Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: Prom & Prejudice
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Series: N/A
Pages: 227
Publisher: Point
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Library

Goodreads Description:
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t 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 Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making?

My Review:
This was a cutesy take on an amazing classic. Actually...Pride and Prejudice is the only classic novel that I like. For an English major and avid reader, I guess I should be ashamed for not reading or liking the classics. I can barely get through even the assigned books for class when it comes to the classics. I can't understand some of the phrases, and the dialogue in most of them leaves something to be desired. I feel like I can't read the subtext when I just can't get my head around the dialect, the setting, and the characters. However, something about Pride and Prejudice was different. I think it has something to do with the movie starring Kiera Knightley. I fell in love with every single detail of the movie. The actors, the music, the dresses, the was all so...perfect. Then when I read the actual book, I was able to not only get through it, but enjoy it immensely. That's why I was so excited to try out Prom and Prejudice. A modern take on the story I've grown to love has to be good right??

Well...kind of... I love that this book can introduce readers to Jane Austen in a way that they would probably be more receptive to than a dust old classic novel. A lot of the time, if a book looks too old or has hard words, kids and teens are really resistant to trying it. They think that they can't relate to the old characters and ideas that the book represents...Prom & prejudice takes the story and really gives it a push into the modern day. I really loved the prep school aspect of the book. I know a lot of people are sick of the prep school/boarding school theme that is pretty prominent in literature right now, but I am one of those people who is allowing it to progress. I love the casual air of the elite that these main characters have. Whether they are the silver-spoon set, or scholarship kids, the characters have this certain fantastic quality to them that I can't get enough of. I also really liked that the two schools were called Longbourne and Pemberly. Anyone who has ever read the actual Pride and Prejudice will really appreciate all the hints toward the original when they read this book.

Even the characters all feature the same names as in the original book. The only difference was that some of the family ties aren't there. For example, Jane is Lizzie's roommate rather than her sister. Though the name thing was kind of cool, it was also slightly irritating. The characters were photocopies of Austen's. Some people might like that idea, but I don't. I read lots of Austen inspired literature, and the best thing about the new characters are not the similarities to their counterparts...but their differences. The problem with this novel's plot was that you knew where everything was going. When the narrator was wondering what to do, you were skipping ahead because you already knew what she was going to decide and didn't wanna stick around to hear her waffle around for an entire chapter. It led for a little bit of boredom. There was just too much similarity for me to actually enjoy myself. There's a difference in doing a retelling of a story, and just re-stating the original in different terms. What would have been a carriage ride in Austen's book turned into a car ride in Eulberg's. That kind of repetitive and copy-cat ideas were just too frustrating. I liked it well enough, but I had a hard time making my way through something I felt like I had read before.

The entirely original part of the novel revolved around music and playing the piano. I was really grateful for these parts because it was while reading them that Lizzie seemed most alive. You could tell that these parts were the ones that weren't scripted by Pride and Prejudice, and that this was where Eulberg's experiences took over. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that she studied music or piano, since her descriptions of playing were so vivid and thorough. I loved these parts for the pure emotion and color that they brought to the piece, and I am curious to see if any of Eulberg's other works are as great. I felt like these unscripted parts were by far better than anything drawn from Austen...which was the majority of the book. I almost wish that Eulberg would have allowed her own creativity and imagination to draw the plot lines away from the original a little bit so that it wasn't quite so predictable. It was when the author's own experiences and ideas came forward that I enjoyed myself the most.
I give Prom and Prejudice 3 out of 5 Keys. It was a good piece of Austenian fiction ( sorry for making up words...) but it kept far too closely to the original. If it would have been let out to breathe a little bit, and not kept so rigidly to every detail in Pride and Prejudice, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. I do think that it will draw in more preteen and young adult readers who would never have found Pride and Prejudice very interesting without the draw of a more modern setting. Overall it was a good experience. I finished it in a little over an hour so it is definitely a quick and easy read.


  1. Sorry to hear you didn't totally enjoy it. I guess I liked it so much because I hadn't read P&P by Austen... I can see where your coming from and I think I'd feel the same way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book! It's always nice to hear an honest review :) I'm following you so I can read more of your wonderful posts!

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  2. I'm currently reading Pride & Prejudice and, although I generally don't watch the movie until after I've read the book, a friend loaned me her DVD so I watched it a week ago and I agree that watching Keira Knightley play the part of Elizabeth Bennet made it more entertaining. I'm still wading through the book (in between course reading) but now that I know what happens in the rest of the book after watching the movie...I'm not as interested as I was. I'm not a big fan of classics myself. I'll never understand the appeal of Wuthering Heights. However, there are a few (Jane Eyre, Dracula and Vanity Fair) that are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

    As for Prom and Prejudice being a little too much like the original in its sequence of events and the names of characters- I totally understand your annoyance. It's usually the differences that appeal to me too.

  3. i have to agree with you on the 3 stars. It stayed way too close to Pride and prejudice and made it to predictable which was dissapointing.
    great review nonethless!

  4. I have this book on my reading queue... I haven't read pride and prejudice yet so I think I won't be spoiled when I read this. great review.

  5. I haven't completely finished reading pride and prejudice, because I got a bit bored I'm ashamed to admit, but I do quite fancy this one. I might put it to the end of my tbr pile though if it is quite predictable.

  6. I have never read Pride and Prejudice... So this might be a little easier on me:) However I do enjoy picking up a classic every now and again but it is completely a mood thing. Thank you for this great and honest review

  7. This book is on my "to-read" list...hopefully I'll get to it eventually.

  8. This book has been languishing on my TBR pile for a while now. There always seems to be some other book that comes along and pushing it further down the pile. Sadly the review pretty much sums up what has been in my mind about this one, and it will most likely continue to be pushed down the list. sigh...

  9. I can see I would be comparing it to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE the entire time. Not a good way to enjoy a read. I'll pass.

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