Karate Prom

First Second. May 2024. 176p. $25.99. ISBN 9781250868657.
Gr 8 Up–Don Jones is running late for the All-City Karate Tournament, having spent too much time training. Arriving just moments prior to his match, he heads into the ring before his friends can warn him about his opponent. He is able to lay eyes on Sam Steadman, proclaiming her incredibly beautiful—before she knocks him out with one punch. After the tournament is over, Don and Sam bond over snow cones and she asks him to go with her to prom. Readers, be ready! These two have begun a relationship that culminates in one of the craziest proms ever, full of fighting not only other students, but a band of ninjas! Starks brings all the high jinks and hilarity that he was known for in the “Rick and Morty” comics to this coming-of-age tale, uniting two staples known to all high school students: fighting and prom. Some of the characters fit archetypes you’d expect in a story like this, but the author adeptly subverts assumptions.
VERDICT True to its title, Karate Prom creates a joy-filled story about two teens who want to be together so badly, they are willing to fight for it. A tale for lovers and fighters alike.

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