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Prep: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2005
Accelerated Reader:
IL: UG - BL: 6.5 - AR Pts: 26
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Description
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.”—Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Prep’s every sentence rings true. Sittenfeld is a rising star.”—Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/11/2005
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781588364500
ASIN:
B000FC2QAA
Accelerated Reader:
UG
Level 6.5, 26 Points
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Curtis Sittenfeld. (2005). Prep: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Curtis Sittenfeld. 2005. Prep: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2005.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Curtis Sittenfeld. Prep: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2005. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible, and the story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It, which have been translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, of which she was the 2020 guest editor. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Vanity Fair, and on public radio’s This American Life.
      • name: Curtis Sittenfeld
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Random House
publishDate
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title
Prep
fullDescription
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.”—Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Prep’s every sentence rings true. Sittenfeld is a rising star.”—Wally Lamb, author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
gradeLevels
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
      • content: "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."
      • premium: False
      • source: Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True
      • content: "Speaking in a voice as authentic as Salinger's Holden Caulfield and McCullers' Mick Kelly, Curtis Sittenfeld's Lee Fiora tells unsugared truths about adolescence, alienation, and the sociology of privilege. Prep's every sentence rings true. Sittenfeld is a rising star."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me
      • content: "In her deeply involving first novel, Curtis Sittenfeld invites us inside the fearsome echo chamber of adolescent self-consciousness. But Prep is more than a coming of age story--it's a study of social class in America, and Sittenfeld renders it with astonishing deftness and clarity."
      • premium: False
      • source: Thisbe Nissen, author of Osprey Island
      • content: "Sittenfeld ensconces the reader deep in the world of the Ault School and the churning mind of Lee Fiora (a teenager as complex and nuanced as those of Salinger), capturing every vicissitude of her life with the precision of a brilliant documentary and the delicacy and strength of a poem."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jill A. Davis, author of Girls' Poker Night
      • content: "Open Prep and you'll travel back in time: Sittenfeld's novel is funny, smart, poignant, and tightly woven together, with a very appealing sense of melancholy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew Klam, author of Sam the Cat
      • content: "Prep does something considerable in the realm of discussing class in American culture. The ethnography on adolescence is done in pitch-perfect detail. Stunning and lucid."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 1, 2004
        A self-conscious outsider navigates the choppy waters of adolescence and a posh boarding school's social politics in Sittenfeld's A-grade coming-of-age debut. The strong narrative voice belongs to Lee Fiora, who leaves South Bend, Ind., for Boston's prestigious Ault School and finds her sense of identity supremely challenged. Now, at 24, she recounts her years learning "everything I needed to know about attracting and alienating people." Sittenfeld neither indulges nor mocks teen angst, but hits it spot on: "I was terrified of unwittingly leaving behind a piece of scrap paper on which were written all my private desires and humiliations. The fact that no such scrap of paper existed... never decreased my fear." Lee sees herself as "one of the mild, boring, peripheral girls" among her privileged classmates, especially the über-popular Aspeth Montgomery, "the kind of girl about whom rock songs were written," and Cross Sugarman, the boy who can devastate with one look ("my life since then has been spent in pursuit of that look"). Her reminiscences, still youthful but more wise, allow her to validate her feelings of loneliness and misery while forgiving herself for her lack of experience and knowledge. The book meanders on its way, light on plot but saturated with heartbreaking humor and written in clean prose. Sittenfeld, who won Seventeen
        's fiction contest at 16, proves herself a natural in this poignant, truthful book. Agent, Shana Kelly.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2004
        In this readable coming-of age tale, Lee Fiora is an Iowa girl on scholarship at elite and private Ault in New England, where the stress of being an outsider magnifies the usual adolescent dilemma of uncertain identity. While there, she befriends Little, also an outsider as a black girl from Pittsburgh and the thief stealing money from dormitory rooms. During junior year, one of Lee's freshman roommates attempts suicide, and Lee has a secret sexual relationship with popular and handsome Cross, who never dates her and is indifferent to her in front of other students. When she is selected to talk about Ault with a reporter from the New York Times, she opens up under the reporter's seemingly sympathetic questioning. The article, quoting Lee, depicts Ault as dominated by a wealthy and snobbish clique, and Lee is further ostracized. But when she graduates, she discovers that there is a world outside of Ault. To interest adult readers, a novel like this needs something special: Holden Caulfield's voice, say, or the literary flair of Tobias Wolff's Old School. Here, events add up to little more than a familiar picture. Suitable for YA collections if mildly sexually explicit scenes are not objectionable.-Elaine Bender, El Camino Coll., Torrance, CA

        Copyright 2004 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        May 1, 2005
        Adult/High School -When Lee Fiona arrives at Boston's prestigious Ault boarding school for her freshman year, she enters a world unlike anything she knew in South Bend, IN. "I always worried that someone would notice me," she says of her first bewildering weeks at the school. "And then when no one did, I felt lonely." This dilemma follows her throughout her four years. In her senior year, when she hooks up with star basketball player Cross Sugarman, she asks that he keep their relationship quiet. But she is appalled when she suspects that he has done just that. Sittenfeld has exquisitely captured the angst of the outsider in this fine coming-of-age novel. Lee is 24 when she recounts her boarding school history. Those few years' perspective give her an authentic voice that makes her sound less eccentric and more mainstream than Salinger's Holden Caulfield. Lee's world is peopled with the geeks and greats of the high school years -super-popular Aspeth Montgomery, who warns Lee away from a relationship with a townie; Aubrey, her math tutor, who professes his unrequited love; and enigmatic Cross, who initiates Lee into sex, but seems less than the full-fledged boyfriend she craves. Much more than stereotypes, "Prep"'s characters, in their depth and humanity, will appeal to readers, who will find themselves rooting for Lee despite her foibles and her insecurities. Her moments of self-doubt will reverberate with adolescents everywhere." -Patricia Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA"

        Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2004
        (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2004, American Library Association.)

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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...
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