Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Prom & Prejudice

Elizabeth Eulberg
Young Adult
227 Pages
Scholastic Point
Available Now

Every girl at Longbourn Academy dreams about going to prom. The couture dresses, the Pemberley boys, the social prestige–all of it on the mind of every junior and senior at the school. Everyone except Lizzie Bennet, a gifted pianist but poor scholarship student, whose lack of wealth makes her a social pariah among the rich and entitled.

For the sake of her best friend, roommate, and one of the two people at school who doesn't treat her as a doormat, Lizzie agrees to go to a reception so Jane can mingle with Charles Bingley, a Pemberley student who has just returned from a semester abroad. At the party, she has an unfortunate run-in with William Darcy, Charles's best friend, and is reminded yet again of her unworthy scholarship status.

Unfortunately for Lizzie, she is forced to spend more time with Will since their respective best friends are romantically involved, and she often finds herself irritated by his very presence despite his attempts to get to know her better. However, when Wick, an old acquaintance of Will's makes advances on both Lizzie and Jane's younger sister Lydia, a shocking truth about Will's family history with Wick is revealed and Lizzie realizes she may be as guilty of prejudice as those around her.

Prom & Prejudice is a sweet story that modernizes and reintroduces us to characters with whom we are already familiar, placing them in an updated world but keeping timeless elements at the forefront as Ms. Eulberg re-examines basic human nature in social situations in a way that keeps us rapidly flipping the pages even when we know exactly what's going to happen. This is a book that shouldn't be approached with too much seriousness–those who are looking for the rich complexity of Austen's original tale will certainly find many a flaw in this retelling–but for any reader looking for a story full of classic miscommunications and misinterpretations that ultimately lead to the reversal of a deep-rooted prejudice, you will not be disappointed. The notion that wealth is somehow an adequate and accurate way of determining a person's worth is applicable in any time period, and Ms. Eulberg does a nice job of transferring this social bias to an elite New York City boarding school where it is as believable and as equally frustrating as it was in Austen's time.

Lizzie is an enjoyable heroine, taking her verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her peers for her scholarship student status in stride, keeping her focus on her music and her career goals. She is a loyal friend to Jane, often subjecting herself to public ridicule at social functions so Jane won't have to attend alone in the hope of meeting up with Charles. We can't help but erect our own walls to guard against the animosity often slung in her direction, the strength of our solidarity with her increasing with every nasty comment and rude gesture. Though she treats Will with the same hostility she resents from others, the growth and maturity we know is coming still never fails to make us smile as she humbles herself and eventually rectifies her preconceptions of his character.

Will, after living up spectacularly well to the snobbery and arrogance rumored to infect all Pemberley students, makes a solid and respectable effort to win Lizzie's affections, enduring her wrath while quietly prodding her impressive armor for any weak spot that might allow him access to the girl underneath it all. Their interactions are beautifully tense, the line between anger and attraction often blurring to a degree that causes our temperature to rise several notches, and in our heated state we can do nothing but shake our heads as Lizzie remains oblivious to Will's interest, content instead to exist as she has previously–wrapped thickly in her own proud, but lonely, blanket. We wait with a heightened sense of anticipation for events to play out as we know they will, yet our knowledge of the outcome makes the reading of Lizzie and Will's romantic dance no less enjoyable.

Prom & Prejudice
is a quick and easy read, one not meant to mimic the beauty and depth of Austen's work, but instead meant simply to entertain and, in that respect, is successful in doing so. Readers of all ages looking for an adorable romance will enjoy this tale, reveling in the characters' ability to complicate matters that ought to be simple. We come to realize our hearts often know far more than our mouths or minds do, and we are able to sit back and experience the frustration and hurt, but also the luminous joy that accompanies the journey our minds take in order to catch up with what our hearts have already figured out.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I'm really glad you liked this one! I'm looking forward to reading it, more just as a fun read like you've suggested. I think some people may have taken it too seriously or gone into it with high hopes, because I've seen some pretty 'meh' reviews of it. Still, I think it should be fun. Great review. =)

  2. I need another light book to read. I've got all these dystopians and heavy emotional books. I need another Anna and the French Kiss! This sounds like it's kind of like that only with some of my favorite characters in literature! Nice review!


  3. Awww this sounds like such a sweet and entertaining read. I have all heard good things about both Eulberg's books. Great review Jenny :)

  4. This one looks so cute and I've been waiting to pick it up this summer, but you make me want it now! It sounds like Will and Lizzie's relationship is a bit more accessible to readers in this version (When I was younger I had to read P&P several times before I finally "got it").

  5. I LOVE anything to do with Jane Austen. I was a little afraid to read it but your review has renewed my interest in the book. It sounds like so much fun!

  6. I just recently read this and thoroughly enjoyed how easy a read it was. It was my first book using the characters from P&P and I think my students will really enjoy this one. Great review!

  7. Cute review! This looks so fun, Im going to have to add it to the TBR and maybe someday I will get to read it... :D

  8. Ashley - I really liked it, it was just a sweet, fun read and I need those every now and then:)

    Heather - Exactly! This one definitely isn't as strong as Anna and the French Kiss, but it's adorable:)

    Nic - It just made me smile:)

    Jennifer - I think this would be a great way to introduce younger readers to P&P and then I think they might appreciate the Austen version once they read it and recognize the characters and basic themes.

    Misha - If you don't take it too seriously, it's definitely fun. If you go in hoping it's as brilliant as the original, you'll be disappointed most likely.

    Jan - Me too, I just flew through it and didn't have to think too much to figure out what was going on, it was just a nice, enjoyable read.

    Tina - It's really cute, it'd be a good summer read:)

  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, b/c it's been sitting on my shelf and I want to read it soon. I love Pride and Prejudice so I'm glad this one was entertaining!

  10. There is something so appealing about getting lost in an adorable romance. This does sounds like an entertaining read that pays homage to a wonderful classic. I like the idea of Lizzie being a loyal friend to Jane, despite what she has to endure.

  11. I think I will like this one. Sounds like a fun, quick and easy book, which I'm sure is going to entertain me for a few hours. ;)

  12. I really liked Prom and Prejudice and now I'm hoping to read Elizabeth Eulberg's first YA book.

  13. Sometimes quick and easy is what hits the spot. Thanks for the revie.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  14. Christina - It was very entertaining:)

    Missie - Exactly! It wasn't an epic romance like the original, but it was sweet and cute and just made me happy:)

    Nina - Definitely quick and easy, I think you'll like it:)

    Jenny - I haven't read her other books either, I'd like to give them a try after reading this one:)

    Brandi - So true!

  15. This one sounds like such a fun, cute read. Great review!Love the sound of the adorable romance! :)

  16. This sounds really sweet! I've been looking for some cute to read, so I might give it a go. Thanks for the review, and glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Sounds like a cute YA book :) And I do have BIG obsession with JA books so it would be perfect for me

  18. Leanna - It is all of those things:) It's nice to read a light, cute story amidst all the dystopians and vampires and werewolves:)

    Liz - Hope you give it a try!

    Blodeuedd - I love Jane Austen as well, I think as long as you don't hold this one to that standard, you'll really enjoy it:)

  19. I have been wanting to pick this book up. I have fallen in love with these types of books! Great review Jenny!

  20. The only thing I had a hard time with in this book was the fact that Lizzie was a pianist, and in the real book she was awful at it-otherwise those, it's super cute.

  21. I'm surprised at this one. I thought it was going to be more a tale of mean girls or someone wanting to just be popular. Sometimes I can take it if it is part of a book, but not the whole book. This doesn't sound like it was filled with too much of that. I might have to try this one out. Fab review!

  22. I have to read this! I have a top secret addiction to P&P adaptations, and I don't think I've read a teen one yet. Yea me!

  23. I loved this book. I agree that it's important not to look too much into it. It's one of those on-the-surface fun reads. Glad you liked it too!

  24. Savy - I need these type of books to break up all the serious, super emotional reads:)

    Colette - I never even thought of that, but you're right!

    Melissa - This one is surprisingly mean-girl free. Aside from a few run ins with nasty classmates, the story mostly focuses on Lizzie and Will:)

    Ruby - I loved it, hope you give it a try!

    Alison - Definitely. I think the light, fun reads are necessary, they just make me happy:)

  25. I've seen some mixed reviews for this one but if you found it entertaining, Jenny, I'll add it to my wishlist. I'm always up for quick and light reads.

  26. Light and easy isn't usually my thing, but this is a great review, Jenny, and one that I may out on my TBR-Vacation list.

  27. Once again, you've written such a thoughtful review. I got this one at the Teen Author Fest (yay) and now after reading this I really can't wait to get to it.

  28. I've never read the original P&P (terrible, I know) so I won't really have anything to compare this one to, but I do want to check it out. All the reviews I've read have been very positive, so I hope I can check it out soon. Thanks for the review :)

  29. Okay, I mostly agree with you. My only real complaint about this books was the manner of speech they spoke in. It seemed way too old fashioned, even for a bunch of rich students. I felt that since the book takes place in a contemporary setting, the language should have been different, more of today's standing.

    I think that a contemporary language would have made the story a bit more, uniquely hers (or something along those lines). I never thought something like that would bother me, but oh well. I still enjoyed the book and Eulberg's added differences to change the storyline slightly were lovely. Great review Jenny, your reviews are always so eloquent and beautiful!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  30. Zahida - I thin as long as you approach it just looking for something entertaining, you'll really enjoy it. If you're looking for an in-depth, complex, updated Pride and Prejudice, you might be left wanting.

    Linds - It's a perfect vacation read, just sweet and cute and fun:)

    Midnyte - Thank you! Hope you enjoy:)

    Nikki - It's been a while for me as well, but I really liked this retelling:)

    Jen - I can't say I really paid all that much attention to the way they spoke, but since you pointed it out, I wonder if it would bother me if I read it again! Now I'm all curious:)

  31. "Their interactions are beautifully tense, the line between anger and attraction often blurring to a degree that causes our temperature to rise several notches"

    I am SOLD! Hate-turned-love stories are among my favorites.

  32. Glad to hear this one is good! I loved The Lonely Hearts Club. I'm not usually a big fan of re-tellings, but this does sound like a fun read. I never went to prom. Will I be able to relate?