A Novel

Book - 2005
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Curtis Sittenfeld's debut novel, Prep, is an insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition.

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school's glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of--and, ultimately, a participant in--their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she's a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.

Ultimately, Lee's experiences--complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400062317
Branch Call Number: Fic Sitt
Characteristics: 406 p. ; 25 cm.


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Sep 28, 2016

Honestly can't understand how this book received such rave reviews when it did. It is nothing at all like the ones it's been compared to (Catcher in the Rye, etc.) and was so deadly dull I finally gave up on it. Not funny, not engaging, not even particularly interesting and certainly not enlightening. The author's following books are much, much better.

Dec 02, 2014

The main character Lee is intolerable. I kept hoping that things were going to turn around half way through the book, but she only got worse. If you are looking for 'Gossip Girl', but written for adults, this is NOT it.

tealdawg Jun 20, 2013

"Achingly funny"? There is absolutely nothing funny about this book. The protagonist is completely unlikeable, narcissistic and pathetic. If remotely true, her prep school experience explains many of our current politicians, celebreties and captains of industry.

Mar 01, 2013

On my For Later Shelf & Recommended by The Week booklist. Recommended by Benjamin Nugent in The Week magazine.

patienceandfortitude Aug 12, 2011

A fun read. She does a very good job of entering the mind of an adolescent struggling to adjust to a new environment and to peers who come from a different class and culture. The main character is far from perfect, which makes the book that much more believable and touching.

penpencil22 Jun 24, 2011

it was okay. nothing spectacular.


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Jun 22, 2015

"I never dressed nicely for breakfast, but I didn't dress nicely the rest of the time, either" (293).


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