Right from the start, Emily tells readers that "[j]unior year was supposed to be all about Brian Harrington, the prom, and becoming editor in chief of the Crestview Courier." Brian, a basketball player, is literally the boy next door. Unfortunately, his most recent girlfriend is Emily's ex-best friend. Brandy and Randy Clausen were Emily's best friends until the summer before eighth grade, when they suddenly decided Emily wasn't cool any longer. They've sent disapproving looks and snide remarks her way ever since. Luckily, Emily found encouragement in Ms. Keenan, the journalism teacher, and friendship in Lindsay, a classmate whose dedication to the piano matches Emily's dedication to the school newspaper.
When she attempts to out-scoop fellow staff reporter Daniel Cummings and do an investigative report - okay, it was kind of an excuse to see what her crush and his teammates were doing - things don't go according to plan. Happily, Emily soon finds herself getting closer to Brian while playing courier for Brian's lively grandmother Lily and her would-be suitor, a lonely cruise captain. Brian is all that she ever hoped for - but what if she sets her sights higher? In her efforts to become co-editor of the paper, Emily must write a piece on the upcoming prom with Daniel. She is surprised to find depth in the boy while they perform community service at a local nursing home. The two come up with a plan that not only combines their two current "jobs" but also promotes compassion and individuality rather than wealth and popularity. As a result of this, Emily finally learns how to rock.
Prom Kings and Drama Queens by Dorian Cirrone is a delightful dramedy. Every chapter has a headline worthy of both hurricane and human. (Examples include "Emily Poses Little Threat" and "Emily Changes Course.") Cirrone allows her protagonist to have levity throughout the book and integrity with the going gets tough. Give this book to amateur reporters, reluctant readers, and romantic comedy fans. With journalistic endeavors, romantic mishaps, and a catchy title, Prom Kings and Drama Queens will be appreciated by young adults and the young-at-heart.
Read my interview with author Dorian Cirrone.
I also strongly recommend Dorian's previous novel Dancing in Red Shoes Can Kill You, especially to dancers and dance aficionados.
If you liked Goy Crazy by Melissa Schorr, you'll like Prom Kings and Drama Queens by Dorian Cirrone.
If you'd like another story about high school reporters, read the dramatic The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark.
For more fictional promenades, check out my prom booklist.
For a true story, try Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School by Michael Bamberger, a reporter who got the inside scoop on one school's prom.