How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

This is a cute book, but I expected more from Goslee. Her debut was so funny and unique and this just reads as a generic "quirky" romance. I appreciate her doing something different and I'm always down for m/m romantic comedies, I just think my expectations were a little high and I perhaps thought this would be a different product then what it was. I still enjoyed myself and would recommend to others, but I personally just found it...okay.
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I'm always game to read a YA book with LGBTQ characters! How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom is a very sweet story (pretty much the title!) with some fun tropes, hilarious lines, fake dating, and a lively cast. Recommend!
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Based on her two novels, S. J. Goslee writes stories about clueless teenage boys who eventually get their s**t together, but not without some fails along the way. If that’s the sort of thing you like, you should definitely give this book a read.

The hapless hero is Nolan, who just wants to get through the rest of his junior year with the help of his best friend Evie and his adoptive sister Daphne. He’s got them, his job, and his art, and that’s all he needs. What Nolan emphatically doesn’t need is a boyfriend, but when Daphne disagrees, she pushes him into making an awkward promposal to his secret crush. Nolan is saved from dying from embarrassment when another guy, Bern, comes to his rescue by pretending he’s the one that Nolan is asking to prom. Bern’s just been dumped his long-time girlfriend, and he’s looking to make it clear that he’s moved on. So, he and Nolan agree to fake date until after prom. But, you know, it’s sometimes difficult to draw a line between fake relationships and real emotions . . . 

As the reader, it’s easy to say that Nolan should realize that he and Bern could have something real, but Nolan’s got his reasons for being wary. The author doesn’t delve too deeply into his background, but Nolan was in the foster system before being adopted by his new family as a teen. While they are wonderful and clearly love him, Nolan’s baggage makes it difficult for him to trust other people. Add to that the fact that he’s been a target for bullying at school, and it’s not surprising that he would be defensive about letting people in, to the point that others think he’s kind of a jerk (not the actual word used in the book). The story is really about Nolan learning to be more open, to share his feelings and to accept that people might like him. Well, that, plus the feels between him and Bern.

So, in addition to Nolan finally getting a clue, what else did I love about this book? Bern seems like he might be a jerk at first but turns out to be an absolute sweetheart. Nolan’s family, their friends, and the other characters are quirky and fun, maybe especially Daphne. And the story is funny! Maybe Goslee and I just have a similar sense of humor, but I’m pretty sure I read the entire thing with a smile on my face.

I think this is a great novel, and I highly recommend it. It’s positively a must-read for Goslee’s fans.

A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
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It took me a bit to really get into the characters in this story, but once I did I loved every moment of it! I LOVE the fake-dating trope (even if it usually follows the same pattern) and I hadn't seen it done with a gay main character so I was very excited to read this when I read the synopsis! I definitely loved the love interest, Bern, and loved so many of the side characters! I have to say that at the beginning I really disliked Daphne and how nosy she was, but as the story progressed she kind of grew on me. I have to say that I definitely had some issues with the main conflict towards the end of the story because it felt kind of poorly done and unreasonable, but when it was resolved I really enjoyed the end (even if I wanted more)! 

The main character was very clueless at times and I wanted to scream HE LIKES YOU to him but he was still very sweet and it was refreshing to have him and his own struggles as the focus of the story. I really loved their romance and how it built up, it felt pretty believable and sweet. I think that if you want a funny book to breeze through you should definitely pick this up! It was a very enjoyable read and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves a cute contemporary!
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This book was so freaking cute and charming that I didn't want it to end. I loved pretty much everything about it except how frustrating the characters were when they wouldn't just TELL EACH OTHER WHAT THEY WERE FEELING! (But I suppose that's the authentic thing to expect from teenagers or, well, pretty much anyone...) I hope there's a sequel!
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Rating: 4.5 Stars

I felt the same way after finishing this book as I did when I finished Goslee's debut, Whatever - extremely happy. 

Once again, Goslee crafted a fabulous male protagonist, who I fell in insta-love with. Nolan, who was lucky enough to be adopted as a teen by the hilarious and lovable Sheffield family, loved art, his cat, plants, narwals, his family, and keeping out of the spotlight. But, his sister, Daphne, had other plans for him. When she staged a promposal for him, which went sideways, Nolan comes to an agreement with Bern, and they embark on a fantastic fauxmance. 

I am always game for a fauxmance-romance, and this one had all the elements, which make this trope so deliciously delightful. We had the mini-makeover, the awkward introduction to friends and family, as well the staged closeness needed to sell it to the general public. But, we also had all those feelings that never fail to surface during any fake-dating stories. I must admit, I was excited every time there was any sort of romantic stirring, heightened emotion, or cute banter between Bern and Nolan, because, gosh darn it! I really liked them together. 

In addition to the romance, the book featured a fantastic supporting cast. As I previously mentioned, Nolan's family was stupendous! I loved all the competitive gaming, the movie nights, the waffles, and just the genuine love and affection that permeated their home. I think I suffered from the warm-fuzzies every time I was in their presence, and that's a feeling I always want to experience. 

I also loved seeing Nolan grow. This fauxmance was great for him, because it pushed him out of his comfort zone and forced him to branch out. As he widened his circle of friends, he learned a lot about himself, and was definitely better for having fake-dated Bern. 

This was a hilarious and heartwarming story of friendship, family, and fake dating which kept me in stitches and grinning from ear to ear.
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This is the story of how not to ask a boy to prom. Especially how not to ask a boy you'd never dream of asking to prom to go to prom with you. Especially how not to ask a boy you'd never dream of asking to prom to go to prom with you when you weren't even planning on going to prom in the first place.

Nolan Grant Sheffield (Two last names, no hyphen) is a pretty laid back, chill guy. Loves art, narwhals, plants, his cat, his adopted family, his best friend Evie. He's still dealing a bit with having been in foster care as well as being openly gay, but he's got everyone he needs and he likes to take life easy.

Then his sister, Daphne: 1: is dumped by her boyfriend, 2: decides that if she can't be happy and go to prom with a guy, then her baby bro sure is.

Thus how Nolan gets thrust headfirst into asking out a boy to prom. But when his sister's planned "prom-posal" goes wrong, Nolan is saved from humiliation by the least likely person: bad boy Bern, with his tattoos, his motorcycle, and a chip on his shoulder following his break-up. Now, Nolan and Bern are fake-dating. What could possibly go wrong?

A cute, queer fake-dating novel for those who loved "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" and "What If It's Us?".
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If ever there was a book that the word "cute" could be used to describe it, it's this one. I enjoyed the characters...The main group are really distinctive and fun. The story has all the classic elements of a "fake dating" plot, but what kept me from giving this more stars is that the miscommunication leading up to the "boy loses boy and gets boy back" portion of the story was incredibly weak and forced, and was easily avoidable. The suspension of disbelief the author was asking us to allow was too big a leap. It also didn't help that the  potential third party in the main triangle never felt like a potential foil, since nothing major ever happened between our protagonist and Si. I think if the book were a little longer, the author could have set up a bigger, better payoff. But as is, the story is fine.
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Man. This book had so much potential. Lets start with the things I liked about How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom.
I love teenage, highschool, lgbt romances. They are usually just so cute and fun, and this was no exception. I liked the two MCs, even though Nolan could be a jerk. He comes to realize this, which makes me like him more.
There’s also the fake dating troupe, which I find fun. You know they’re going to end up liking one another, and I loved hearing the past between Nolan and Bren. SUPER CUTE!
Lastly, I love stories where the siblings are close, and Nolan and Daphne are very close. Nolan was adopted into a loving family, and that’s something I haven’t seen much of. I loved seeing that represented!
Now for what didn’t work so well for me. I felt like the plot kind of drug on at times. Almost like there was no plot? There were just days and days of his life? That’s okay for some people, but I was left thinking ‘where is this going?’
Overall this was a cute story. I loved the ending and the fake dating troupe. I would recommend this book even though the plot kind of drug on. 3.5 stars overall.
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The quickest way to get me into a new book is the promise of a sweet romance featuring LGBT characters. Add in some fun tropes, and I'm definitely in. How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom is a solid read, especially for those looking to avoid tragedy or heartbreak in their queer books.
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I really enjoyed Goslee's Whatever, and wasn't disappointed in looking forward to her new work! That light humor, a cast of wise-cracking, pop off the page characters, AND fake dating? Sign me up. My only complaint was that it went by too quickly - not just as a cliche, "I want to live in this world forever" type of this, but because I think a bit more material would have smoothed a few rough edges. I enjoyed how the narrative challenged Nolan's view of himself and his relationships, but I think a bit more would have helped make it clear that his attempts to make amends weren't just perfunctory, and to remind the reader why they were rooting for him in the first place. (The conversation with Daphne suffered a bit of the same thing - for something so major, it went by quite fast and I didn't quite feel that they said - or clearly articulated - everything that needed to be said.) Not delving significantly into Nolan's background was also a writing choice that I questioned - when I got to the end of the book without more information, it felt a little bit like I had missed a previous book or at least a major scene. But a very enjoyable YA contemporary overall, funny and with great writing.
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This was SO close to being a 5 star book. It was cute and funny, and had a gay main character with supportive parents. It wasn't an issue book; it was just a cute high school romance.
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Even though the title suggests otherwise, there isn't this huge lead up to prom. This is a story about an artsy, adopted gay male teen that has two best friends and one of those friends is his sister. The main theme is LGBTQ, not adoption. The fact that Nolan Grant is adopted is purely background and only really highlighted when the character says phrases such as "your dad" to his sister and calls his adoptive parents by their first names. His struggle with his openly gay crush leads him to being pushed in another direction previously unknown to him. Goslee includes typical scenes of teenage drinking but adds quirky tidbits such as math songs being sung at a party. The side characters aren't fully developed but do add to the story. Readable, quirky, and cute.
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I had already read S.J. Goselee's Whatever; Or How Junior Year Got Totally F*cked and I was hooked. Her style is just so funny! So when I heard she has another book coming out, I jumped at the chance. All the humor from her first book is just as strong. I loved Nolan and I really loved that he was a foster kid brought into a family that loved him unapologetic-ally. While I would have liked a little bit more background (in general. Background on Nolan's life pre adoption, the supposed incident between him and Bern that he clearly misunderstood and some of the friend dynamics of his sister) this was a enjoyable read. Especially because it involves FAKE DATING.
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Funny, frustrating story was funnily frustrating.

This book had a lot of humor, but read almost like some sort of "stream of consciousness" story, where the MC, Nolan (aka "Grant") just stumbled aimlessly through his days, with the reader playing witness to his odd, awkward, artistic nerdiness.

And while a lot of the situations had me smiling, I also found myself thinking, "OMG, *where* is this story going, and *when* is it going to gain some focus and actually *get* there?"

The frustration for me arose mainly from neither MC actually showing their emotional poker hand, not divulging any actual feelings -- even to themselves (or the reader) -- until the very last few freaking chapters.

Honestly, there were very few clues as to whether previously-straight Bern was still attempting to get back with his ex-girlfriend, Gia, and only using Nolan's prom-posal as a vehicle to make her jealous.

And Nolan kept waffling between having attractions for both Bern and Si, taking an extremely long time before even letting himself ponder his true feelings.

This uncertainty made me C-R-A-Z-Y.

Even with only a few chapters remaining, I couldn't decide if even *I* wanted the MC's to get together, or for Bern to go back to Gia, and Si to confess his feelings for Nolan.

Shouldn't I have been rooting for the *main* MC's by this point? Spoiler: The answer is *YES*.

Très confusing. And I found that lack of clarity of feelings pretty annoying. :- /

Was it quirky and did it make me laugh? Yes.

Was it full of feels and romance? Ehhh.

Did it just sort of meander along, instead of feeling like the story was working its way to a pre-determined, inevitable conclusion, taking anything other than even a semi-direct path? Oh, hell yeah.

So this 3.5 star book *kinda* worked for me (eccentric humor), but also *kinda* didn't (loosely-defined, low-feels romance).
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This is a super cute fake-dating rom-com for the LGBT crowd, which doesn't usually get representation with that trope. 

Nolan is gay and perpetually single, and according to loving-but-slightly-overbearing sister older Daphne, that is a problem. So she makes a decision for him. He can ask out specific one guy to prom, or a different specific one (the one he has a crush on). Because he realizes he has no choice, because Daphne will keep harping on him, he tries to ask the guy he likes. But messes up big time. Instead, Bern accepts in Nolan's crush's place. But soon Nolan realizes that Bern has done this on purpose and the cute fake dating trope ensues! 

Honestly, this book is a quick read, it's cute, and it's a feel-good story. We can always do with more LGBT representation in YA lit (or any lit), and basically this book made me feel that "I'm just happy to be here" way. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
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How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom was a fantastic rom-com. I absolutely loved Nolan and how weird he is. He was a complex character with fears, things to learn about himself, and a love for plants.  I loved the peek into foster care and adoption. The characterization was fantastic and the side characters were some of my favorites in the novel. 

I really liked that he was confident in who he was. Yeah, he was lamenting his forever single and unkissed self, but he wasn't lamenting the fact that he's gay. We need books where the characters are unsure or questioning but we need just as many books where they're confident in their sexuality and who they are. Nolan needed to go grow as a person and stop being such a jerk, not question his sexuality or grow in that aspect. We get some confident queer characters on page and I loved it. Also, Bern is bi or something in that part of the spectrum and I love it. We need more bi men in books. There's also a happy lesbian couple in the book and that was just icing on the cake for me. 

Not to mention gay fake dating. I think that sells the book in and of itself. The only thing that didn't get resolved was such a minor thing that didn't really matter, but strangely mattered a whole lot to me. 

Everyone needs to pick up this book in spring of 2019 or I will forcefully start shoving it into the hands of other people
.*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
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Review copy courtesy of NetGalley.

In the vein of "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" but with a Becky Albertalli twist, the fake relationship is between an openly gay boy and a bi (?) guy who wants to make his mean ex-girlfriend jealous. Maybe actual teenagers will follow and buy this romance, but I just couldn't.
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Nolan Grant is a lot of things- artistic, a bit pretentious, and, well, very obtuse. His adopted sister is on the cusp of college and, in a well-intentioned ploy to make sure he doesn't end up sad and alone without her, she spearheads a campaign to have him prompose to the hottest guy in school. After a disastrous promposal, Nolan ends up accidentally fake dating the last person he would have expected to falsify a romance with another dude.

Life is weird, man.

This book was a delight. It was lighthearted and fun without being cloyingly sweet. It was the perfect holiday read.
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I didn't expect to love this as much as I did (clearly I am a fool). The story basically takes some of the best parts of the faking dating trope as a checklist, and executes it in a way that still feels fun and relevant to the cast of characters. Admittedly, I am biased because I came into the story already loving this type of plot.

I adore how weird Nolan's family is, while also remaining the most loving (Daphne hits me in all the big-sister spots). And the relationship (friendship, fake dating, or otherwise) between Nolan and Bern is not perfect and wonderful. I would love to get this story from Bern's point-of-view, including all of the backstory before we get to the start of this book.
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