much she's willing to give up for a shot at winning that tiara.
Thoughts: I loved Blaze and was excited to review The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High as part of the blog tour. Both books made me laugh out loud and explored feminist themes without shoving an agenda down my throat.
What I love about Prom Queens is that it feels both familiar and different at the same time. We’ve all read stories where a girl is offered her dream (popularity, fame, etc.) and then she slowly realizes what she really needs (friends, family, love, etc.). Prom Queens made this feel fresh. Shannon never wanted popularity or fame. She only wanted to not be mercilessly teased by her classmates. When she thinks about being popular in the beginning of the book, she imagines all of her new friends as relationships like her current best friend. Then, we see her slowly manipulated into ignoring her own value system for one constantly promoted in the media to sell beauty products to women.
While there are over the top shenanigans, I didn’t have trouble believing it because the characters are always real. Even the mean girls develope likeable qualities and it is easy to understand where they are coming from. In the end, everything wrapped up in a satisfying way that allowed a group of teen girls to rise above competing with each other (although not before humiliating themselves).
Favorite Moment: The stage-diving moment at the end had me gasping for breath. It was the highlight of a steady stream of hilarious moments.
WTF Moment: Any time the corporate sponsor manipulated real lives in order to create drama for the show. View Spoiler »Specifically, that they hired an actor to be Shannon’s mom’s boyfriend in an attempt to manipulate Shannon’s mom. Although, I like how that turned out in the end. « Hide Spoiler
Overall: Very Mean Girls, but with reality TV. Real Prom Queens of Westfield High is funny with a great message.
My relationship with reality TV started when I first fell in love with MTV’s The Real World years ago. Since then, I’ve logged enough hours of guilty pleasure viewing to qualify as something of an expert.
My family is very musical and we like to watch singing competition shows together. We even went to see the American Idol winners in concert a few years ago when we were visiting my family in Pittsburgh. The concert was a lot of fun with the perfect amount of cheesiness. We will sometimes watch Cake Boss which properly gets everyone in the mood for baked goods and I’ve been known to watch Hoarders as motivation for spring cleaning.
But my greatest guilty pleasure reality TV show has to be America’s Next Top Model. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve barely missed a show in all twenty cycles. I did skip the British Invasion one when it originally aired, but then just last week I binge watched the whole season and still feel an appropriate level of shame. I wrote THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH in an attempt to redeem some of the hours I’ve spent in front of the TV and I really hope readers enjoy the over-the-top spoof.
Laurie Boyle Crompton grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, where she was never in danger of becoming prom queen despite looking fairly cute in a tiara. She now splits her time between Queens and New Paltz, NY, and is the author of the YA novel Blaze. As research for The Real Prom Queens she may or may not have watched every episode of America’s Next Top Model.