Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prom and prejudice

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Lizzie is a “scholarship” girl. She attends the prestigious girl’s school, Longbourn Academy by the grace of her talent and grades. Her attendance has nothing to do with her parent’s jobs or 401K. There was no consideration for her lack of a stock portfolio. These facts are not lost on most of the other girls that attend the school with her. Her only friends are the other “scholarship” girl and her roommate. Everyone else is mercilessly cruel to her, finding occasion to throw things in her face or spill things on her clothes. She is shunned at the social events and spoken to and about as if she were a lower class. Her job at a local coffee shop is absolutely ridiculed, but she needs the money. The girls at Longbourn are only trying to prevent her from capturing any of the hotties from the local boys school as her date for prom. This school is all about the social things and prom is the most important social event of the year. No “scholarship” girl should get the good dates and then wear some off the rack dress from Macey’s, oh the shame. All of this is frustrating for Lizzie but she is there to prepare for college and to be taught by the best piano instructor in the country. Her music talent has been noticed and she hopes to take advantage of this chance to excel. Lizzie’s roommate, Jane, is the only “rich” girl that is civil to her. She drags Lizzie to all the social events, promising that this one will be fun. Lizzie goes for Jane. The kick-off for the “get yourself a date for prom” season, otherwise known as the welcome back from break party turns into the normal social event for Lizzie. Included in that is the dark and brooding Will Darcy. Lizzie’s opinion of him is that he is a pompous rich kid like all the rest of the boys. Will doesn’t think a lot of “scholarship” students and sees Lizzie as no different. Can either of them get over their prejudice and pride long enough to get to know each other? Will the prom get in the way of any chance they have to even be friends? Will Lizzie even survive the semester with all the adversity she faces? Or will she find out that the local kids are a better place to hang out than the social scene at Longbourn?

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. The parallels between it and Pride and Prejudice are quite charming. I didn’t notice the names right away because the author uses the shorter nick names but it became clear through the book that Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy were alive and well in the 20th century. I think Jane Austen would be pleased.

The character development was well done. Lizzie has a strong personality and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She makes a lot of assumptions about her fellow students but they are based on rough experiences with them. I like that she is determined to be successful in spite of what is happening around her. I love that she has a roommate that is the best of the crop at the school. Jane’s concern for Lizzie is genuine and a breath of fresh air compared to the snobs that attend Longbourn. Jane’s sister is another story. What a vivid character she makes and maybe a little comic relief. Will is a mystery. He seems to be interested in Lizzie but that doesn’t fit with what she overheard him say. He’s a puzzle that doesn’t quite fit together and Lizzie isn’t sure she should try to understand him. I like the mystery. It makes the plot more interesting. I was guessing throughout trying to reason Will out but I was surprised by what the truth was.

An interesting aspect of the plot was the obsession that high school girls have with finding a date for prom. Every girl at Longbourn, with the exception of Lizzie, is obsessed with finding the perfect date for prom. While these girls had an exaggerated idea of what prom should be, it made for the perfect allegory for the real thing. Prom is everything. The world will end as we know it if there is no date! This came across nicely in this book.

Prom and prejudice is a fun quick read by a great new author. I hope there will be many more from Elizabeth Eulberg. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Enjoy the read!

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