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Promposal by Rhonda Helms • Magan Reviews

Promposal Book Review by Rhonda Helms

Promposal by Rhonda Helms [twitter • website]
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 224
Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: promposal, public displays of affection, LGBT, Dive Into Diversity
Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!)

Summary: When best friends Camilla and Joshua find themselves in less-than-ideal situations for prom, one of them going with someone she doesn’t want to date and the other lusting after his male best friend who wants to ask someone else to prom, their usual gleeful attitudes become quite glum and they don’t know how to turn things around for themselves.

• • •

In case you’re unfamiliar, a promposal is an often public proposal, in which one person asks another to the prom, eliciting joy or mortification. (Definition was copied from the Goodreads summary.)

Here’s a really sweet example to get you acquainted with the idea:

I’m going to make this a Why in 5 review to keep things short and sweet because I know you’ll get carried away watching more promposals after seeing the one above…

  1. Camilla has a massive crush on a boy named Benjamin. While they’ve spoken very little, she hopes that he’ll pick up on her crush-vibes and ask her to Prom. That isn’t exactly how things pan out; she’s asked to prom on live television by a guy she barely knows. How does she turn him down in order to seek out Benjamin’s potential offer? The answer: she can’t because she refuses to publicly humiliate someone. Camilla is a sweet, smart girl who finds herself in a sucky situation. It’s her senior prom and she’s going with someone that’s annoying the crap out of her. She’s got a huge heart and is so, so kind.
  2. Her best friend, Joshua, is by her side offering his best advice throughout her whole ordeal, but he gets a bit sidelined by his own drama. He’s gay and his second best friend, Ethan, has been his crush for years. Ethan is also gay, but seeks Joshua’s help asking another guy to prom. This entails brainstorming ideas and Joshua trying to disguise all his hurt because he wishes he could be honest with Ethan about his feelings.
  3. Camilla and Joshua’s situations aren’t enviable, but they’re handled really maturely and respectfully. A promposal, to me, is a little silly and I think in many regards it’s unnecessary. But it’s a thing now and I kind of had to get past my adult notions to embrace the concept. Helms did a great job including a current trend and not allowing it to feel extremely cliche and silly. I came to admire Camilla and Joshua as they grew to understand that the only way out of both circumstances was to either suck it up and be a loyal friend or to speak up and be honest. I really appreciated that Helms presented the idea of a Promposal as something a person might not be expecting and how it might feel to be on the receiving end of that; I’d never even considered this before.
  4. Promposal reads easily and was a quick, enjoyable book. The story is about two genuine, innocent characters who want things to finally work out for them. My one issue is that maybe sometimes Camilla and Joshua seemed a bit younger than they were, as in the language didn’t always match the mindset. (But I have to remind myself that I was that naive, happy-go-lucky senior so maybe I’m seeing the characters through my adult microscope.)
  5. The chapters alternate between Camilla and Joshua’s perspectives and neither story outweighs the other. This is a really well-balanced Dive Into Diversity book; we’re given an inside look into Joshua’s divorced family and how his Dad supports his sexuality and nudges him to make a few decisions regarding Ethan. (No, I’m not telling you what happens. 😉

• • •

Dive into Diversity Reading Challengerather be reading worth it iconAdd PROMPOSAL to GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

March 11, 2015 - 11:15 am

Magan - Alexa, it sounds like even within the US Promposals are a completely different thing. I’d NEVER heard of them when I was in high school, but other commenters said they had them around that time. So interesting how it’s all spread out!

March 3, 2015 - 1:46 pm

Alexa S. - Promposal sounds like a super cute read! In the Philippines, going to prom is an entirely different experience; I can’t imagine anyone making promposals a big deal over there. But I am curious to see how this story plays out for both these characters. If it’s wrong to root for their happy ending, then I don’t want to be right!

February 23, 2015 - 11:22 am

Magan - Brianna, major props for originality! The idea you had was super cute. And I’m just gonna say it: That guy was a jerk for not even acknowledging your promposal. 🙁 Errr. I’m so erked right now.

February 23, 2015 - 11:21 am

Magan - Leah, I don’t even know! The promposal wasn’t a thing at my high school either. (Though, admittedly, mine was very, very small.) I think I would have been super embarrassed too. In retrospect, I’m so glad that when my husband proposed, it was just him and me. Not a huge, dramatic moment.

February 23, 2015 - 11:20 am

Magan - Jen, have you received a big Promposal? I hope you have SO MUCH FUN at your prom! Share photos! xo

February 23, 2015 - 11:19 am

Magan - Emma, you’re so welcome! It was a really interesting read. I felt SO wary in the beginning because I didn’t expect it to capture my attention in the way that it did.

February 18, 2015 - 4:21 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - This sounds like a really sweet book with a lot of appeal. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

February 18, 2015 - 2:43 pm

Jen @ Books and Other Happy Ever Afters - I read this one very recently too and I thought it was such a cute and fun read! I myself am a senior in high school so I hope my own prom works out well. Lovely review! I agree with a lot of your thoughts; Camilla was seriously sweet and the Joshua’s crush couldn’t be cuter.

February 18, 2015 - 2:22 pm

Leah - Ooh, I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this!! When did these promposals become a thing? I graduated high school in 2006 and, at least in my area, no one did anything crazy elaborate! On the one hand, it can be really adorable (and VERY impressive when you think about how much thought and effort goes into them)…but on the other, I get secondhand embarrassment REALLY bad. REALLY bad.. Whenever a video of one goes viral (and marriage proposals too) I run away. I’m also the type of person where, if someone had pulled off some gigantic event to ask me to prom, I would have felt obligated to say yes. So I’m with Camilla there.
That said, this really does sound adorable (& yay for diversity!!)

February 18, 2015 - 10:40 am

Brianna - When I was in high school (1996-2000), asking people to dances in unique ways was all the rage, whether it was prom or otherwise. I asked a guy I liked to Sadie Hawkins using a box of Lucky Charms – he had to return one kind of marshmallow for yes, another kind for no, or the cereal if he was going with someone else. We won’t talk about how he didn’t respond. At all. Ever.

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