Review: Karate Prom by Kyle Starks

Karate Prom by Kyle Starks

Karate Prom
Kyle Starks
First Second
Published May 7, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Karate Prom

Don “TheDragonWilson” Jones is the finest fighter Benjamin Harrison High School has ever produced. But when he enters the ring against Lincoln High’s Sam Steadman, it’s love at first knockout.

Unfortunately, Sam has a jerky ex-boyfriend…and Don has a seriously terrifying ex-girlfriend. Like, “global crime cartel” terrifying. From prom to the after-party to graduation, Don and Sam―and an increasingly eclectic cast of supporting oddballs―will have to fight their way through a gauntlet of opponents, all in the name of love (and punching). Did we mention the punching?

Karate Prom on Goodreads

My Review

This goofy graphic novel packs a punch of pure silliness. The story follows Don and Sam from their first encounter at a martial arts tournament to prom, an after-party, and graduation, at which wilder and wilder events unfold.

The romance between the two stays sweet and absolutely adorable, a perfect contrast to the posturing, bullying, and fist-flying of other characters and scenes. Though there’s a lot of martial arts-style combat, the illustrations stay cartoonish, showing reddened skin after a hit connects, and blue shadows for bruises.

Though the story doesn’t center around a moral value, the ending does impart a positive lesson about teamwork and working together to fight even in the face of overwhelming odds. This is a joyful, hilarious summer read perfect for fans of martial arts and classic high school moments.

Karate Prom on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Don is Black. One minor character doesn’t speak. Cast includes additional BIPOC characters.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Cartoon violence. Many scenes show fighting between characters.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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