Publishers Weekly review of DEACON LOCKE
Title aside, Katcher’s multifaceted novel is about more than a school dance, delving into discrimination, dementia, and the perils of online fame. Deacon Locke, who has never gone on a date or been kissed, waits too long to ask out potential prom dates, so he opts to take Jean, his grandmother and primary parental figure, since she missed her own prom decades ago. Deacon’s classmates find his decision adorable, and video clips of him and Jean dancing at prom go viral. Meanwhile, Deacon summons the courage to ask out Soraya, a Muslim dance instructor he meets while taking lessons with Jean, and soon has his first girlfriend. Amid the level of small-time celebrity Deacon achieves because of the video (including agreeing to participate in a Dancing with the Stars–type show after graduation), Katcher (The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak) explores the pitfalls of Internet notoriety and the vicious, sometimes racist commentary that can come with it—with Soraya caught in the crossfire. Although the story looks directly at some of humanity’s uglier tendencies, Deacon’s entertaining commentary keeps the overall tone thoughtful, upbeat and hopeful. Ages 13–up.