Frankie desperately wants her best friend, Will, to ask her to be his date to the prom. When he seems nervous and reluctant, she thinks that a trip to a medium will give her the answers she wants and help him to get over his shyness. When things aren't quite going as Frankie had hoped, she starts asking questions about an old corsage on a shelf, which leads the fortune teller to make some dire warnings. Frankie thinks the woman is just being overly dramatic, so she begs to take the corsage, which is purported to grant its owner three wishes, with her. Once back at home, she wishes for the boy she loves to ask her to the prom, but she never could have predicted the tragic consequences her request would cause.
After carefully considering literary genres, I've decided to say that "The Corsage" is IMHO a YA horror story. The main character, Frankie, desperately wants her best friend, Will, to ask her to the prom, but when he seems reluctant to pop the question, she drags him and her other best friend, Yun Sun, to a fortune teller. She thinks that the medium will be able to give her hope that she'll get her wish and that the visit might somehow light a fire under Will. Her plan seems to mostly be a bust until Frankie spots an old, dried-out corsage on a shelf and starts asking questions about it. Next thing she knows, she's the proud new owner of this object that comes with a dire warning, but which is also purported to grant a person three wishes. However, when she uses it to wish that the boy she loves will invite her to the prom, she doesn't exactly get what she'd hoped for.
"The Corsage" is definitely a different sort of story for me. I'm not really a horror reader and although it's pretty mild for a horror story - mostly relying on emotions and psychological reactions - it is extremely sad and tragic. It's a cautionary tale that has an underlying message about being careful what you wish for. Frankie is just so caught up in wanting Will to be her prom date that she basically throws caution to the wind and doesn't even think of the possible consequences of her actions until it's too late. Overall, this novelette was well-written, but given the extremely unhappy nature of the ending, it just wasn't really my kind of story. "The Corsage" can be found in the anthology Prom Nights from Hell.
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