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The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High: Review & Interview

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Today, I'm delighted share share an author interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton as well as my review of her latest novel The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High. I love her books, and this novel just about blew me away! It has such a great message and conveys it with much humor and grace.

The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High
Laurie Boyle Crompton

Genre: YA Contemporary
Paperback: 320 Pages
Publication: February 4, 2014
by Sourcebooks Fire

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.

Author Interview

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
I was an English major in college and have worked on a handful of magazines, but my love of writing started back in high school. It was a way to share a part of myself without having to actually speak to anyone. My second novel published was the third book I wrote which sounds pretty good, except that my first novel published was the fourth book I wrote so that still leaves two ‘drawer novels.’ I consider those to be very long and drawn out learning tools that each broke my heart numerous times. Kind of like the tools I dated before I met my husband – ha!

What inspired the writing of The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High?
I was reading a book titled QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES by Roseland Wiseman and I loved the details about social climbing in high school, particularly among females. The idea of using a reality show setting came to me as a fun way to explore the various methods girls use to scramble for social position. Plus I got to watch reality TV without guilt while I was researching my book which is sort of awesome.

Would you tell us a little about your experiences with high school and prom?
My high school years were basically so bad I’m still writing about them - ha! I think I had an experience similar to other shy and creative people who don’t really fit in anywhere. Writing was the one way I stood out and that connection only happened with people who bothered to read the school paper, which meant hardly anybody. But I worked through my painful shyness and by senior year I had a small group of great friends who I still stay in touch with now thanks to facebook. And they are all so wonderfully supportive of my books! As for prom, I went with the absolute wrong boy and still feel bad about ditching him for most of the night. I don’t want to give spoilers, but will say that writing the huge prom scene at the end of THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH helped me stop feeling so awful about my own prom.

Prom and reality TV shows play a large part of teen culture today. What impact do you believe they have on teens? Do you believe any changes should be made to the culture?
I think reality TV is a way for us to feel like we don’t need to become better versions of ourselves. Watching these shows can make us think that as long as we’re not screaming and throwing drinks at each other we’re doing okay. In actuality just because we’re not pulling weaves doesn’t mean we don’t have to work to improve ourselves no matter where we are in life. I also think the advertising in reality shows has gotten out of hand. Sponsors are like bullies forcing contestants to sing praises to their products. They want the people on their shows to act as humiliating as possible to get good ratings and meanwhile people’s reputations and lives are being ruined.

Though the title implies that prom plays a large role in the novel, it is about more than that. What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I’d like them to see how quickly one decision can avalanche into a huge mess. Staying true to ourselves is so important; otherwise, we can wake up one day and not even recognize who we’ve become. We should never allow ourselves to be bullied into a narrow standard of beauty – our differences are what make us unique and beautiful. Also, I’m hoping readers will laugh along the way since the book is full of campy fun.

What are you working on right now?
I’m just finishing up edits on my next YA titled ADRENALINE CRUSH, which is coming out with FSG/Macmillan in September. It’s the story of a thrill-seeking girl who pushes things too far one fateful day and must learn to live with the consequences. It deals with the theme of fear vs. faith; plus there’s kissing!

About the Author

Laurie Boyle Crompton is a YA author who caught the writing bug back in high school and proceeded to graduate first in her class from St. John's University with a major in English and minor in Journalism. Some of her hobbies are hiking, going to the movies, cycling, swimming, and reading. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Agency.

Connect with Laurie
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

◆ A copy was provided by Sourcebooks for review ◆

The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High is full of adorableness. I'm in love!

Shannon has been a social outcast since the incident that labeled her as the Elf Ucker. When she learns that she was voted as one of the three least likely to become Prom Queen, she knows that it's time for a change and accepts a role in the upcoming reality television show that prepares her to throw herself into the running for the tiara. What she doesn't realize is that, in trying to reform herself, she risks losing the things most important to her.

Shannon is a wonderful character. I love her quirky personality: the way she compares herself to a kite at the beginning, her tendency to daydream (I do that a lot too!), and her unique, "embarrassing" hobby. It's hard not to like her, even as she keeps making decisions that I just knew she would later regret. I liked old Shannon and found myself wondering what turned her into this Prom Queen obsessee who takes pleasure in humiliating those who used to make fun of her. Which is what this book is about. As humorous and fun of a read this is, it also portrays a disturbing picture of how reality television distorts the truth and brings out the worst in people. As Shannon becomes more engaged in the game she's playing, she finds herself losing and even looking down on the people who stayed true to her during the worst of the Elf Ucker times.

A lot of characters play stereotypical roles, and it works for this story because of the intentions of its message. We also see a lot of drama. A lot of the scenes played out on the show are precisely what we expect to see on reality television. What we also see, however, is the huge amount of editing and cutting that goes into featuring these scenes. We see things that would give us a whole different perspective if only we knew. In addition to the media, the story tackles issues like bulimia, advertising, and the superficial culture prominent in society today. I love how, in the midst of all this, the story doesn't take itself seriously. In fact, it makes fun of itself sometimes, like with the fail swan dive off the stage and the dramatic charge at prom. There's also what happens with the One! Million! Dollar! prize.

It just seems like everything wraps up rather conveniently for Shannon. While I heart the adorableness that happens at prom (squeal!), I feel like all the hurt that she's inflicted on her pre-camp friends should take longer to heal, especially with Rick. I can understand Marnie forgiving her more quickly, as they've had years of history behind them, but Shannon does some things I don't think she should've done if she truly cared about Rick. Still, it's life. We hurt and get hurt and learn to move forward in the midst of all this drama. And Rick's a pretty nice guy, especially since he continued liking her throughout all this. Or maybe he couldn't help being swayed by what she does to try and redeem herself. . . .

As cheesy as it is, I'm still filled with giggles and bubbles of happiness over the ending. It is so very cute and sweet. I also love how it goes on to spotlight what the Prom Queen candidates are doing now that they've graduated from high school. It's the perfect way to end the story and show how they've all learned and grown from their experience with the reality show.

Like with Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) (see my review here), Laurie Boyle Crompton blurs the lines of morality and shows us the dangers of social media while navigating the changing times of high school. All the while working humor into the situations her main characters dig themselves into. I look forward to seeing what she brings to us next!

Additional Information
  • N/A

Similar Books
  • Alcohol / drinking
  • Kissing
  • Sex

5 comments on "The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High: Review & Interview"
  1. My students are obsessed with prom. They started planning back in October/November and prom isn't until late March. This book sounds a little over-the-top but fun!

  2. The adorable aspect sounds like it would make this fun to read

  3. I actually quite enjoyed Blaze, so I have high hopes for this one. This book truly looks like a fluffy, fun filled romp to the highest degree :) I definitely need something like it after all of the darker and heavy novels I've been reading recently. Great review!

  4. Aw, this one sounds super fun! I'm usually not too big on high school drama, but this one sounds adorable :) Great review & interview!

  5. Sounds fun. I like this kind of reads, where it makes you feels like a teenager again. Definitely adding to my TBR list. Thanks for the great review. Bheiy @Paranormal Romance Young Adult Book Review


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