**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**
Title Prom Theory
Author Ann LaBar
Release Date March 30, 2021
Date Read February 20, 2021
Iris Oxtabee has managed to navigate the tricky world of unspoken social interactions by reading everything from neuroscience journals to Wikipedia articles. Science has helped her fit the puzzle pieces into an understandable whole, and she’s sure there’s nothing it can’t explain. Love, for example, is just chemistry.
Her best friend Seth, however, believes love is one of life’s beautiful and chaotic mysteries, without need for explanation. Iris isn’t one to back down from a challenge; she’s determined to prove love is really nothing more than hormones and external stimuli. After all, science has allowed humanity to understand more complex mysteries than that, and Iris excels at science.
The perfect way to test her theory? Get the popular and newly-single Theo Grant, who doesn’t even know Iris exists, to ask her to prom. With prom just two weeks away, Iris doesn’t have any time to waste, so she turns her keen empirical talents and laser-focus attention to testing her theory.
But will proving herself correct cause her friendship with Seth—and the tantalizing possibility for something more—to become the failed experiment?
I was excited to read this book because I love a good rom-com and I also love a lesser known retelling. This book is tagged as a spin on The Rosie Project so I was interested to see how that would work.
Some Things I Liked
- Iris’s narration and “wiki mode”. I thought Iris was an observant and witty main character. She made a ton of interesting observations about the world around her and I really enjoyed the spin she put on them. She was definitely quirky but I loved that she owned that.
- Experiment notes. I loved that each chapter ended with Ester and Iris’s observations and lab analysis. I thought this was a fun touch.
- Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory vibes. I thought this was also a fun addition to the story. Iris reminded me of what Sheldon would have been like thinking about Prom today. She was very scientific and it was an interesting contrast to Ester, her best friend, who reminded me of Leonard.
One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About
- The pacing felt slow and then very rushed at the end. I didn’t love the way Prom night happened and I thought that it was more mean than conclusive. At least Iris is a junior so she can always make good memories at Prom next year.
There’s not much series value here. Pretty much all of the characters we meet are in a good spot at the end of the story with not too much left to the imagination. Iris could be a fun character to see in a new setting, college perhaps? But, I don’t think this book warrants a sequel. I was satisfied with the how everyone left things.
I thought this was a cute story. I didn’t love the scenes involving Prom itself, but overall, I liked the message. I liked the set up of the story and the premise of the experiment and I enjoyed the main character’s POV.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon – if you enjoyed the themes of science vs. love and the themes of high school rites of passage, try this standalone novel about the last day of senior year.
- The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor – if you liked the ideas of trying to quantify love, try this modern retelling of Emma by Jane Austen.