Prom Queen is a tough book to rate. On one hand, it’s a quick, fun read that held my interest, something which normally carries quite a lot of weight when it comes to the final grading. On the other hand, it has multiple issues that pulled me out of the story and made me think it needed more work to really be polished. I had to settle on the middle ground of a C for something that, while completely readable, has numerous flaws.
Jessica Jackson is heading from California to her hometown in Texas for her high school reunion. She was a piece of work in high school and, although she knows she is a better person now, she is afraid to face her old classmates alone. Her friends have the idea to hire an escort to be her date. As it turns out, the escort service is owned by her ex-boyfriend Jake Davis.
When Jake sees Jessica’s name on the list of clients, he decides to make himself her date for the reunion. It is the perfect opportunity to either get revenge for their bad breakup or to rekindle an old flame. Needless to say, Jessica is shocked to see him waiting for her at the airport and is not happy to play along with his plan.
The chemistry between Jake and Jessica is great. Robert does an excellent job of sexual and romantic encounters in all her writing, and this is no different. However, we are to believe that Jake and Jessica loved each other ten years earlier and have a lot of unresolved feelings. The shorter format of this eBook doesn’t give much room for the characters to work all that out. They see each other, they’re turned on, and things are pretty much settled. I really enjoy second chance romances because of the fact that the couple has to sort through the feelings of hurt and uncertainty that lie between them, but that doesn’t seem to exist for Jake or Jessica for more than the length of an orgasm.
Add to that the fact that the premise is so unrealistic, and I could never really buy into this love story. I can excuse the whole escort idea – sure, that type of thing doesn’t exist in my world, but this is romancelandia. However, why would Jessica have the escort pick her up from the airport in Dallas and drive her however far it was to her parents’ house in the country? That seems like a good way to get potentially murdered. Plus, your parents then have to meet the escort you hired? Jake forces her to tell her parents they’re back together. What for? This is a weekend thing for the reunion, yet she tells her parents they’re in love and Jake is practically trying to move into her childhood bedroom with her. It made no sense to me. They could’ve just gone to the reunion together and left it at that, or at least not brought her parents into it.
Now I have a few nitpicky points. I think I may have been too close to this premise because I am also nearing my ten-year high school reunion and I am also a Texan and so much of this book felt so not Texas to me. Firstly, everyone says mama all the time! I did a search and mama is said ninety-one times in only 111 pages. It was awful. These characters are my age and I can tell you exactly one person I know who calls their mother mama. We say mom. Also, Texans have heard of the word mother. It would be one thing to use it in dialogue but it is part of the narrative as well and I started groaning every time I read it. It takes the attempt to sound southern too far. It was also hard for me to glamorize Jake and Jessica’s high school relationship. She mentions at one point that he used to know her body as well as she did. Really? Because eighteen-year-old boys are known for their sexual prowess? The couple jumps back into being in love immediately without getting reacquainted at all and all I could think was that if these people haven’t changed at all since they were eighteen, they must be awful people. If you told me that at twenty-eight I would have to get back together with my high school boyfriend I would run the other way. People grow up and change in those ten years and if you want me to believe they can still be in love, I need to see it happening on the page. I need to see how they are different people now but can still love each other as adults.
Prom Queen felt rushed, in terms of both the story and the romance. I enjoyed reading parts of it because of the chemistry between the characters, but at the end of the day this isn’t up to the author’s usual standard. If you are a fan of Katee Robert, you’re safe waiting for her next full length novel instead.