Spotlight: Prom-wrecked by Jennifer DiGiovanni and T.H. Hernandez
Publication Date: May 6, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Their prom night ended in a jail cell with forty of their closest friends. But that’s hardly the worst thing that happened to them…
When the principal announces prom is canceled this year, senior Riley Hart is determined to save it. Armed with little more than her own enthusiasm, she ends up working closely with Owen Locklear, who is more than completely off-limits. Because he’s the boyfriend of her ex-BFF, Catherine Reed. Still, Owen knows Riley better than almost anyone, and his charming ideas for turning the prom upside-down and backward win Riley over.
Catherine is willing to join Owen and Riley on the prom committee, but only because her legacy as prom queen is at stake. She’s already suffocating under the weight of her parents’ expectations for after senior year, and compared to that, ensuring prom happens should be easy. At least until everything starts to go wrong.
First they lose their deposit. Then they book a band full of octogenarians. And lose their venue... Twice.
Riley will have an unforgettable teenage experience, damn it, if it’s the last thing she does…
RILEY – TWO MONTHS UNTIL PROM
I turn the corner and glance over my shoulder, hoping to catch another glimpse of Owen’s familiar dark brown hair poking above the crowd. When I recognize his spiky-messy style, my breath catches in my chest. With a wave to Catherine, he breaks away and trails behind me, leaving half a hallway between us. I veer off into an empty stairwell and wait.
Eventually, he makes his appearance, towering over me in the cramped space. Although he’s not as big as the basketball players, Owen stands at least six inches taller than me, which means I’m always looking up at him when we cross paths in school. We met during recess on the first day of kindergarten, when we decided to join up with Catherine and fight the imaginary monsters hiding under the playground equipment. Years later, Catherine has found other things to do with her free time, but Owen and I still fight monsters together—virtual ones, in our favorite video game.
“Haven’t caught up with you on Q-Chat lately,” he says, breaking into his familiar wide smile, one that could take down the entire cheerleading squad. Though it’s a struggle, I manage to remain upright. But just barely.
“Sorry, but I’ve been busy.” I speak too fast and nearly drop the bag of tech club pamphlets I printed last night. Talking to Owen in real life always seems to throw me off. It’s much easier to pretend I don’t have a crush on him when we’re battling aliens online.
Faking disappointment, he shakes his head. “Priorities, Riley. Immortal Quest released an update yesterday with an all-new army of zombies. They suck your life force away, and I really need your shields for protection.” His blue eyes brighten as he steps closer. “C’mon, Evil Skater Girl.”
I raise my finger to my lips. “Shhh! We promised never to call each other by our Quest names in school!” No one needs to know about my secret virtual superhero persona. At eighteen, I’m practically a grandma in the Immortal Quest world.
“Yeah, you’re right.” He backs away, darting his eyes toward the hallway, probably checking for his girlfriend. “Just…log on once in a while, okay? Keep me company.”
“Doesn’t Catherine do enough of that?” The words rush from my mouth before I think about them. I really don’t want to know what he and Catherine do when they’re alone together, but for some reason I can’t resist bringing her up, if only to remind myself that he’s in love with the girl who tossed me aside without a second thought way back in middle school.
Owen flashes his smile again. “No one does it like you, ESG.” He hikes his backpack higher on his shoulder and turns to go. Before I call him out on the name thing again, he says, “By the way, did you hear anything about prom being canceled?”
“What? Is that even possible?”
He breaks out in a small smile. “According to Cat, it is.” His smile falters before he picks it back up. “So, you haven’t heard anything?”
“No, but if I do, I’ll let you know.”
With a wave, he ducks around the corner and out of sight. I count to ten before continuing on to my locker.
About the Author
Jennifer DiGiovanni writes light fantasy and contemporary fiction for teens. You can find out more about her books by visiting www.jenniferdigiovanni.com or following her on Instagram or Twitter @jendwrites.
T.H. Hernandez is a young adult author of six novels, spanning the contemporary, post-global warming/dystopian, and urban scifi genres. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband, three kids, and a zoo-worthy collection of animals. Her latest release, PROM-WRECKED, was co-written with Jennifer DiGiovanni and releases May 2019 from Entangled Teen.