High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag’s moving car…
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.
You can read an excerpt here.
Robin Mellom has to be a John Hughes fan, because Ditched is a sweet, zany, sarcastic bundle of fun that hearkens back to those classic teen movies of the 80′s – and it is definitely fun to read.
As far as I can remember, the last teen romantic comedy I really enjoyed was 10 Things I Hate About You - no, wait: Easy A! That’s two! - so I found myself braced for something not my style when I cracked open Ditched, but this book surprised me with how well it walked the line of just enough without being too much.
Let’s start with what I don’t like – embarrassing humor makes me squirm, I’m not a fan of comedies that try to be edgy by way of raunchy, and I think my psyche is still scarred by the commercials for Disney’s PROM movie (say prom story, and I tend to flinch). But Ditched is a story with a very sweet romantic core, a sense of humor that isn’t jaded at all, and a sarcastic flare all its own. There is a wonderfully keen sense of the ridiculous throughout this story, with everything hilariously askew and yet so perfectly teen. Snarky charm just oozes from its pages.
Justina’s prom story is told in flashbacks, as she tells her tale the morning after to two hilariously wacky strangers in the 7-Eleven. The dress stains make a perfectly fine narrative spine, but the real fun is in the dribbles of foreshadowing, as Justina regularly gets ahead of herself as she regales her audience with her epic tale of prom. It worked wonderfully well as a hook into the story, and I loved how Mellom set up expectations of what was to come, and then slyly defied them. Even when I knew what was going to happen, it never happened like I thought it would.
Justina herself is refreshingly imperfect. I really enjoyed how Mellom would lay out Justina’s choices, which were so often less than stellar, and then fill in the blanks leading up to her moments of choosing, such that we could completely understand the reasons and emotions behind each and every one of Justina’s wrong decisions. Justina contradicts herself constantly, and yet still makes perfect sense – which makes her both entirely real and highly entertaining.
As to the heart of this book, it is most definitely the romance – and it’s a downright adorable one at that. Ditched builds a wonderful sense of expectation, as it dances around the main attraction, dips a toe here and there in flirtation, and gradually builds its toe-tingling romantic tension, even as everything goes spectacularly wrong. I loved how this book built to the big resolution at the end – and the end definitely left me grinning like a sap. It’s just ridiculously cute.
So while Ditched was entirely not what I expected from the cover, I am so very glad that it wasn’t. This story is pure teen fun in the best, non-saccharine, non-sanitized, highly sarcastic, and yet still entirely sweet kind of way. Now that’s more like it!
Byrt Grade: A-
As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
This is one of my favorite reads of this year…Think Pretty in Pink meets The Hangover meets Say Anything.
It reminded me a lot of the classics - Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club etc. It has that fast paced, silly charm that those movies have, and it was a lot of fun to read.
…The author displays a well-developed touch for the absurd. For readers with a funny bone that needs a tingle, this should hit the spot.