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Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
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Prep: A Novel (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Curtis Sittenfeld

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,2051552,075 (3.55)152
Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland.
Praise for Prep

‚??Curtis Sittenfeld is a young writer with a crazy amount of talent. Her sharp and economical prose reminds us of Joan Didion and Tobias Wolff. Like them, she has a sly and potent wit, which cuts unexpectedly‚??but often‚??through the placid surface of her prose. Her voice is strong and clear, her moral compass steady; I‚??d believe anything she told me.‚?Ě‚??Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

‚??Prep‚??s every sentence rings true. Sittenfeld is a rising star.‚?Ě‚??Wally Lamb, author of She‚??s Come Undone<
… (more)
Member:henrikhenrik
Title:Prep: A Novel
Authors:Curtis Sittenfeld
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2005), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (2005)

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» See also 152 mentions

English (148)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
Good storyline and entertaining characters. ( )
  Huba.Library | Feb 23, 2024 |
Lee Fiora leaves home at 14 to attend an elite New England boarding school. She is neither rich nor beautiful nor very good at school. She also lacks emotional and social intelligence. She's hyper self-aware and attentive to everything that's going on around her, but she doesn't truly participate in life at Ault. She watches everything from the outside. So this book is not particularly fun, unless you enjoy the unbelievable agony of high school. It is fascinating, though. How Sittenfeld captured the craziness of what goes on in an adolescent teenager's head is beyond me. I'm glad a read A Separate Peace before this; they complement each other well. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
The first thing to note about the book is the cover. I'm not a judge-the-book-by-its-cover kind of person, but there's something intensely embarrassing about reading a book with an embossed pink belt on the cover. I ran into a friend while carrying my copy and he asked what I was reading: "not a chick-lit rom-com" I answered, defensively.

The only problem being, it kind of is. Lots of obsessing over what people are or aren't wearing, who is or is not dating whom and whether or not each character is popular. The attempt is to make it a self-aware, self-referential chick-lit rom-com, peppered with an introspective, if flawed protagonist.

Which brings us to the crux of the issue: this would be fascinating, were it new territory. However, it's far from it. The flawed but introspective teenage protagonist who makes sense of the intricate, unexplicable world called teenagehood has already been done, most notably and incomparably by [b:The Perks of Being a Wallflower|22628|The Perks of Being a Wallflower|Stephen Chbosky|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1313063835s/22628.jpg|2236198]. And also, while there's always room for another quality book in any genre, Lee Fiora has a lot more emphasis on the flawed than on the introspective. In fact, mostly, the best adjective for her is dumb. Its hard to imagine how she got into boarding school in the first place, much less on a scholarship. And every time she criticizes herself, you just want to agree with her: Yes, you're an idiot; yes you suck academically; yes you push away everyone who wants to be friends with you, of which there seem to be shockingly many, given that you're cruel to your friends, never make social overtures and push away everyone who wants to be friends with you.

There was an attempt at a message about family and how hard it is to leave your family as a teenager, but Lee's family was so much more flawed than she was that I found the fact that she ever talked to them at all just another annoying quirk of hers (her father slapped her across the face in public. Last I checked, child abuse is rather unforgivable and never excusable)

The bits that the book does well, on the other hand, it does very well - a sentence or two about the bond of a true friendship; the description of the sense of commingled sadness and joy when someone unexpectedly really and truly knows you; the episodic and fragmented nature of teenage experiences. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Even though many of the characters were not really likable, they were interesting. The protagonist processed her life in such detail that at times it was tedious and repulsive, but I did want to know what happened to her. I did not learn as much as I would have liked to learn, but the author wrote so that I was often in suspense to learn of the next experience. I do not have private school experience, but I have been an adolescent, so there was much I could identify with. ( )
  suesbooks | May 6, 2023 |
I really, really, really got wrapped up in this book and completely adored it. I never wanted to put it down. Prep made me very nostalgic for my own high school experience and for all those bittersweet unhappy-happy feelings that I experienced. I really enjoyed the writing. There are so many lines that made me think "Right! That's EXACTLY what it feels like!" but I've never heard it put into words quite like that. And I often find the frequency of those occurrences to be the most defining measurements of whether or not I thoroughly enjoy a book. (Meaning, I did enjoy this one--a lot.)

A small criticism ... sometimes the "Years later, when I think back on this experience" type of comments kind of threw me out of it--sort of ruined the illusion (though I know it was purely intentional on Sittenfield's part for it to read sort of memoir-esque in this way). I'd rather have just remained caught up in that current moment (because I adored all those moments of the book so, so much), without the comments on the character's hindsight.

It's so good. It's so worth reading. Very real. I think it's similar to Catcher in the Rye in that anyone reading it can COMPLETELY jump in the shoes of the main character because of these horrible and wonderful human experiences she's going through as a teenager.

I think the only reason I nixed a star from the rating is for the last page. It wasn't completely incongruous from the rest of the book or anything, but because I spent more than 400 pages getting to that last one, I think I'd expected something different from Sittenfield's "moral" or message, or whatever. Something that was, perhaps, less basic. ( )
  ostbying | Jan 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Curtis Sittenfeldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marie, JorjeanaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Paul and Betsy Sittenfeld;
my sisters, Tiernan and Josephine;
and my brother, P.G.
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I think that everything, or at least the part of everything that happened to me, started with the Roman architecture mix-up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland.
Praise for Prep

‚??Curtis Sittenfeld is a young writer with a crazy amount of talent. Her sharp and economical prose reminds us of Joan Didion and Tobias Wolff. Like them, she has a sly and potent wit, which cuts unexpectedly‚??but often‚??through the placid surface of her prose. Her voice is strong and clear, her moral compass steady; I‚??d believe anything she told me.‚?Ě‚??Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

‚??Prep‚??s every sentence rings true. Sittenfeld is a rising star.‚?Ě‚??Wally Lamb, author of She‚??s Come Undone

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