A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is some fantasy violence and swearing here, as well as many references to things commercial and sexual, though nothing graphic. Maggie is both a funny and brave hero. She has a sarcastic wit when dealing with demons, bullies, and her own fears, and a way of comparing high school with Hell that provides much of the book's humor. This is pretty fluffy fare, but good fun.
What's the story?
Nerd outcast Stanley Dozer appears to be wreaking supernatural revenge on the bullies who humiliated him, and it's up to Maggie, a sardonic yearbook photographer who has a touch of the Sight, to figure out what's happening and stop it. Even if that means she has to do the one thing she really doesn't want to do: face down the center of Evil in high-school -- the prom.
Is it any good?
Cross Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Ghostbusters, and you'll have a good sense of the tone and fun of PROM DATES FROM HELL. Fans of those movies will enjoy the many references to them scattered throughout the book. Maggie has many of Buffy's characteristics: a reluctant talent with the supernatural; a sarcastic wit when dealing with demons, bullies, and her own fears; and a way of comparing high school with Hell that provides much of the book's humor.
In the second half, the story turns darker, as the action and horror move toward their climax at the prom, and the humor gives way to suspense. Not all of the plotting makes complete sense, but it's all in good fun, and Maggie's sardonic voice keeps it light and entertaining. As with Buffy and Ghostbusters, it's best not to scrutinize the details -- just sit back and enjoy the wacky ride.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of fantasy right now. Why are teens taking to titles like Twilight that feature vampires, etc.? What is fun about these stories? Why do they make for good coming-of-age stories?
Talk about scary books and movies. What's fun about being scared?
For kids who love being scared
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.