Reviewed by Kaelin Lee, age 15

Prom Theory by Ann Labar

Science, which Iris excels at, has helped Iris Oxtabee navigate a world of tricky social interactions, so she’s positive science can explain anything. This includes love. However, while Iris sees it as basic chemistry, based on hormones and external stimuli, her best friend Seth believes love is an unexplainable mystery of life. Determined to prove him wrong, Iris goes to test her theory by using scientific methods to get Theo Grant, a popular jock who doesn’t know Iris exists, to ask her to prom.

She has two weeks until prom to prove herself right, but is it worth ruining her friendship with Seth, plus the possibility of something more?

Upon reading the synopsis for Prom Theory, I was excited about the cliche but still entertaining plotline. Unfortunately, though, I did find the book to be quite a letdown in regard to both the romance and the plot points. Off the bat, it was clear that Seth had romantic feelings for an oblivious Iris, and Iris was starting to see him in an unexpected light. However, instead of them exploring those emotions through sweet scenes that proved their compatibility, their moments together mostly consisted of jealousy. Seth was jealous of Iris’s attempts to get Theo’s attention, while Iris disliked the time Seth spent with “Pom-Pom”, a degrading name given due to her being a cheerleader. I found myself annoyed at the lack of communication between the two of them rather than enjoying the “slow burn romance” trope. Not to mention, Iris putting time into an extremely unlikeable character like Theo was pretty frustrating to read. How she did this was also overexplained to be labeled as scientific even though they were simple efforts like wearing a bold, noticeable color. There were other characters I did enjoy chapters with though, including Esther and Iris’s mom, who were supportive of Iris and her happiness. There was additional comfort between Iris and Seth from the foundation of a long-standing friendship. This was portrayed for example by Seth always pulling Iris’s ponytail as an inside thing between them. While the jealousy and miscommunication between them still overpowered the positive development of their relationship, there were still times in the book that added to their romance, just not as many as I would’ve liked. Thus, I probably wouldn’t recommend this as a good romance read for a YA audience.

2 stars of 5 stars

Find this book in our catalog: Prom Theory

Catalog Number: HCPL YA

396 pages