Katie Fitzgerald's Reviews > Ditched: A Love Story

Ditched by Robin Mellom
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At the start of this contemporary YA novel about prom night, main character Justina finds herself bruised, in a ditch, wearing a stained dress. She wanders into a 7-Eleven in search of food to help combat her low blood sugar, and there she meets Donna and Gilda, who lend a sympathetic ear to her prom night tale of woe. Using the stains on her dress and the various other bruises, tattoos and markings on her body as a road map, Justina recounts everything that happened between her and Ian Clark, her best friend and prom date, with whom she'd hoped to have a romance before everything went wrong. Justina believes that Ian is to blame, and that his bad behavior can have no other explanation other than the fact that he just doesn't care about her as more than a friend. But as Gilda and Donna hear the story, they point out some inconsistencies that ultimately help Justina understand the truth of what happened.

This book has two main gimmicks - the audience of Gilda and Donna who prompt the telling of Justina's story in the first place, and the dress, whose stains provide the framework for telling said story. I wouldn't say they ruined the book for me, but they did sort of seem like crutches, designed to make the story more accessible and more interesting. And my complaint about them is that they weren't really necessary. I think this was a story that could have easily carried itself without these tricks. But even though the framework for the story was gimmicky, I was drawn in immediately, and couldn't set the book aside until I knew the full story of how Justina's prom had gone so off-track.

The book reads like an episode of the The OC, or a popular teen movie from my high school years, Can't Hardly Wait. The supporting characters were mainly comical ones - two stoners named Mike and their adventurous girlfriends from a neighboring school, a popular girl who serves as ally and antagonist depending on the situation, an outgoing and flirty best friend, a jerky guy who wants to use Justina only for kisses, and of course, Ian, the proverbial nice guy. The various pitfalls Justina encounters on the way to finding Ian, who ditches her at the prom unexpectedly and without adequate explanation, were, at times, amusing, even when they made me cringe, and though the description wasn't especially flowery or even detailed, I could imagine each scene vividly, as though I were witnessing it, not just reading about it.

I really rooted for Justina - and for Ian, who was my favorite character from the outset - all the way through to the end, and though I suspected all along how the story would end, since it is called a love story, I was still pleased to come to the ending and see everything fall into place. Prom books seem to be popular these days. I read and reviewed The Anti-Prom not that long ago, and I've also seen reviews of Prom and Prejudice and Will Work For Prom Dress. I think it's a good go-to topic for YA books, since it's a kind of rite of passage for so many girls, and a universally understood experience. Reading Ditched made me think of my own prom date, and the Sprite stain he caused, and I recognized a lot of Justina's hopes and disappointments as my own.

All in all, this wasn't my favorite YA book, but it was still a good, solid read that fits right in with the other titles about the prom that are being published now. I'd recommend it to high school kids, and especially to any girl who has ever fallen in love with her best friend, or wished for a prom night romance.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 18, 2011 – Shelved
July 18, 2011 – Shelved as: genre-realistic-fiction
July 18, 2011 – Shelved as: genre-romance
July 18, 2011 – Shelved as: level-young-adult
July 18, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 11, 2011 – Shelved as: source-netgalley
December 29, 2011 – Shelved as: format-ebooks
September 17, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2011

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