Prom Dates from Hell

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Prom Dates from Hell Book Poster Image
Humorous high school horror; some edgy material.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This is pretty fluffy fare, but it IS a book. Inspired parents may want to use our "Families Can Talk About" section to get their kids thinking more deeply about the horror and fantasy genres of books. 

Positive Messages

High school and Hell may have a lot in common, but you have to keep fighting off the demons -- even when they scare you. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maggie is both funny and brave. 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. 

Violence

There is a lot of fantasy violence, including many severe and bloody injuries, both in real life and in dreams. Violence includes burning, tearing, and biting by dogs; breaking bones, etc. Also, it is implied that one of the characters was date-raped in the past.

Sex

Mentions of wild sex, going all the way, lesbians, getting into a girl's pants, kissing.

Language

"A--hole," "a--wipe," "bitch," "s--t."

Consumerism

Mentions of Chiclets, Coke, Starbucks, Converse, Prada, Ding Dongs, Twinkies.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to smoking, binge drinking. Minor teen characters smoke pot, drink, and get drunk.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 7, and 13 year old Written byTBF June 13, 2009

good

my son jason loved it
Teen, 14 years old Written by81621 May 30, 2012
Teen, 13 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Had me in hysterics!

This short little novel is a refreshing break from your normal fantasy titles. Maggie's humor and wit with the circumstances around her of high school and... Continue reading

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?

Book details

For kids who love being scared

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate