Book Review – ‘How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom’ by S.J. Goslee

A cute little diddy about a promposal…

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

No. of pages: 236

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Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and (definitely) still a virgin. He’s never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It’s not like Penn Valley is brimming with prospects. And when his big sister stages an elaborate “prom-posal” so Nolan can ask out his not-so-secret crush, Nolan freezes. He’s saved from further embarrassment by bad boy Bern, who, for his own reasons, offers to fake-date Nolan.

Nolan thinks it’s the perfect way to get Daphne off his back and spend the rest of the year drawing narwhals, tending to plants, and avoiding whatever died under his bed a few weeks ago. What he doesn’t think about is Bern’s ex-girlfriend, who seriously wants to kill him.

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How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom’ was a mixed bag of a read for me. The start was a little confusing with a lot of characters being introduced, I nearly put the book down feeling disinterested; which is not high praise for such a short novella. However, after the first fifty pages the story really gets going and I did not put it down again. Awkward and shy, artsy teen protagonist Nolan gets manoeuvred into a prom-posal that could spell social suicide when asking out his crush Si; but is rescued by cool outsider Bern.

And thus begins the tale of the heavily troped fake boyfriend ‘How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom.’ At first glance I expected this to be heavily stereotypical and riddled with tropes – and it is, but in a good way. S.J’s writing style and quaint comedic timing pulled this novel from obscurity and added an overdose of eye-rolling to this rom-com worthy of the big screen.

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I almost felt like we had characters from ‘The Breakfast Club’ here, but besides the fan-fiction-esque style, I was entertained. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of character arcs from our cast, as this was an emotional and angsty story told from our protagonists perspective. There was certainly enough ‘room’ to allow it. The wordcount is low, so taking some time to flesh out other characters stories would not have detracted from the pacing or interest.

Given the obvious tropes, ‘How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom’ is predictable. I got no surprises other than the comedic writing style.

I’ve really been enjoying the diversity reads of late, especially in contemporaries, and this novel was no exception. Though I’d probably recommend it for the intended demographic, as the older reader, or more experienced reader could find it slightly flat. But those who love reading fan fiction – this is a wonderful ohmage to the genre.

Overall feeling: Nearly lost me, but your got me girl

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 thoughts on “Book Review – ‘How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom’ by S.J. Goslee

  1. Azia says:

    This sounds pretty cute! A bit disappointing that it lacks some character development but yay that there are more diverse reads becoming available day by day. Wonderful review!

    • femaleinferno says:

      I’m loving the trend (let’s hope it’s here to stay) of publishers bringing diverse reads – it’s close to 80% of my reading habits. Only a few years ago I used to have to scour the internet and reviews to find novels dealing with these themes. Wishing you a productive 2020!!

      • Azia says:

        I know! It was like trying to spot a unicorn in the wild LOL. But now there’s no shortage of diverse material to explore, I think. Thanks so much! Wishing you a wonderful 2020!

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