Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Deacon Locke Went to Prom - Brian Katcher

Deacon Locke Went to Prom 
Brian Katcher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I went into this book having been pleased with another of Katcher's works, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, which was quirky and fun. Deacon Lock Went to Prom is another fun and quirky offering, but it's also very sweet and heartfelt.

Deacon Locke did not have a conventional upbringing. He was always fleeing moving from place to place due to his father's "career" choices. He never had the opportunity to have roots and make friends. When he turned 16, the one stable person in his life, his grandmother, invited him to live with her, and he finally had a home. Now, in the last days of high school, he wants to experience a very normal teenage thing. He wants to go to a school dance, and the prom will be his last chance. After a failed attempt to ask his friend to be his date, he decides he wants to go with someone who is very special to him, someone he considers to be his best friend. So, he asks his grandmother, Jean, to be his date.

The first part of this book was so fun and charming. From the promposals to his geriatric dance class, I totally fell in love with Deacon, Jean, and all his quirky friends. I spent a great deal of those early chapters laughing, grinning, and sighing with satisfaction.

I have to take some time to discuss this cast of characters. I really enjoyed getting to know them, and they all contribution to my enjoyment of this book. When grandma Jean greets Deacon like this:
"I will personally carve out your eyeballs and feed them to the crows!"
I knew we were going to be great friends. Katcher really did create a wonderful character with Jean. She was robust, feisty, and full of life. She seemed slightly haunted by her failures as a mother, and maybe even as a wife, but she was determined to give it her all with Deacon. They had a very special kinship, that jumped off the page, and grabbed my heart. I also had a warm spot for Elijah, the pun-master and friend Deacon didn't want to have, but he was having any way. This kid was all heart. He was a fierce friend, and willing to give a lot to his friendships. Finally, we had Soraya, Deacon's dance teacher turned girlfriend. She was so spunky and spoke her mind. She was determined and worked hard to be true to herself, even when it was difficult. As the daughter of Lebanese immigrants and a muslim, Soraya had faced adversity, and was always able to keep her chin up. She was fabulous, and really rounded out the cast of characters by bringing that diversity to the table.

After prom, a secondary storyline arises. A video, or rather, multiple videos, of Deacon and his grandmother dancing at prom go viral, and he becomes an overnight sensation. As his celebrity increases, Deacon sort of loses his way, and also, loses a little bit of himself. I did not enjoy this part of the book as much, because Deacon was the heart of the story. Part of me understands that this conflict was needed for Deacon to grow and change, but I still missed the fun, lighthearted, geeky Deacon.

As Deacon resolved some of the conflicts, and worked to repair some of the relationships he harmed, the story started moving back in the right direction. It felt right again, and that warmth and humor returned. You could not imagine my happiness upon seeing the book had an epilogue, because I love epilogues. I need them like the air I breathe. They give me that closure, and sometimes, that peek ahead that I yearn for. This was not the worst epilogue, but Katcher did that contemporary thing that I abhor. You know, that open-ended type ending. I guess I could take that ending in the direction I think it should go, but there is no definitive wrap up regarding certain BIG questions. Not bad, but it left me wanting more.

Overall: This was a heartfelt, fun, and quirky coming of age story. I loved seeing Deacon grow into himself, and was happy with the person he became.

**I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

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  1. Cute and quirky seem to sum this book up quite nicely. This one wasn't on my radar at all, so I'm glad you introduced me to it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I am trying to read more books with male protagonists, I liked the author's first book, and the premise sounded fun.

  2. This one sounds really cute, and really original (I mean, taking grandma to prom?? I gotta check this one out)! Glad you enjoyed it and love your review!! :D

    1. The first half, where Deacon is plotting the whole prom thing was so sweet and heartwarming. This too talk, awkward boy was basically abandoned by his parents and his awesome grandmother takes him in, and finally gives this boy a home. Their love for each other was very obvious, and I just gobbled up that part of the book.