Prom Mom

Morrow. Jul. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780062998064. $30. SUSPENSE
Entitled men and the women who enable them receive the Lippman (Dream Girl) treatment in this novel that moves between the 1990s and the beginning years of COVID. In 1997, the Baltimore press dubbed Amber Glass “Prom Mom” after she gave birth on prom night and allegedly killed the baby. Amber had finagled Joe Simpson, whom she’d been tutoring, into being her date that night, but he ditched her for the girl who’d broken his heart. Amber doesn’t remember what happened exactly, but she was convicted and jailed in juvie. She fled Baltimore afterward, but now she’s back in her hometown, trying to create a new life as the owner of an outsider-art gallery. She is also trying to stay out of Joe’s way—he’s happily married and working in real estate—but that proves difficult. Readers will want to yell, wave their arms, and warn all the characters to run, don’t walk, away.
VERDICT This exquisitely crafted tale of triangulation and treachery builds slowly to a shocking ending. It’s a future COVID classic that pairs well with Lippman’s long-form essay The Summer of Fall and other love and revenge stories such as those in her 2021 collection Seasonal Work.
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