How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

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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I really enjoyed this book, but I think if could have benefitted from going a little deeper into the characters backgrounds. Besides this oversight, this is a really fun easy read that I would not hesitate to recommend to any of my students.
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I can't really put my finger on why, but the writing style just didn't capture me in the way I hoped it would. My expectations might be high, though, coming off Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Red, White and Royally Blue..
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I am torn on this book. The relationship between Nolan and Bern was amazing. I was completely entranced. And even though parts were predictable it was a happy feel good read that I devoured. And the other characters were complex and interesting too! 

But, there was so much left to be explored. Things wrapped up too quickly. In fact, if the story hadn't been so cute I wouldn't have given it 4 stars considering how much more I wanted from it. But please keep telling these stories S.J. Goslee. Just write more of it next time.
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I loved this book! The full review will be posted soon at! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to connect books to their readers!
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