About This Book:
Promposals are taking over Deacon Locke’s high school and there is no place left to hide. But even with graduation looming, shy and unusually tall Deacon doesn’t think he can get up the nerve to ask anyone to the dance. Especially given all the theatrics.
It isn’t until Deacon confides in his witty and outgoing best friend Jean that he realizes she could be a great person to take. Only problem is Jean isn’t your typical prom date. She’s older. A lot older. And she’s Deacon’s grandmother.
But when Deacon meets Soraya—a girl unlike any other he’s ever met—he fears he has totally squandered his chances of having a prom he’ll never forget. Deacon couldn’t be more wrong. About everything.
*Review Contributed By Beth Rodgers Staff Reviewer*
Staying True to Yourself
'Deacon Locke Went to Prom' by Brian Katcher was different in many ways from many young adult novels. Even though there are YA novels that have a male protagonist, many of the ones I read and review on a regular basis have a female main character. It was also interesting to see the angst and lack of self-confidence of a teen boy whom others see as good-looking and capable of popularity.
Deacon starts the novel with two friends, both of whom are girls - his eating and studying partner - Kelly - and his grandmother. After his father gets into some skirmishes with the law, Deacon's grandmother Jean takes him in and raises him as her own as he finishes high school. With the end of the year looming and prom getting ever closer, Deacon can't help but notice all of the promposals going around. Other guys are really doing it up big as they ask girls to the dance, and Deacon thinks he can pull something off and ask Kelly, but that gets sidelined when another guy beats him to it. With no one left to ask and a feeling that there is nothing to lose, Deacon decides to ask his grandmother to prom. After all, she never went to her own prom since her future husband was away at war at the time.
This is definitely an interesting premise to start the novel off, and Deacon's lack of self-assurance is definitely noticeable at all times. When Jean finally agrees to go with him, the beginning of Deacon's path to a new him is started. From meeting Soraya, the beautiful dance teacher, to becoming a quasi-celebrity, getting into fights, dealing with a forgetful grandmother, and figuring out how astronomy and college fit into his future, Deacon has his work cut out for him.
There were a couple of plot points in the novel that could have been further developed to lend some clarity and intrigue to the storyline. There seemed to be mention of one of the guy characters seeming attracted to Deacon, but this was always shrugged off. The times when it was mentioned were very subtle, so maybe I was picking up on something that wasn't there, but it seemed to happen more than once, so more on this would have helped bring the novel together more. It would have also been nice to have Deacon's father around for more than memories of what he had been like in the past. Deacon has issues that are clearly the result of his father's lack of guidance in his life, and having Deacon confront this would have been a welcome plot point within the novel.
All in all, 'Deacon Locke Went to Prom' is a great story by Brian Katcher that covers all the themes that YA likes to offer - crushes, love, family relationships, drama, a few twists and turns, and more. A satisfying and enjoyable read.