Review: Prep

Why I picked it: This is my second novel by Curtis Sittenfeld, I read and enjoyed American Wife last summer.  So much so that I wanted to try another selection by the author.  Prep made a lot of press when it was released so it was a good choice for me.

Synopsis: 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.

Quick Take: This is a tough review for me, I can't give it a solid recommend (to a friend with little time to read) but I was interested and am still thinking about this book weeks later.  The writing is good but the story takes a long time to unfold. The reader is waiting for Lee's life to start and the selfpity to end for the first third of the book.  Once she gets to spring of her junior year the book picks up pace until you get to the end (about the last half of the book). 

I was surprised by the ending, in a good way. 

There are some crude discussions related to sex that some readers may not appreciate but it felt like they belonged in the book.

Have you read this one?  I would love to know what you thought. 

Source: Library (audio)