Review: Prom by Jill S. Zimmerman Rutledge

Prom by Jill S. Zimmerman RutledgeProm
Jill S. Zimmerman Rutledge
Twenty-First Century Books
Published January 1, 2017

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Prom serves as an important tradition for youth in America today. This book explores the history of the social event as well as its evolving trends while giving a spotlight to students and community members who worked hard to create integrated proms which protect and encourage LGBT student participation. Adults reflect on their prom experiences, some dating back to the Great Depression, and share tips and memories for today’s Prom attendees. Current trends like “promposals” and dress registries get a nod as well as some creative prom dress-making challenges and programs to provide dresses for girls who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend the dance.

While the history of Prom contains a lot of fascinating details, the book feels low on other elements. The section containing tips and memories from former attendees is organized so that each responder gets a section. This made the section more personal, but also sort of muddied the information. A clear bulleted list or chapter detailing safety tips, ideas for saving money, or clever ways to make the dance more fun might have made this section more dynamic. Overall, though, it makes a nice overview. This book will probably be most useful to middle school and early high school students who are curious about what they have to look forward to when they have a chance to attend Prom.

Prom on GoodreadsRecommended for Ages 12 to 16.

Cultural Elements
The book discusses battles fought by African American and Caucasian students to have integrated proms.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
The author encourages attendees not to feel sexual pressure on prom night. Other contributors reflect back on prom experiences, one describing a friend who ended up in a scary situation. Her date treated her like he expected her to have sex with him, and she ended up needing help and protection from others to stay safe.

Spiritual Content
There are a couple of references to Christian schools which would not allow students to bring same gender dates, and a girl who wanted to bring a transgender boy as her date.

Violent Content

Drug Content
The author and contributors also encourage teens not to feel pressure to drink alcohol or use drugs on prom night. One contributor states that it’s a smaller group of people who actually drink than you think it is. One girl recalls being sent home after drug paraphernalia was found in her boyfriend’s bag.

Prom on AmazonNote: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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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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