Customer Reviews


63 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (17)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Isn't Wasted By The Young, It's Endured
"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 Fiora has written a coming of age novel unlike no other. On the one hand she is insecure and unsure of most everything, and on the other hand she...
Published on 1 Jan 2006 by prisrob

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prep
Having already read another of this author's work which I loved, I found Prep a bit long-winded and Lee was someone I could not relate to. She really annoyed me. However, the end of the story was very sad and at last I felt some sympathy for her. Ault was not a school I would have wanted my children to have encountered!!!
Published on 28 April 2010 by Sheila Harris


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Isn't Wasted By The Young, It's Endured, 1 Jan 2006
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Prep (Hardcover)
"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 Fiora has written a coming of age novel unlike no other. On the one hand she is insecure and unsure of most everything, and on the other hand she shows a maturity of thought on what she really wants to be:
"The interest I felt in certain guys then confused me, because it wasn't romantic, but I wasn't sure what else it might be. But now I know: I wanted to take up people's time making jokes, to tease the dean in front of the entire school, to call him by a nickname. What I wanted was to be a cocky high-school boy, so damned sure of my place in the world."
Curtis Sittenfeld, the author, grew up in Cincinnati, and went to Groton and then on to Vassar and Stanford. Lee Fiora grew up in South Bend, and then on to Ault Prep School and the U of Michigan. Curtis Sottenfeld would have us believe that this is not an autobiography, but many people who went to Groton can identify with much of the book. I would suggest that many people who were ever adolescents can identify with much of the book. This is a true coming of age novel, and one that reflects accurately the angst of the teenager. Most of us can sympathize with Lee Fiora, we have been there, we have suffered the same problems and issues, and Curtis Sittenfeld has depicted these events as startlingly and evenly as we remember them.
"Prep" is not an "us against "you" novel as suggested elsewhere. It is more of a compelling read about our lives and times. The "haves and have nots" are certainly registered. Cross, Aspeth, DeDe are all names that gleam money and power. "The Bankers Boys" are a reflection of the rich young men whose fathers are found on Wall Street. "Prep" also brings in the stereotypical race and sexual issues, but they are told with insight and familiar settings. We understand what these people are going through, and we can identify with the feelings and behaviors.
Lee Fiora is a young girl of the late 80's and early 90's. Just before the dawn of email and computer land. The students talk to each other and on the phone and communication with their parents is as I remember. The love/hate relationship with the family we have left behind and the values taught by our parents.
A memorable read. Many of us can identify with the behavior and feelings of Lee Fiora. In trying to find your place in the world, we all are wrestling with our inner beings. Well done Curtis Sittenfeld. My adolescence remembered, one of the best times of my life and one of my worst. Highly recommended. prisrob 01-01-06
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic...., 13 Dec 2006
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 19 Feb 2008
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
Walking through the typical young adult section of a bookstore, there are usually five, maybe even ten, books about a teenage girl, perhaps from a small town, who transfers from that wee little town to a prep school.

Typically, this prep school is in Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Typically, the girl starts out struggling, tries to fit in with the popular crowd, misses her hometown, faces many moral problems, and meets a handsome, promising young prep school boy who shows her the ways of love. Seeing the plot of Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP for the first time, a normal reader would write it off as being another cliché prep school book.

There's where they'd be wrong.

PREP is a searing, creative look at the life of one small-town girl, Lee Fiora, who comes from her home in South Bend, Indiana, to Ault, a prep school in Massachusetts. Exposed to many new kinds of ideas and people, Lee stands on the thin line between misery and naivety as she explores all that her new life has to offer.

Sittenfeld writes about teen angst in a way that doesn't try to make it seem petty or unimportant; she embraces it, and fully understands it. This is what sets the book apart from many other titles. Wallowing in loneliness and heartbreak, the reader feels as if Lee is actually a part of them, and that they are experiencing all of the awkward and horrible events that are occurring in the story.

Lee acts as an opposite-gender Holden Caulfield, the main male character in J.D. Salinger's classic novel THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. She takes everything with a grain of salt and a little bit of dry humor while making wise observations well beyond her years. PREP is bound to become a classic, for its brutally honest interpretation of a time that plagues all of us: high school.

Reviewed by: Amanda Dissinger
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Painfully accurate, brilliantly written, 17 Feb 2007
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
Curtis Sittenfeld's vivid and naturalistic writing style captures perfectly the hopes, fears, torments and triumphs of being a teenager.

The world of a prestigious New England boarding school and its inhabitants is recreated for your reading pleasure, narrated by awkward scholarship girl Lee as she navigates her way through the school's complex, cliquey social scene. Curtis Sittenfeld steers wisely clear of too much "issue-based" storytelling, unlike some authors when writing about teens, leaving the characters to speak for themselves and the reader to make their own mind up.

The only real criticism would be that the story does not quite climax as dramatically as it promises, although the conclusion is satisfying and all threads are neatly pulled together.

A must for any campus fiction fan.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the agony and extacy of boarding school, 2 Feb 2011
By 
Lucinda Stern (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
I went to boarding school, as an outsider, and could relate to this. The atmosphere of the school, though on the surface very different to an old style English boarding school, was very well evoked. The crushes, the obsessions within that closed world, where the tiniest things become huge was caught very, very well. I like coming of age stories, and I like to read books I can relate to, this was both, with the added bonus of being and grown up rather than a young adult book.

Sittinfield captures a feeling of nostalgia, for a time that was not that great at the time, and yet in retrospect is endowed with immense meaning and yearning. You get the feeling that the time at school was charged with meaning, like no other time in her life, for Lee. I found it both a sad, and an amusing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable., 24 Oct 2010
By 
Pen pal "Topaz" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
This is quite a nostalgic read if you are way past school days because it takes you right back to those feelings and how there is a completely different set of do's and don'ts that runs through school life than you ever experience again after leaving school. There are times you identify with Lee absolutely, and other times when you could just shake her. The other striking thing about reading this book, is the fact that it takes place all in Lee's head, you never go inside another character even for a fleeting second, so everything that happens is entirely seen from her perspective. Every so often Curtis Sittenfeld moves you into the mind of Lee when she is older and wiser as she analyses some of her behaviour, so in a way it is like you are Lee's therapist as she talks through her experiences and what has shaped her, and how she feels about stuff. I suppose that depending on your own school experience this would colour how you view this book. I will say that you become so wrapped up in her school life and the people she knows that every time you pick up the book it is like you are there with her. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book, Hard to Put Down, 2 Aug 2010
By 
Emma C "Emma" (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
I really enjoyed Prep. So much so that I was up until 3am last night finishing it (I couldn't sleep and figured I'd read a few pages... a couple of hours later I'd read over 100 pages, it was finished and it was 3am) as it was hard to put down. Really I should probably say that I loved this book

This was the perfect book for someone like me who grew up reading school stories and wishing she could have gone to boarding school. Nicely nostalgic and very well written. I could relate a lot to Lee and the other characters, I saw bits of myself as a teenager in them and it bought back memories both good and bad of my school days and teenage years. I wondered about Lee and why she was the way she was but didn't come to any real conclusions, nor does the book give any real answers. I think that is a great way for the book to end as it leaves the reader to make up their own mind and keeps you guessing after you turn the last page.

One of the things I particularly liked about this book is the fact that it mostly sticks to her school days and other than I think two occasions it doesn't deal with her return home for holidays and visits. That does mean that some time gets skipped but that doesn't jar at all and it works really well. I think if more of Lee's time with her family was included the book would lose focus and not work so well. I also liked the way it was written in retrospective - a now adult Lee looking back at her experiences and describing them with hindsight, which brings more depth than if they were being described at the moment they occurred. It also allows the author to bring in some of Lee's post Ault experiences to the descriptions and they added to the story as well. Those glimpses into the future Lee were intriguing and made the character more real.

I've not read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld before; I'll be looking out for more of her books now. And I'd particularly like to see a sequel to Prep.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prep, 28 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
Having already read another of this author's work which I loved, I found Prep a bit long-winded and Lee was someone I could not relate to. She really annoyed me. However, the end of the story was very sad and at last I felt some sympathy for her. Ault was not a school I would have wanted my children to have encountered!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars poignant and memorable, 29 Sep 2008
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
I will not forget Lee Fiora for a long while. Her story is engaging and the author handles the point of view very skilfully - the voice is all Lee's, there is little authorial presence. It's a long time since I was a teenager but Lee's feelings of isolation and longing certainly rang true, and were all the more powerful for being conveyed without any sentimentality. I'm sure the author will go on to become a great writer, she is extremely talented.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bitter sweet pain of a first crush..., 6 Oct 2007
By 
Heather "star_reader" (Leeds, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Prep (Paperback)
Prep was recommended to me by a friend many months before I actually found the time to read it and I have to say im so glad to have read it. As a huge fan of the adolescent/ school genre, I am wary of novels that are compared to the genres cult classics like Catcher in the Rye and The Secret History, however, Prep does not disappoint on this front. Rather than trying to copy the format of other similar works of fiction, Prep stands alone and has a strongly unique point of view.

The book jacket compares it to The O.C and Sweet Valley High, but thankfully Prep has not fallen into the trap that others in this genre have. By this i mean, Prep does not conform to the typical 'tourtured central protaginist/ ousider does not fit in' then 'outsider unwittingly wins over the attention of the popular kids' story line. Yes Lee Fiora does win friends at Ault School, but she leaves an outsider, just as she entered and her outlook remains dark and uncomprimisingly honest.

Having said that, i found Lee to be a fantastic character, likeable due to her odd behaviour and starkness. The relationship that sparks between herself and Cross Sugarman (prefect and allround popular/ loved jock of Ault School) had me gripped, I literally had to tear my eyes away from the page or many a bus journey would have ended with me lost and late for work!

This book was not challenging and literary in the way that Catcher/ Secret History may be, however, it was a great read and a lot deeper and darker than the jacket and title may lead you to believe. The narrative perspective was really interesting and the fact that Lee is re-telling her time at Ault School from a point some years later does not cloud or spoil the rawness of the school experience described. The passion and desperation of a first high school crush is described perfectly, the emotion is totally raw and not at all spoilt by the fact that this novel is a re-telling of earlier events. Its almost as if the experience were still happening, or being relived all over again.

Having just graduated from uni and come to the end of my education, Prep made me feel very nostalgic and almost sad. Without a doubt this is a novel that far exceeded my expectations and one I will definitley be recommending to more people.

5 stars!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Prep
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
3.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews