Book Review: Prom Theory

Title: Prom Theory

Author: Ann LaBar

Pub. Date: March 30, 2021

Pages: 400

Pub: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


In this heartwarming and whip-smart YA spin on The Rosie Project, a teen girl is determined to prove that love, like all things, should be scientifically quantified…right?

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?

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. I originally saw this in my local Barnes & Noble and didn’t buy it. I went back the next day because I was having serious regrets. I mean, just look at this book. It looks amazing. I loved this book, so much. I kind of figured I would, so I’m just glad it lived up to my expectations. Definitely recommend the audiobook as well!

I’m really loving these academic/STEM based YA Contemporaries that have been coming out. I find them to be so enjoyable and such a fun way to hype up science (and romance). I also really loved that Iris has some social anxiety and finds it a little difficult to follow unspoken social interactions. As someone who gets anxious being in a new setting, as someone who isn’t a fan of change and doesn’t always pick up certain cues, I connected with her. At first, I wasn’t completely sure if I was going to, but ultimately, I fell in love with her character, her friends and overall, the book.

Watching her grow and change a bit in this book was really great and there were moments that were quite funny. This book does and doesn’t play out like I expected, and that made it all the best. There were definitely moments in this book that had me giving a play-by-play to my work bff because I needed to share what was happening, or if characters were acting dumb lol.

Iris’ relationship/friendship with Seth – I thought it was so good! There were quite a few moments that I just wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into the two of them. They were both so wonderfully dumb at times and it was adorable and equally aggravating lol.

Iris’ whole experiment to prove that love is just chemistry was such fun added element. You know that it’s going to cause drama and hurt feelings, and that she’s totally going to fall into a trap of her own making. It’s fantastic.

The drama and tension it causes with Seth, hurts, but it’s also amazing, because you know it’s the catalyst that needed to happen. Watching Iris slowly realize that – well, you’re going to have to read the book to find out what happens. I’m not going to spoil this book for you.

I loved that when Iris starts to rock the boat, change things up, she almost adopts this new confident personality. But even in doing that, the undercurrent of her discomfort is still there. I found that to be totally relatable. I can plaster a smile on my face, act like I’m having a good time, and still be a chaotic ball of anxious emotions underneath.

Then there’s Theo Grant – and he’s like, every popular vain guy stereotype. Nice to look at, but rotten inside. He was an interesting added element, and I liked how Iris kind of gets swept up in her experiment with him.

As for the shocking moment at the end – I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when or how. High school can be a difficult, vindictive place, and teenagers can be such fucking assholes.

This book was just so much fun, so enjoyable and highly recommendable. I’m telling you to pick this up. If you liked The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss, or The Upside of Falling or even By the Book, you’re probably going to want to pick this one up. You’re probably going to really enjoy it. I’ve already all but thrown it at my friend and I’m going to make her read it. I can’t wait to read whatever Ann writes next – I’m 100% a fan.

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