There is no shortage of coming-of-age stories (especially coming-of-age stories set in boarding schools), but rarely is there one as realistic and relatable as Prep: a novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. As the story begins, the lovably awkward Lee Fiora is a freshman at Ault, a prestigious boarding school near Boston. Lee is a witty and intelligent teen, but as a scholarship student from the Midwest, she sometimes feels as though she does not fit in with her wealthy, privileged classmates. She spends a lot of time observing her classmates instead of interacting with them and soon gives herself the role of “the outsider.”
Occasionally, Lee can be a frustrating character, because she would probably be accepted if she gave people more of a chance. She eventually makes friends and finds her place at the school, but it’s a little bit of a struggle. Along the way, she works through her feelings of isolation and she handles difficult social situations; sometimes with hilarious results. She also deals with issues of sexuality and the loss of a first love (and Prep deals with these issues in a very frank and honest way, there are a couple sexually explicit scenes and there is explicit dialogue throughout the novel).
Overall, Prep is a fun, nostalgic read. There is some “teenage angst” and heartbreak, but also a lot of laughs. Many people will find something that they can relate to; I think there’s a little bit of Lee Fiora in all of us.
Kayla Whitehead, Technical Services Assistant/Serials Specialist