The only book I’ve read by Lisa Ann Sandell is Song of the Sparrow, her beautifully written novel in verse which retells the story of the Lady of Shalott. Therefore, I decided to read "See Me" from 21 Proms in order to get a sense of a different side of her writing. In this story, high school senior Katie feels invisible, not just to her classmates, but to her crush, Dan, as well. This is an annoying problem most of the time, but it becomes especially troublesome when prom season comes around and Katie is the only one left without a date.
Of all the prom stories in the 21 Proms collection, I think this one most accurately reflects my personal experience. Though I did wind up with two possible prom dates, I was not a likely candidate for such a thing to happen, and I felt just as invisible at times as Katie does in the story. What I like, though, is that Katie does not just wallow in her misfortune. All along, she remains true to herself and to her interests, and it is this comfort in her own skin that ultimately leads her to the right boy, and the right prom night experience.
Much of this story’s depiction of high school is pretty standard. The cliques, boy/girl relationships, and even the yearbook superlatives match most pop culture depictions of the high school experience. A few rare moments really save the story from becoming too stereotypical, however. I loved Melody’s insistence that not going to the prom is a cliche, for example. I think that has really started to become true, with so many kids rebelling against the idea that the prom is an important rite of passage for teens. I also love Sandell’s description of the prom atmosphere and Katie’s place within it: “All the flowers in all the gardens are in bloom, and the air smells like one giant, universal corsage. In my pink dress, I feel like a petal of one of its roses.” What a perfect way to describe that feeling of being all dressed up and feeling pretty.
"See Me" is a great story for girls who need a little boost of self esteem, and a wonderful example of staying true to oneself and having it pay off in the end.
I borrowed 21 Proms from my local public library.