Cover Image: Prom Mom

Prom Mom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Prom Mom was quite a story. Every year I am amazed at what Laura Lippman comes up with. This was slow to start but picks up and when it does you can't put it down. The twist at the end blew me away.

Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for my ARC!
Was this review helpful?
This nasty rip-roarer of a novel is a riot and manages the immensely difficult task of maintaining a slow burn while keeping the pages turning. It manages to be timely and timeless at the same time while using the pandemic thematically and to drive the plot. The characters feel lived in and their mistakes feel rooted in reality and humanity. There are no heroes or villains, just people.
Was this review helpful?
A very different novel from Laura Lippmann.  In 1997, sixteen year old Amber went to her Baltimore prom and delivered her secret baby in the hotel bathroom. Her date, Joe, was unaware. The child didn't survive. A scandal was born with Prom Mom and Cad Dad.
   Twenty-two years later, Joe is happily married to plastic surgeon Meredith with a lover on the side. Amber, now a resident of New Orleans, returns home to settle her step dad's estate.  Will her new art gallery attract Joe as a shopper?
   In flashbacks and a covid pandemic 2020, Lippmann entwines the lives of Joe and his three ladies to a slow burn conclusion leading to juicy vengeance.
   I enjoyed the New Orleans references and the COVID-19 angst throughout Prom Mom. However, the set up took too long before a not too satisfying conclusion.
   Lippmann's Baltimore crime novels are much stronger.
Was this review helpful?
Amber Glass has tried to put as much distance between her past as possible.  She fears she will be forever know as the Prom Mom that killed her baby the night of the senior prom.  Her date, Joe Simpson, abandoned her that evening.  When Amber returns to Baltimore, her hometown, she is hoping for a second chance and to stay far away from Joe.  Unfortunately that isn't possible.  The momentum builds in this book as a game of cat and mouse ensues.  This will keep you turning the pages.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, I DNF this. I got about 40% in, and I had no idea what the mystery was supposed to be, and there was no suspense to keep me interested. I normally like this author, but this was very slow for me. It took me a week to read 40% and I typically read a book in about 3 days.
Was this review helpful?
A girl goes to prom and gets sick, wakes up with blood everywhere. The police claim she killed her baby. She claims the baby was already dead. Why hadn’t her date came to check on her? Years pass and this girl returns home, she reconnects with her prom date. Probably not the best idea! This one was just ok!
Was this review helpful?

I'm truly unsure of how many stars to give this book. On the one hand, it is a very good (if slow) thriller; I guess you would call it. It was a very slow read, with a lot of emphasis in the last half of the book on COVID and the politics of the time.

I could not connect with the characters-none of them, but I will say I disliked all of them and was glad most of them got their comeuppance.

The last 10% or so of the book had me a bit confused. Who really did it? I wasn't sure that I could really believe anything that came out of Meridith's mouth. I would have loved a little more in-depth ending.

I'd love to give this a 2.5 rating, but when all know, we can't do that here!

*ARC was supplied by the publisher William Morrow, the author, and NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
A teen is charged for killing her baby at prom. Years later she encounters her prom date, who abandoned her that night, and a relationship ensues. The premise of this was unique and the ending well-executed.
Was this review helpful?
It was the book I never knew I needed so bad in my life until it popped up on my feed … 

I am a sucker for anything Laura Lippman, I mean let’s be real, I think we all are . 

I read Wilde Lake, years ago and it still haunts me . That book threw my world off kilter and had me sleeping with the light on for months . I loved it ! That’s the exact books I love to read ! I want my world shaken up, I want to be scared! Make me check under the bed before hopping in!

Prom Mom 

Aren’t the scariest topics the ones that are most realistic? This book is chilling . 

This is an unforgettable read that will have you second guessing every last thought that crosses your mind . Lippman does an incredible job narrating the story to make you feel as though it is playing out right before your eyes. The characters are multi dimensional and extremely real with real emotions, The ending completely consumed me and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same

This is a book you do not want to miss

Teaser : 

New York Times bestseller Laura Lippman tells the story of Amber Glass, desperately trying to get away from her tabloid past but compulsively drawn back to the city of her youth and the prom date who destroyed everything she was reaching for.  

Amber Glass has spent her entire adult life putting as much distance as possible between her and her hometown of Baltimore, where she fears she will forever be known as “Prom Mom”—the girl who allegedly killed her baby on the night of the prom after her date, Joe Simpson, abandoned her to pursue the girl he really liked. But when circumstances bring Amber back to the city, she realizes she can have a second chance—as long as she stays away from Joe, now a successful commercial real estate developer, married to a plastic surgeon, Meredith, to whom he is devoted. 

The problem is, Amber can’t stay away from Joe. And Joe finds that it’s increasingly hard for him to ignore Amber, if only because she remembers the boy he was and the man he said he was going to be. Against the surreal backdrop of 2020 and early 2021, the two are slowly drawn to each other and eventually cross the line they’ve been trying not to cross.
Was this review helpful?
Amber Glass is a woman trying to escape her past as the notorious "Prom Mom", a term given to her when she gave birth on the night of her prom and the baby was later found dead.  Joe is the golden boy who took her to prom, the father of her child and the boy she's always been obsessed with.  When her life takes her back to her hometown she and Joe reconnect, and with the shutdown of the pandemic they get even closer.  Is he really the golden boy he always seemed or is he an opportunist that always has to get his own way?  I loved this book for it's gradual tension and a final twist that the reader won't see coming.
Was this review helpful?
Laura Lippman is an author that I recently discovered I really like.  She has pretty much become a "must read" writer for me, which fills me with such joy because they are rare gems indeed.  I glanced over the synopsis for her latest book, Prom Mom, once before picking it up, but did not refresh my memory before reading it - this is something I never do!  I basically went into this book blind, and allowed Lippman to lead me down an ominous path of young love with deadly consequences.

Prom Mom was inspired by ripped from the headlines stories of teenage girls secretly giving birth at prom and disposing of their babies.  Lippman's novel follows one such "prom mom," as well as the "cad dad," 20+ years after their prom turned ghastly.  Amber Glass gave birth on a hotel bathroom floor on the night of prom and has no memory of what happened.  She only has the evidence - a newborn baby lying dead beside her.  Her date, the dreamy Joe Simpson, abandoned her at the prom in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, and Amber was left solely paying for the crime.

Years later, after Amber has done time and Joe has moved on, effectively forgetting the events of that night, these two former lovers' paths cross again.  Joe is now a very successful real estate developer married to a prominent plastic surgeon, when he stumbles back into Amber's life.  Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and general life dissatisfaction, something sparks again between Amber and Joe, but just how will things end up this time?

Prom Mom is the slowest of slow burns ... however, that is not a bad thing.  Lippman allows you to linger in Joe and Amber's lives, giving you the time and space to breathe them in and get to know them on a more intimate level.  The plot and character development in this book ever so slowly builds until the very end of the book when everything comes together at a breakneck pace.  The pay-off is good, but the journey to the end is even better.  

On another note, if you love rich settings, Lippman pays sweet tribute to New Orleans throughout this book.  Having lived in New Orleans for a time, Lippman shows her appreciation of the city that she called home for a time in this novel, which actually does not take place in Louisiana, but features two characters from there.  While the New Orleans love may be overkill for some, I quite enjoyed it being from the greater NOLA area myself.
Was this review helpful?
For the first few chapters, I thought this would turn out to be some version of a bunny-boiler story, but I should have known better. Lippman has made a career of being unpredictable. She leads you along the path to complacency and then suddenly shoves you off a narrative cliff. I learned some time ago to buckle up before I started one of her books.

A guy getting a girl pregnant when they’re both still in high school is the sort of unplanned, completely unexpected event that has the potential to derail their whole lives. And that’s pretty much what happened to honor student Amber Glass of Baltimore, back in 1997 -- only it was much worse than merely getting knocked up. She was either very naive, or deep in denial, or perhaps both (it’s never made clear, really) but Amber had her baby very prematurely on the bathroom floor of a hotel room on the night of Joe Simpson’s senior prom. Amber cleaned up the mess, wrapped the (now) dead newborn in a towel, and went home. Joe knew nothing about any of this until the next day, when the cops came to see him. They came for Amber, too, naturally, and she ended up in a juvenile facility until her eighteenth birthday. Everyone decided Joe was the victim, that Amber had kept her pregnancy secret to blackmail him (or something). But Joe isn’t a bad guy and he felt horribly guilty. The only reason they had hooked up in the first place was that his longtime girlfriend had dumped literally hours before the beginning of his senior year and Joe, previously a top student and star athlete, went into a black spiral, complete with plummeting grades. Amber, a languages nerd who had had a crush on Joe forever, was brought in to tutor him in French, and one thing led to another. She hoped her beautiful dress and the inherent romance of prom would open Joe’s eyes, but Joe spent all his time at the dance staring at his ex and her new college boyfriend.

Now it’s 2019, Joe is a successful developer of commercial real estate, and has found and married Meredith from New Orleans, the genuine love of his life. He’s happy, knows how lucky he is, and convinces himself that the fact that he has occasional affairs doesn’t mean he’s not still a Good Person. Amber has had a tougher time of it, but she has changed over the years -- much more than Joe has, actually. After spending a few years in New Orleans (not a coincidence), she has become a shrewd expert in certain categories of very modern art, especially anything created by the incarcerated. She never intended to return to Baltimore -- the tabloids there had stamped her “the Prom Mom,” and she’s afraid people haven’t forgotten it -- but she has to go there on family business and discovers a storefront for rent in her old neighborhood that she thinks would make a perfect gallery. Amber is back. And Joe is going to have to make some adjustments.

Lippman does a lovely job of following these two around, watching Amber consider what to do about Joe -- because she’s even close to being done with him -- and observing Joe’s reactions to her reappearance and the effect it has on his self-image. Meredith is an important charter, too, sort of at right angles to the other two. And if you wonder where all this is going, I will oily say it’s definitely going somewhere, so like I said: Buckle up.
Was this review helpful?
When Amber Glass returns to her home town years after the tragedy on prom night that destroyed her life, she knows she should avoid, Joe. He's the boy she thought loved her, but the date goes horribly wrong. He ditches her for another girl, and leaves her passed out in the bathroom of their hotel room. When she wakes up, she discovers that her baby is dead. She doesn't even realize she'd given birth. 

Now, years later she has come back home, started a business, and thumbs her nose at the people who still judge her.

Amber is a terrific character. Not one that is always likeable, as she makes some decisions and does some things that made me shake my head. She knows she should avoid Joe, but she can't get away from the pull toward him. He's happily married. She should leave him be. But, she is still angry at him for leaving her alone that fateful night. And, she still loves him. In her own words, "How pathetic can that be."

Laura Lippman is one of my favorite mystery authors, and this book is one of the best in recent years. The characters are deftly presented. The dialogue sings. Lippman seamlessly weaves in the pandemic and the consequences that had on people in 2020 and 2o21.

And the conclusion of the story is a stunning surprise. I highly recommend the read.
Was this review helpful?
Prom night didn't turn out the way Amber would have wanted it to turn out.

Instead of partying, Amber was in pain and went to the room her date, Joe, had booked.

The pains were labor pains.   Amber delivered the baby and then ended up killing it....something she didn't remember.

She went to a juvenile detention center, and twenty years later ends back in her hometown of Baltimore that she swore she never wanted to see again.

Amber knew Joe lived there with his wife and didn't plan to see him, but wanted to.

As Amber was getting her art gallery ready for its opening, Joe came into the shop, and it all started over again for her. What about for Joe?

Alternating chapters tell Joe's, Meredith's, and Amber's stories both past and present.

PROM MOM is a slow build up with mostly unlikable characters, especially Joe, and a plot that makes you wonder where this story line is going. 

You will find out....BUT…the background information, the real estate information, and other detailed information dragged for me, and I wasn't interested in it.

All of that took away from the story line for me.

The last ten percent of the book was the most interesting and had a big surprise, but not enough to rate the book higher. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for a a review copy. 

Unfortunately, this did not work for me on almost any level. I could be wrong, but I think this book will be unpopular. It’s way too slow. If you’ve read the synopsis then you’ve read 80% of the book (that’s not an exaggeration). It also tackled some subjects (deceased newborn and COVID) that I think many readers will not want to read about. Overall, almost nothing happens, the characters are unrealistic and unlikeable, and we heard way too much about the economy of COVID-19 for this to be a fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Prom Mom by Laura Lippman is a slow burn in the best possible way. Lippman builds her story by consistently ratcheting up the tension until you absolutely can not put the book down. Nothing is what it seems in this dark story and when I got to the end, I was very surprised. Prom Mom is very character driven and the setting is basically another character, as it is in all her books. I really enjoyed this.
Was this review helpful?
I was looking forward to reading this one because the synopsis sounded intriguing to me. However, I ended up not caring for it. It was very drawn out and honestly it was hard for me to finish. I didn’t connect with the characters and they even annoyed me quite a bit.
Was this review helpful?
I read the blurb and knew I wanted to read this book. There was a darkness hinted at and a long ago tragedy, all draws for me. And there was a tragedy that set two high schoolers on different paths from their original dreams. It seemed like those different paths started something even better for both and that is where this book lost me. All of the main characters were smug and unlikeable, although I liked that they couldn’t see it themselves. It meant that I really wasn’t invested in anyone coming out smelling of roses. 
There was a lot of repetition and the author telling us things through the character. It would have been better to read about Meredith and Joe’s history through past events rather than be told. The ending was a surprise but it felt forced and I didn’t feel that the characters would have it in them. Some darker moments of their character could have been explored earlier without giving anything away.
I loved the New Orleans stuff. I learnt a lot of new things about Marci Gras which was really interesting. Because of that I am giving it one extra star, so four stars from me,
Thanks Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for honest feedback.
I did not like this book. Maybe it's beside the point, but I didn't find the characters believable. The man, Joe, was so badly drawn out that there was no way two smart women would fall in love with him. Amber, the Prom Mom, was a little better. Joe's wife, well, Ms. Lippman had to tell us over and over and over why she loved Joe and stayed with him.  It was very repetitive.
The story takes place in two eras: 1997 and 2019-20 in Baltimore, Md.  The pandemic was starting but according to this book, everyone went out and about willy-nilly.  Joe kept complaining about being stuck at home but he was constantly in his car.  I do not remember that Maryland was so very lax with Covid mask rules.
Reading the story, the reader knows that there is going to be a surprise ending and it wasn't too hard to guess part of it.  By the time, we get to the ending, all one can do is shake one's head and wonder how Ms. Lippman thought she'd get away with it when there was no indication, no hint, that certain characters had other things in mind than the repetitive thoughts we are made privy to throughout the book.
Even for a beach read, this is not recommended by me.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Laura Lippman and I am so glad I have a significant back catalog to read from!  The characters were engaging and the plot could've been eye-rolly or tawdry, but it wasn't.   This is the first book that I've read where the pandemic is the contextual background, but not the actual plot.  (I'm sure there are many more ahead of me.)  It worked for me!  It felt relevant to the general plot and not overdone.  The nods to changes in language and viewpoint brought about by the past few years of social justice movements felt a *little* heavy-handed sometimes, especially when they were extrapolated upon by Meredith and not just part of normal conversation.  But overall, it didn't feel like too cumbersome.  That's honestly how I remember the time, myself - a shifting landscape of language around me.  I wasn't the hugest fan of the ending - I appreciate it more after sitting with it a bit, and I'm not sure what else could've been done, but I still somehow wish things had gone a different way!  Meredith, who I loved throughout, ending up feeling like a true wildcard, in a way that felt abrupt and didn't really work for me.  But none of this detracted from the experience of reading the book, which I really enjoyed.  I like Lippman's writing and am eager to add her to my roster of quick, draw-me-in reads.
Was this review helpful?