Saturday, June 23, 2012

18. Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious, very wealthy, girls-only Longbourn Academy are suddenly obsessed with the prom, which they share with the nearby, equally elitist, all-boys Pemberly School. Lizzie Bennett, who attends Longbourn on scholarship, isn't exactly interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be—especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Will Darcy, Charles's friend, who's as snobby and pretentious as his friend is nice. He doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. It doesn't help that Charles doesn't seem to be asking Jane to be his prom date, or that Lizzie meets George Wickham, who tells her that Will Darcy sabotaged his scholarship at Pemberly. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk who looks down on the middle class—so imagine Lizzie's surprise when he asks her to the prom!Will Lizzie's prejudice and Will's pride keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? From Elizabeth Eulberg comes a very funny, completely stylish prom season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

A retelling of Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  This time Bennett and Darcy are students at an exclusive school where wealth, designer clothes and knowing the 'right' people denotes social success. Reading this book was like greeting an old friend.  The modernization of the story allows for a fresh look at favourite characters.  For those teens new to the Austen story, this lively incarnation is a great update making use of modern-day themes of bullying, prom traditions and cliques. The characters and high school situations are easy to identify with and, just as in the original, we are cheering for Miss Bennett and waiting for Mr. Darcy to really  see her.  In Prom & Prejudice, we see a bit more of Darcy's story, his viewpoints and reactions.  As a result we also notice more the assumption and mistakes Liz makes, causing the reader to pull for the almost-couple once again. The interpretations of Jane, Bingley and Collins are fun and fitting. Using the search for an acceptable prom date as the basis for the interactions works much better than trying to deal with a modern teen marriage.  This way, the story can be kept emotionally involving without being alien to teen audiences.Well told, Prom & Prejudice is a great teen novel.  A fun way to learn the classic story of romance and how a young girl's pride and a young man's stereotyping of others can complicate things, especially for those readers who shy away from actually picking up an 'old' classic.

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