School Library Journal review of DEACON LOCKE

Posted on Saturday, 21st January, 2017

DEACON LOCKE WENT TO PROM | Brian Katcher

Gr 8 Up–When Deacon Locke can’t find a date for the senior prom, he decides to invite his grandmother Jean, who missed her own prom because her date (Deacon’s grandfather) was serving in the Vietnam War. Deacon has never been able to depend on his fly-by-night father, and his mother isn’t in the picture: Jean, with whom he has been living for the past two years, has been the sole rock in his life. When a video of the unlikely couple dancing at the prom goes viral, awkward, loner Deacon experiences his first taste of popularity. As he looks toward the future, he grapples with his newfound celebrity; pursues a relationship with his dance instructor, Soraya; and realizes that Jean may be dealing with dementia. While Deacon occasionally comes off as insensitive when it comes to race and gender (“The non-politically-correct part of my mind wonders if [Soraya] has an exotic accent”), he grows and develops as he learns of the bigotry that Soraya, who is Muslim, has confronted. The plot is somewhat predictable in places (Soraya and Deacon’s relationship is temporarily derailed when another suitor asks Soraya out right before Deacon can), and characterizations are a little thin. However, Deacon’s wryly self-deprecating voice will resonate with readers, and Katcher’s commentary on Internet fame rings true. Teens will enjoy this light but touching tale of maturation. VERDICT Those seeking coming-of-age stories with a bit of romance will be pleased with this quick, heartfelt read.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

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