Although set in an American boarding school, Prep captures the insular nature of any school environment with precision and a truthfulness which leaves you aching.
Lee Fiora a scholarship student at Ault, a prestigious East Coast boarding school, feels like an outsider from the beginning of her time there. The book shows you her development throughout her four years and shows her grappling with everyday problems. However, the book is not mundane in any respect, it conveys her insecurities, her need to always remain distant and somewhat detached. The questions she raises are perhaps those which any teenager might ask, what is her place in her insular society, where does she fit in and how?
What makes this book particularly interesting is the fact that Lee is narrating the incidents sometime after she has left Ault, thus she is able to relay these episodes with hindsight, and she is able to see more clearly the intensity and importance placed on them, an intensity which may seem unecessary when you step out of the school environment and see it in relation to the world at large. But it is also the intensity of these incidents which ring true, the fact that in such a small, close-knit school society, and perhaps because of the age of the students these incidents become life or death...
If you can get past the ridiculous names; Cross, Darden, Horton, Gates are but a few, then you will find a brilliantly written book that might leave you nostalgic for the innocence, naievity and purity of emotion which come from being a teenager.