A cute and funny, young-adult romantic comedy
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: March 13, 2007
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Nicolette Antonovich bought the prom dress of her dreams toward the end of her sophomore year when one of the cutest guys in school, Rod “Rascal” Pasqual, asked her to the prom. But her ecstasy turned to agony two days before the big event when Rascal suddenly dumped her and took his ex-girlfriend instead. Nic still cringes at the memory of that humiliating fiasco, but none of those painful emotions have affected her appreciation for her wonderful prom dress. She finds comfort and reassurance in secretly trying on the pink vintage gown, which does wonders for her slight, athletic figure, making her feel lovely and desirable–in spite of her terrible luck with boys.
As it turns out, it’s fortunate Nic has something in her life that is comforting, because the problems she’s facing her junior year are far worse than even the prom debacle of the previous spring. Her mother is struggling to make money as a real estate agent and the bank is about to foreclose on Nic’s childhood home. Her uncaring father is too involved with his two-year-old “replacement” daughter in his new marriage to be concerned with Nic and her mom. Scandalous rumors about Nic are circulating around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team and ruin her chances for a sports scholarship for college. She’s finding it hard to resist the flirting of the jerk who dumped her. And though her best friend’s older brother may be the biggest hunk at her school, he’s nothing but a thorn in Nic’s side, constantly giving her unsolicited advice.
Nic is an adorable heroine, feisty and determined and just plain cute. The way she tries to help her mother is admirable, and her struggles with her feelings of jealousy and abandonment due to her father’s divorcing her mother and starting a new family are movingly portrayed. I also found the juxtaposition of Nic’s assertiveness and strong athletic talent with the conventional femininity of her love of a frilly prom dress a fascinating contrast. And her frustrating encounters with her two gorgeous romantic interests are laugh-out-loud funny.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves chick lit or romantic comedy. Tina Ferraro is fantastic at writing it, both in this book and her two other wonderful romantic comedies, How to Hook a Hottie and The ABC’s of Kissing Boys.
Fantasy World-Building: 5
Romantic-Comedy Plot: 5