I am not quite sure how to classify this story. Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan is not a full-length novel but it definitely a good read.
It’s prom season and promposals are abound at Sam’s high school, but Sam wants nothing to do with it.
Sam has had a thing for her best friend Tash since they first met and Sam doesn’t feel that she can give Tash the prom she deserves. Sam imagines herself in a taffeta creation and blanches next to Tash’s sophisticated elegance.
Then, one day, Sam see a suit in a window at the mall and her dreams of prom change. She hopes that the suit will give her the courage to be who she truly is and break out of her shell so she can ask Tash to prom, and give her the prom she deserves.
This short novella follows Sam as she takes a job at a tuxedo rental shop and works off the cost of a suit and alterations in the hopes of achieving one glorious night.
I was drawn to this novella because Sam sounded like me immediately. I can’t say that I had someone I was pinning to go to prom with–in fact I almost didn’t go to my prom until my friend Maria told me that she wasn’t going to let me miss it–but I never saw the hoopla that prom gets.
Sam’s world is full of “promposals,” which always sounded a little ridiculous to me and her reaction to some of the prom dresses at the mall made me laugh a little. I get the feeling Sam and I would have been friends in high school.
Take for example this quote from Chapter 2:
The dresses in front of her weren’t overtly feminine, they were downright tarty, with necklines that plunged so low she was sure girls would be expelled for wearing them, and slits that ran up high enough to let the whole school know your underwear preferences.
Despite Sam’s dislike of all things prom, this is a really fluffy novella. I enjoyed reading this and I think it was a really beautiful story.
Sullivan gives Sam a great voice. I loved some of her quips and her disbelief at some of the behavior she encounters working at the tuxedo rental shop.
As the story progressed, I found myself asking one very important question: “What are the ‘other hazards’ this title alludes to?”
As I read the last chapter it seemed pretty clear that the only potential hazard in Sam’s life was prom! I never saw another hazard in Sam’s life that she was dreading.
Somewhere in the back of the mind I started to wonder what the characters were like outside of prom season.
That led me to wanting to learn more about Sam. While I loved the happy ending I walked away from this feeling like we had just scratched the surface and that there was more to tell.
I wanted to know more about Sam’s life at home. I was also dying to know about Sam’s mom and what she thought of this scenario. It seemed like Sam made a lot of unilateral decisions throughout this novella and I was starting to wonder if she had a home at all.
I also wanted to see Sam at school a little more to see the environment she lived in. I wanted to see her interact with characters other than Tash as well.
I wanted to know about their plans for the future, where they going to college? I wanted to know what classes were like for them. I wanted little details like the exact title of “their song.”
The absence of these small details took away from the larger picture for me. While I still walked away liking the story as a whole I felt like there was something much meatier and a missed opportunity for this story to be fleshed out.
One of the characters I didn’t get enough of is Kieran. I thought that Kieran could have been more of a presence since he seemed to be the linch pin that kept Sam on track for the entire story.
I think there was time to develop a relationship between them. Which we didn’t get.
The shop itself didn’t seem like a believable environment for prom season. A mall with two employees to deal with a bunch of teenagers? Maybe if there was a more detailed setting to work off of, but the way Kieran made it sound they would be swamped in the weeks before prom.
All in all, it was an enjoyable short read but I was left feeling like an opportunity was missed to flesh this out and make this a meatier story. Sam and Tash seem like great characters but all their problems seem to be wrapped up at the end of the book.
While I am a sucker for a happy ending, life doesn’t end with prom and this novella left me wanting more.
FINAL RATING: 3 Stars
This novella is part of LT3 Press’s Peacock Collection. A series of stand-alone novellas about suits.